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How to pick the right designer?

It is finally time for you to renovate your new home! Most home-owners are thrilled to start the ball rolling but not sure where to start. Here are some tips that may help you get started!

Know the differences between these roles:

Interior designers and contractors are 2 different professions. Allow me to elaborate the differences.

Interior designers are trained personnel who assist clients from way before the start of the actual renovation to the end of the entire project. Their services are personal and attentive. They provide quality information such as 3D drawings and aesthetics guidance. From the smallest to the most important matter, interior designers are usually there to help. Contractors are typically people who are highly experienced in the field of carpentry. Most of the contractors have their own carpentry factory, resulting in lower costs to direct customers. As these contractors are also collaborating with ID firms on carpentry works, they might not be able to assist customers as quickly compared to interior designers.

Generally, contractors are less pricey compared to interior designers. However, most contractors does not offer the same aesthetics eyes of interior designers. It is a good alternative to choose contractor if you know what exactly you want. With today's multiple channels to get inspired such as Pinterest, many younger couples choose to go for contractors instead. So at the end of the day, it really depends on what kind of home-owner are you. If you prefer someone who takes the lead and pilot the entire renovation for you without you cracking your brain when there are challenges, interior designers should be your first choice. If you are an internet savvy person who have some time to spare and loves to be more involved in the process of renovation, contractors should be your choice.

How to choose the right person to renovate your home?

  • Always look at past projects from design firms to see if you share the same sense of aesthetics.

  • Shortlist a few potential design firms to work with but don't go overboard. Speaking to too many designers ca be confusing and might make the decision harder.

  • The most trustworthy reviews will come from your friends and family. Ask around for recommendations.

  • Spend more time to get to know potential designers before you decide, communication is vital during renovation and it is important you choose someone that has the same frequency as you.

Have a reasonable budget.

Be rational when comes to deciding your budget. Quality comes with a higher price tags, so it is important to keep your demands reasonable. It is also important to stick with your budget. Many tend to go overboard and resulting in spending more than they should. It is advisable to check with your final quotation as there might be some hidden costs. Typically it will cost more if there are unforeseen challenges, upgrades of materials, adding works last minute. Services like design consultancy, project managements and 3D rendering services should be reflected in your final quotation. Do check with your designers if these are not included.

Decides on a design

Whether you have a strong idea of what you want your home to look like or you are going into this clueless, the best suggestion is to keep an open mind. There may be some last min changes required due to complications. It is the best to advice your designer before deciding on the final design. In most of the cases, less is more. It is easier to change/improve when reno works are less complicated. With that said, the best designers will take your ideas and turn them to practical solutions. Remember to keep an open-mind! As the designers are the experts, it will be rational to listen to their advice.

Decide on a timeline

Be open-minded when drafting a timeline with your designer/contractor. It takes time to create a best work. Depending on the amount of work needed, every project varies. Even the initial planning phase alone can take a few months. Come up with a timeline that both you and the designer/contractor is comfortable with, but it would be good to factor 2 to 3 weeks for unexpected delays.

This project was done by Space Atelier in 2019.

Duration of renovation: 10 weeks

Cost of reno: $5X,000K

Furniture: Etch and Bolts

Lighting: Shiok Lighting

This young couple knew what they want but still decided to go for a designer instead of contractor. The reason behind their choice was to avoid any unexpected hiccups or delays. Designer will be there to advice, manage and recommend alternatives if their ideas are not suitable.

The couple were clueless at the beginning and went on Pinterest to look for inspirations, 1 year before they got their keys. Early preparations helped made them know their differences and they managed to accommodate to each other's ideas. Their ideas changed a couple of times before they decided on contemporary hotel style. They saved all inspired images from Pinterest and send those to their designer later on.

The only delay they encountered was the permit for hacking. It took 2 week instead of the expected 4 working days for approval. Since they knew what they wanted before they approach the designer, there wasn't much changes or challenges.

Overall, the couple were very pleased and it was everything they have imagined. The lighting came in time(as we have ready stocks for our products), making it a smooth installation experience. The furniture were all customized and early ordering is recommended for a timely delivery.


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