FAQ: Contractor Versus Interior Designer? Which should I choose?


“Should I engage an interior designer or contractor for my upcoming home renovation?”. This is a common question ask by first time homeowners. Allow us to shed some light on the roles and responsibilities of an interior designer. Hopefully it will help you with your final decision

1. Design Consultant – Space-planning & Design Proposal

Interior Designer for your home renovation | The Interior Lab
3d VIsualisation - Designed by our interior designer Yen
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Actual Photo of Seasons view - Furnishing carefully created by Yen

Unlike contractors, an interior designer is a multi-faceted profession. One of the many roles it encompasses is being a design consultant. An interior designer is in charge of the overall layout and design concept of the home. From selecting the colour palette to the individual materials, he/she has to ensure that all the design within the home interior ties in cohesively.

We can’t speak for all ID firms…

However, at The Interior Lab we do not believe in the theory of “One size fits all“. Thus we do not offer any renovation packages. Our interior designers will customised the layout and design theme according to the homeowner(s)’ lifestyle and aesthetical preference. Upon confirmation, a 3D visualization is created to give an accurate depiction of the final look of the home interior.

Hear it from our client

“Cheryl has shown a lot of sincerity in our interactions, was patient to listen to my ever-changing briefs (since I did not have a clear idea, to begin with), and was able to offer practical solutions to real-life challenges”  – Tracy –

2. Financial Consultant – Budgeting & Financial Control

Interior Designer for your home renovation | The Interior Lab
One of our interior designer, Vincent having a discussion with homeowners about th features which they would like to incorporate

As first-time homeowners, most of you would have received a shock from the customised quotation which includes all the dream features of your home interior. Most first-time homeowners tend to under estimate the renovation cost by 10%-20%. Unlike contractors, an interior designer might not agree to all your dream home feature. They will go the extra mile to advise you to reallocate your renovation cost accordingly to your individual lifestyle needs and your allocated budget.

We can’t speak for all ID firms…

However, at The Interior Lab we practise transparent pricing by providing customised quotation to our individual clients at no hidden cost. We also strive to provide quality service to maintain long-term ID-Client relationship even after handover.

Hear it from our client…

“Yen from TIL was an obvious choice since I had engaged her for my own place 1-2 years ago. What matters most to me is that TIL does not have hidden cost that would creep up unexpectedly during the renovation.” – Liem Yew Kan –

3. Project Manager  – Work Plan Scheduling & Site Coordination

Site Coordination The Interior Lab
Jason, our interior designer having an onsite discussion with our subcontractors

While a contractor is only responsible for the completion of his works. An interior designer has to spearhead the entire renovation project. From planning to the coordination of the workflow of various groups of contractors – hackers,electrician, carpenters,tilers and painters etc.

We can’t speak for all ID firms…

However, at The Interior Lab, our interior designers has minimum of 2 years of experience, thus they are able to effective communicate with The Interior Lab’s team of professional contractors to ensure the timely execution of the whole renovation project.

Hear it from our client…

“Overall, we are very satisfied with the overall look of the home. The workmanship is excellent! We were glad that we engaged Jason & Chris for the renovation of our first home. They were responsible interior designers that made our first renovation journey smooth and fuss-free. We would highly recommend Jason, Chris, and The Interior Lab to our friends and family.” – Joselyn Swathiga  –

4. Interior Stylist – Home Decor & Furnishing

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Veranda - Furnishing curated by our interior designer, Aqilah

Aside from liaising with the contractors, the interior designer plays their role as a home stylist. They will advise homeowners on the recommended dimensions of their electrical appliance and furniture so as to ensure an ergonomic flow of space. Aside from that, when requested, they would also advice on the colour and style of the furnishings that would match the overall interior space.

We can’t speak for all ID firms…

From soft furnishing such as rugs to lighting and bathroom accessories as well as bulky furniture, our interior designers are just a whatsapp away for their clients whom need help with home styling of their home.

Hear it from our clients

“We also trusted Angie’s (from The Interior Lab) taste in home styling and furniture selection. Eventually, all promises were delivered and the final outcome of our home was beyond expectations.” – Karen Seet –

Back to the question…

Should  homeowners engage an interior designer or contractors?

In a nutshell, if you do not have the time or experience to plan and manage your renovation works and is willing to pay more for design, we would advise you to seek professional help from an interior designer. No doubt it will cost you more, but you would be paying for the additional services as mentioned above.

What if I have an extensive number of subcontractors’ contact, is it possible to engage an interior designer as my project manager only?

We can’t speak for all ID firms…

However, at The Interior Lab, our interior designers works hand in hand with our team of curated subcontractors who provides quality workmanship. To avoid potential conflicts or miscommunication for major works like tiling, carpentry, false ceiling and painters, by company policy our interior designers have to work with the company’s pre-approved list of subcontractors. Moreover, many of our suppliers/partners – Nippon paint, Blum , Consentino, Harfary also provides quality materials which are more costly but is of much better quality. These are the reasons why we are able to provide warranty for the renovation works done. Thus, we do not provide project management service. In fact, we would have the same interior designer to spearhead your entire renovation project from design conceptualisation to the completion of the renovation works for a fuss-free renovation journey.

Looking for an interior designer? Need professional help for your upcoming renovation? Click here to make an appointment with our interior designers so we can discuss how to materialise the ideals of your home given the unique space and layout of your house without compromising on functionality.

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