Things to take note of before appointing an Interior Designer

So, you’ve bought your flat, and you’re about to collect the keys. It’s now time to renovate that empty flat and turn it into your dream abode.

Of course, you’ll want to engage an interior designer to turn that house into a home.

Unit in Sims Urban Oasis condo. Picture: iProperty

But before your leap with both feet in, there are some things you need to know about hiring interior designers, your responsibilities, and what you can and cannot do during your renovations.

Ready to find out more? Here we go!

Start Your Search: The Directory of Renovation Contractors

For all HDB homeowners, the Directory of Renovation Contractors (DRC) is where you start your search. This directory was set up by watchdog groups to legitimise renovation contractors in Singapore and should be your go-to list. Be sure to also ensure that these contractors are HDB-approved.

This is important because it is illegal to hire contractors that are not listed in the DRC.

Pre-Renovation Details

Before you finalise your renovation selection, make sure you meet up with multiple contractors for a quick assessment. After meeting each one, ask for a quotation and then sit down and do a comparison. At this point, look out for the following:

  • Are the specifications exactly what you asked for?
  • Are the finishes and workmanship of the standard you require?
  • Is the timeframe affecting the cost of the job?

We would recommend that you do not simply go for the cheapest of the lot. Instead, we recommend basing your decision on the quality of material and finish, the service and previous reviews of the company.

See morePlayful colours and geometric shapes give this condo a visual upsize

Living room. Picture: unsplash

During Renovation

There are many rules instituted by the HDB when it comes to renovations. Most of these are for safety, and others were instituted to ensure minimal disturbance during the renovation process.

Your contractor will have to be well-versed in all of these rules, but there are a few that we would like to highlight:

  • Make sure your contractor has obtained a renovation permit. While this seems like something of a no-brainer, it can be overlooked by some contractors and you really don’t want to be fined for that.
  • Ensure renovation timings are within the stipulated timings of 9 am to 6 pm, Mondays to Saturdays. Also, ensure that noisy renovations are only allowed during the 9 am to 5 pm period. There should not be any work on Sundays, and public holidays.
  • The contractors must not conduct any hacking of walls or columns before getting permission from the HDB.

We recommend making regular checks during the renovation to make sure that things are moving along according to plan.

There are more rules and regulations on the HDB website, so be sure to read through the page thoroughly. Failing to comply with the rules and regulations can lead to a fine of up to $5000, as well as other penalties.

See more: Guide on how to read your floor plan


Assuming the renovation process went smoothly, there are a few more things you should do before you hand over that final payment.

  • Pull out the quotation you signed off on, and go through each and every item on the list. Check that against the actual work done and make sure that every item has been fulfilled.
  • During this check, run through every finish with an eye for defects of any sort. If you have detected any defect, snap a photo of it and report it to the contractor immediately.
  • An example of defect could be hidden holes, chips and blemishes on surfaces or even hinges that are not properly fitted.
  • Make sure the work crew has carried out proper cleaning before they hand the unit back to you.
  • Change your locks!

Once all defects are rectified, it’s time to move your things in and live in your dream home.

Need inspiration on how to deck out your home? We have a whole bunch of articles to help you along.