Things to prepare when searching for an Interior Designer in Singapore

This is a Tips on Tuesdays - nadnut pretends to act knowledgable and impart some tips. entry under my themed blog posts! For more info about the themed blog posts, do read the entry here.

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You've probably read my last few entries about my preparation for my upcoming Punggol BTO. So... last week I received this letter. After close to waiting for 4 years, completion is happening soon!

Our neighbours will be starting their key collection end this week! Woohoo! For us, we expect to collect our keys in end June - July. And with that, we have started to ramp up our search for an Interior Designer / Contractor.

As mentioned in my previous post, I shared tips on researching on an Interior Design style for one's home. Here are my experiences on how to 'smoothen' the process when searching for an Interior Designer and/or contractor.

1. Decide on what do you want.

For us, we went in blind. And oh boy! We had such a hard time! It is important to know what you want. I'm not saying, decide on the kitchen counter top (e.g. granite, quartz, solid surface etc) or your colour scheme (you don't have to decide on that now.)

But more of what do you REALLY want. For us, we needed a lot of wardrobe space thus we wanted a HUGE wardrobe. Like HUGE! So huge, that we were prepared a sacrifice an entire room for the wardrobe. Also indicate what other things you require or hate. For example, I didn't want a false ceiling nor a TV in the master bedroom. I made sure to be upfront and stated that out in the beginning.

But of course, you can always slowly decide on what you want after a discussion with the ID and/or contractor but boy, would that take a lot of changes. We were easily swayed by ideas by IDs and contractors that we met. And everyone had their own idea. One said ''Sure! let's hack!", the other said "Unusable space. Better not to hack." Everyone has their own opinion, and yes, while the ID is there to lend an added opinion, to share their expertise, every-freaking-one is different.

With every ID that we met, we seem to change our minds. GG.

2. Do up a brief.

I actually did a brief. It was actually a powerpoint coupled with images (like a moodboard), theme and things I wanted e.g. Washroom: kerb, shower screen etc

You don't have to do up a brief but personally I felt that it was easier for me. Plus it helped us visualise the look and feel that we are going for! Also, if you are thorough enough, it's easier for you to pinpoint on what was missed out.

I was really annoyed by an ID who missed out my brief. I clearly stated brickwall in my powerpoint, emails and face-to-face discussion. And he still missed it out and stated that I had not indicated so. If he is already so forgetful (and careless) to miss out on something that I clearly stated that I want, I wasn't going to risk giving him my project.

3. Bring your floorplan and tell them your needs.

An ID/Contractor can assess your needs and requirements and properly help to do some space planning. For us, we shared this:

  • I need a lot of storage space. I have a tremendous amount of clothes, cosmetics and basically lots of junk.
  • Skai is a clean freak. He needs things that are easily cleaned and they must be for a functional purpose.
  • We do not watch much TV. We mainly do most of our surfing or viewing of shows on our laptops, iPads and mobile devices.

Showing them a floorplan would help with space planning. For us, we thought of hacking the wall between the master bedroom and bedroom 2.

4. Shop around.

#nadskai busy looking at quotes for #nadskaihome

Get a few quotations. Talk to a few Interior Designers and contractors. See which best suits your needs. It's also a good time to get ideas from them and also better to do a comparison between their quotes. You don't want to be taken for a fool.

Also, think about if you require an ID or a contractor. If you know what you want and are open to handling the project management, a contractor might help reduce the costs.

It is also good to check out Open Houses or works that your prospective ID/Contractors is in progress. It's a good time to check out their quality of work.

5. Research.

Find out the difference in quality. An ID/Contractor may quote you Solid Surface for your kitchen top to meet your budget. But is it suitable for your needs. You don't want to have to replace that kitchen top within a year or two. Know what you're quoted on. For example, we read up on Granite, Caesarstone, Colour Quartz, iQuartz, Compactplus and Solid Surface. We knew what we needed and what we didn't wanted.

Don't be conned by the 'cheapness' of it all. You really pay for what you get.

6. Don't be afraid to share your budget.

Our first quotes came up to $50K. We totally balked at the price. It was no way possible that we are willing to fork out that amount of money.

So we talked to our ID/Contractors and told them our budget and what we were open to 'sacrificing' to reach that budget. Maybe we might scrimp on the custom made study table or TV console. We might buy it off the rack and fix it. It really depends on what are you willing to pay for.

We have yet to choose our final Interior Designer / Contractor. Am still waiting for a few final quotes. But overall, it was a huge learning experience.

Here are just some tips to make your search for an Interior Designer or Contractor in Singapore, a little less painful.

Will be sharing more tips once we've gotten our keys and started on our renovation. Wish us luck!!!! Should you have any recommendations, please comment!

Should you'll like to collaborate, we'll be more than happy! ;)

Do check out my other entries on #nadskaihome (aka our Punggol BTO) here:

Do check out my other Tips on Tuesdays blog posts here:

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