Home Renovation in Singapore: Hiring a Contractor VS an Interior Designer

Home design is everything. Whether it’s just you and your partner or you have an entire army of children, home is where the heart is and that just shows how important it is to have a home that meets your needs. The design of your home is ultimately a reflection of you and your family’s personalities, dynamics, and styles. 

Everyone knows that nothing comes cheap in Singapore, and home renovations are no exceptions. Feeling the hole in your wallet immediately after spending on a much-needed home upgrade could be very depressing for most of us, given the high prices of home renovation projects. The average HDB renovation cost falls to an estimated $55,000 and could cost up to $110,000. 

But fret not, before you start counting the number of years you’ll have to spend eating economical rice, there’s an easy way out for all of you who are currently facing the dilemma over whether to spend or save on your renovation. 

Take a home renovation loan.

Housing renovation loans are a great alternative to personal loans as you can expect lower interest rates and greater flexibility in the loan repayment. With so many lenders offering these loans, you can easily work out a scheme tailored to your current financial state and specific needs. For those with bad credit, don’t sweat it, as these home renovation loans are more often than not secured by the home itself rather than your credit situation.

In addition, you won’t have to undergo the long waiting time that banks usually have for loan applications. Taking housing loans will allow you to speed up the amount of time needed to get the cash fast, simplifying the entire process of kickstarting your home’s transformation into the apartment of your fantasies. By adding value and space to the home, you can be sure that it will sell for higher rates on the market as well, which benefits you in the long run. 

These renovation loans could be used for tiling, flooring, painting, fencing, roofing, carpentry work, and much more. However, do take note that the renovation funds cannot be used for the purchase of home furniture, electrical appliances, interior decor and the like. 

Contractor or interior designer?

Now, the next dilemma you might have is whether to go with a contractor or an interior designer to begin your home’s transformation. If you are unsure of the differences and what these mean for you, here’s all you need to know about both options. Choose wisely! 

Interior designers are essentially project managers and coordinators who execute everything from the ideation, crafting of a 3D design plan, conceptualizing the color scheme and materials used, to renovation works. If you have a theme in mind that you’re dying to incorporate into your home, from bohemian to contemporary to vintage, interior designers are the ones for the job!

Contractors, on the other hand, are simply in charge of executing a plan that’s already set in place by the homeowners. The contractor will often engage external subcontractors who on a task-based contract to carry out some of the work required, such as carpentry, painting, plumbing, electricity, and roofing. 

So, should you engage an interior designer or a contractor? What are the major differences to consider when distinguishing between the two? 

Firstly, the cost. This is probably the most significant difference between the two, and the one that matters the most. Work out how much you are willing to spend on your renovations first, before hiring a designer or contractor that can work within your given budget. Contractors are usually way cheaper than interior designers to hire, as the contractors simply follow the plan provided to them. Meanwhile, designers will provide floor plans and 3D sketches of the home design, while keeping in mind the homeowner’s preferences. They will also manage the renovation project. 

Secondly, the layout you have in mind. We would recommend you to hire an interior designer if you require an expert’s say on the design specifications of your future home. We all lament about the shrinking sizes of our HDBs and condominiums in Singapore, so space planning is of paramount importance to ensure that we make the fullest use of our limited space even while facing space constraints. The more experience the designers have, the more knowledge they will have at coming up with creative solutions to maximize the existing space with the layout planning. On the other hand, a contractor usually just follows specific instructions given, so you should only hire one if you have a very clear idea of what you want. Should issues arise during or post-renovation, the contractor may not be held responsible as they simply followed your instruction. 

Thirdly, your personal experience level. If you are experienced in doing handy work and want to be involved with the renovations, you may find a contractor more suitable. Interior designers would be more helpful to people who are generally clueless or are not looking to supervise the work. This is also because the designers’ job scope includes managing the project from start to finish, including updates about the progress and making sure that the renovation is done properly. Moreover, interior designers usually also provide advice about the nitty-gritty details like where to get the tiles, furniture, and other accessories for the house that you may find useful if you are not too familiar with renovation works. 

Lastly, the scale of the work. If you are looking to simply renovate a bedroom or some minor area of your house, a contractor would suffice for the job. In the event that you are planning to re-do your entire apartment, an interior designer would be preferred. 

Come home to a comfortable nest where you feel able to rest and relax after a strenuous day at work or school. Instead of compromising on the quality and value of your home due to monetary constraints, you can consider home loans to fund your dreams of a luxurious abode without breaking the bank. Once you have your budget sorted out, it’ll be much easier to decide on whether a contractor or an interior designer is the best fit for you.


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