Things to Consider Before Hiring an Interior Designer
Photo by Juz Interior
Home renovation is undeniably one of the most significant investments you'll make in your lifetime. With numerous options available, selecting a trustworthy interior design firm can be a daunting task. However, by identifying certain qualities in a company, you can simplify the process and ensure that your home and finances are in capable hands. To help you out, we bring you a list of factors to consider when searching for an interior design firm to help you achieve your home goals.
Credibility of the Firm
It is crucial to look for accreditation when selecting an interior design company in Singapore. Being certified by reputable organizations like CaseTrust and Singapore Renovation Contractors & Material Suppliers Association (RCMA) indicates that the company adheres to high business practices, standards, work processes, and ethics. This ensures that you won't encounter hidden costs, poor material quality, or other horror stories you might have heard.
If you're renovating your HDB or BTO flat, consider engaging an interior design firm registered with HDB. HDB-approved contractors have a clear understanding of HDB's regulations and restrictions, enabling them to design proposals more efficiently and effectively for you.
Inquire about the company's suppliers and contractors and their selection criteria to gauge their expected workmanship. A reputable interior design company will only work with contractors that have good workmanship and proven reliability. Additionally, read reviews left by past clients of the company's interior designers.
Affordability & Payment Terms
Regardless of your home renovation budget, it is wise to choose an interior design company that offers reasonable pricing. Inquire about any discounts the company may offer with bulk material purchases and their payment policies. At the same time, do not instantly go for the lowest quote. Instead, compare at least three quotes to understand what's included and where additional costs may arise. Evaluate the materials included in the proposal and verify whether they match what you’re looking for. Be wary as you may end up locked into contracts that only use cheaper or less attractive materials, or you may not be able to make changes to the designs.
You should also pay close attention to their terms of payment. Will you need to pay a deposit or the entire sum upfront, or are flexible payment plans available to avoid draining your savings in one go?
Competence & Professionalism
Professionalism displayed by an interior design company goes beyond just having an appealing website. To ensure a smooth renovation experience and end up with a home that either meets or surpasses your expectations, it's important to work with an interior designer who can communicate effectively with you about your home design, estimated project completion time, and any hiccups or delays that may occur.
A reputable interior design firm should also provide excellent after-sales support and effective warranties to address any concerns you may have after your project is completed. These guarantees should be explicitly stated in your contract, so make sure to review them before signing it.
To see if these qualities have been emphasized by past clients, it's also a good idea to read through their testimonials. A company that is professional and reputable will undoubtedly demonstrate its qualities.
Design Style & Originality
When looking for an interior design company, it's important to consider their design style and portfolio. While there are firms that are flexible with different concepts, some may have specific styles they specialize in, such as farmhouse, Scandinavian, rustic, or industrial.
Before engaging an interior designer, it is essential to review their portfolio to determine their area of expertise. One with a diverse portfolio means that the designer is experienced in meeting various homeowners' needs and can offer practical suggestions, such as using waterproof boards for cabinets around the kitchen sink.
On the other hand, if a designer typically works with Scandinavian styles, it may not be advisable to request a Victorian concept, as the outcome may not meet your expectations. However, just because a designer lacks experience in a particular style does not mean they cannot deliver an excellent job. Ultimately, your comfort level and confidence in the designer's ability should guide your decision.
Interior design companies typically offer a range of designers with varying levels of experience and expertise. In Singapore, some designers may lack formal education in design concepts and instead acquire their skills through on-the-job training or mentorship. Their main focus may be on sales rather than generating innovative design ideas, as they are typically paid on commission.
If you prefer to work with a designer with formal design qualifications, it's important to ask for one with more experience. Additionally, many companies have in-house designers who are trained in space concepts, texture, and color coordination and are responsible for creating 3D proposals and drafting designs.
Warranty & Insurance
Some firms may provide warranties on their workmanship to their clients. While this may seem like a good reassurance, it's important to scrutinize the details of these warranties, as they may simply be a marketing gimmick. Carefully review the terms and conditions of these guarantees, the agency that oversees them, and what exactly they cover. Additionally, make sure that all the promises made to you, including any fine print, are clearly written down in your contract before you sign it.
Although not mandatory, it is a nice advantage to consider an interior design company that offers additional benefits. For instance, the company may have partnerships with certain stores that could provide you with discounts on purchases related to your renovation. Additionally, they may offer secure deposit options through an insurance company, which can give you an added sense of security. Keep an eye out for such perks when choosing your interior design firm!
Selecting the right interior design firm for your home renovation project is a critical decision that requires careful consideration. Take your time to research and compare multiple interior design companies, read reviews from past clients, and ask for recommendations to make an informed decision. Remember, a reputable and reliable interior design firm will communicate effectively with you and offer excellent after-sales support.
If you would like to learn more on what you can do to save on home renovation costs and more, check out episode 4 of our Ask The Experts series. Watch it here:
Don’t hesitate to reach out to us should you have more questions!