The Value of an Interior Designer for Home Renovation (and are They Worth the Money)?

Deborah Gan

Deborah Gan

Last updated 21 March, 2023

Are interior designers really worth getting for your home renovation? Find out how they can add value to your home and whether they are worthy investments for the long run!

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A full-blown home renovation can easily be one of the biggest-ticket purchases you’re making, besides your wedding and house, so it becomes an almost natural instinct to scrimp and save on each aspect to hopefully shave off some costs.

However, are interior designers (IDs) worth engaging? Not only are they believed to be more expensive, but you may also want to take full control of the house renovation — from the overall aesthetic all the way down to the tiles for your bathrooms. 

But as the wedding planners' counterpart of home renovation, IDs might save you so much time and hassle to help make your home refurbishment journey a whole lot smoother. Is the extra buck worth spending on? Find out more as we deep dive into the value of interior designers.

Read more:
Ultimate Guide To Home Renovation In Singapore
How To Save Thousands Of Dollars On Home Renovation
How To Do Up Your Home Without Taking A Renovation Loan
Renovating Your Home: Should You Take a Renovation Loan?

 

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How much does home renovation cost in Singapore?

According to Qanvast, these are the expected cost of home renovation for HDB flats:

Flat type
Median renovation cost in 2022
Expected renovation cost in 2023
3-room
S$41,600 to S$48,400
S$45,800 to S$55,700
4-room
S$45,000 to S$54,600
S$49,500 to S$62,800
5-room
S$50,000 to S$60,000
S$55,000 to S$69,000

How much does an interior designer cost?

Each interior design charges their own rates, and can also charge differently. For many, the design fee can cost anywhere between 5% to 10% of the renovation budget, while others may offer free consultations without any obligations.

There are different types of interior design charges to look out for:

Design consultation: Before you start your renovation journey, you can engage an ID to do a design consultation with you, This service involves the discussion of your home design, making recommendations and developing a plan for you to start on your renovation. The ID will usually try to get a feel of your needs and wants and create a plan moving forward.

Interior styling: This usually just involves styling and decorating your home rather than renovation work. It’s for clients who just need help choosing furniture and decorations for their homes.

Partial interior design: Smaller projects that do not require full renovation works or for clients who already know exactly what they want. This package usually doesn’t include much design work or rendering.

Full-service interior design: Comprehensive service where the designer oversees the entire process of your project, from concept development to installations. This package includes things like consultation, 3D renderings, floor plans, material selection, sourcing of contractors, and ordering materials.

According to Homees.co, these are the estimated costs for full-service interior design packages in Singapore in 2023. Prices vary accordingly to the content of each design packaging, consisting labour costs, product costs and the extent of the renovation. 

Flat type
Estimated cost
3-room BTO
S$25,000 to S$45,000
4-room BTO
S$33,000 to S$58,000
5-room BTO
S$38,000 to S$65,000
3-room resale
S$30,000 to S$65,000
4-room resale
S$38,000 to S$73,000
5-room resale
S$50,000 to S$82,000
Condo (depending on size)
S$40,000 to S$120,000

More on this topic:
Best Renovation Loans in Singapore (2023)
5 Home Renovation Tips To Maximise Property Value
When to Use a Personal Loan for Home Renovations
Kitchen Renovation: All You Need to Know 

 

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How can an interior designer help you?

#1 They can save you time and stress

Will you have the time to research the best flooring, the type of paint, and the material of your built-in carpentry, find the suppliers and contractors, but multiply that by 4 rooms? If you don’t have much for extensive research, sourcing for contractors and figuring out the best design for your rooms, then you’re better off engaging an ID to do all the heavy lifting for you.

Think of interior designers as wedding planners — they essentially help you manage and handle everything down to the nitty-gritty. Just let them know your preferences and they’ll be outsourcing the best materials for every inch of your house. 

This can save a whole lot of time and effort on your part and reduces your overall stress knowing that you have someone professional to help settle every aspect of your home.

Hiring a professional can also save you time on your renovation journey, knowing that they can help move along the process a whole lot faster compared to if you chose to DIY.

#2 They are recommended if you’re a first-time home-owner

As first-time homeowners undergoing a major home renovation for your BTO flat or resale, things can get pretty overwhelming. Even if you own a stunning house in The Sims and think you can translate that into real life, it might be even harder than you think.

Designing is one thing, but executing is another. Do you know the best anti-mould material for your kitchen cabinets? How about the most durable flooring? Or the best odourless paint that’s also affordable?

It is definitely possible to do it on your own, but it would require a lot of extensive research and sourcing for you to get it done. Having an ID around can advise you on the best materials to use, liaise with the contractors, HDB guidelines, important things to take note and the list goes on.

 

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#3 They can design your home to fit your lifestyle needs

Many may think that an ID is just mainly to design your house. And while that’s somewhat true to a certain extent, not many people may realise the importance of this. Imagine living in a 3-room flat with a rather small living room. If you’re someone who enjoys hosting friends, this might be a problem.

Your ID might be able to give you some insight and tips on how to maximise your space, maybe it’s through purchasing an extendable table or changing the layout of your living room to free up more space.

In other situations like requiring more storage space, living in oddly-shaped rooms, or fitting 2 beds into a bedroom, your ID will definitely help you find solutions to make your space more optimised to your lifestyle.

With that said, finding the right person for the job is important. They’ll have to understand your lifestyle and make tweaks to your home to cater to your needs. Don’t be afraid to source for a few designers and have consultations with them before you settle on one — many IDs offer free consultations without any strings attached!

#4 They can help to fit your budget

Setting a budget is undeniably extremely important, as we can easily get carried away with the miscellaneous costs and blow our budget. But sticking to our budget is another thing. As newbies, you might be at a loss as to how and where you can cut costs, because everything may seem important to you. 

But with an ID, they can advise you on where you can scrimp and where you should splurge. They may advise you to switch out to a cheaper material that serve the same purpose, find a better contractor, or opt for off-the-shelf furniture instead of having it built-in. 

There are just some things that amateurs will not be able to do, without the lack of knowledge and insight. But with an ID that has a wealth of experience, they are able to give advice on how you can work within your budget. 

They may also be upfront with you and tell you that your budget is too low for the end goal that you wish to achieve. And you need that kind of reality check to help you manage your expectations and work with an achievable budget.

#5 They can help you save money in the long run

In theory, you’re paying more for their service of helping you source for contractors, and suppliers and managing the whole project. However, this might not necessarily be more expensive because they are helping you to minimise costs by making the soundest decisions as an expert.

If you’re going to DIY your home renovation, there are certain things you may pay extra for. For example, maybe you have your eyes set on a marble countertop for your kitchen. However, what you may not know is that marble is relatively not that durable, since any acidic substances can mar it over time. Your ID may suggest you opt for granite which is more affordable and more durable, helping you save costs in the long run.

You may think that the cost upfront of an ID can be pricey now, but you’re actually saving on long-term expenses like repair costs due to wear and tear if your ID is able to help you choose the right materials that are durable to stretch your dollar.

Read more here:
Best Home Loans In Singapore 2023
How Will Rising Housing Interest Rates in Singapore Affect You
Home Loans In Singapore: How Do They Work?
Getting A Bank Loan For HDB vs. A HDB Housing Loan

 

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Best credit cards for home renovation

Credit Card
Details
American Express True Cashback Card
amex-true-cashback-1
  • 1.5% cashback on all spend
  • Welcome bonus of 3% cashback on up to S$5,000 eligible purchases within first 6 months
  • No cashback cap
  • No minimum spend
Citi Cash Back+ Card
citicashbackplus-1
  • 1.6% cashback on all spend
  • No cashback cap
  • No minimum spend
CIMB Visa Signature Card
cimb-visa-signature-card-2
  • 0.2% cashback on all spend
  • No cashback cap on all spend
Standard Chartered Simply Cash Card 
SCB_SIMPLYCASH
  • 1.7% cashback on all spend
  • No cashback cap
  • No minimum spend
UOB KrisFlyer Card
KrisFlyer-UOB-Credit-e1568109528916
  • 1.2 mpd on all spend
  • No miles cap
  • 1.2 base mpd, 1.8 bonus mpd only credited 14 months after card approval
UOB Visa Signature Card
UOB-Visa-Signature
  • 1X UNI$ per S$5 on all other spend
  • No cap on all other spend

 

Best Miles & Travel Credit Cards

Maximise your budget holiday spend even further with the best air miles credit cards and best credit cards for travelling in Singapore. Get rewarded whenever you spend locally or overseas, plus access awesome perks like airport lounges, discounted travel insurance rates, and even free gifts for first sign ups!

Credit Card Best for/Benefits Details Min. Annual Income
Citi PremierMiles Card

 

- S$1 = 10 miles on Bookings at Kaligo

- S$1 = 7 miles on Hotel Bookings at Agoda

- S$1 = 2 miles on Foreign Spend
 
- S$1 = 1.2 miles on Local Spend
 
- 2 free airport lounge visits per year with Priority Pass

- Up to S$1 million complimentary Travel Insurance coverage when you charge travel tickets to card
- Miles awarded as Citi Miles, which never expire

- S$27 per redemption

- Annual fee: S$196.20 (First year free)
 - Local/PR: S$30,000

- Foreigner: S$42,000
DBS Altitude Card
DBSAltitudeVisaSignatureCard-e1568109609752


 

- S$1 = 3 miles on Agoda Bookings

- S$1 = 2.2 miles on Foreign Spend
 
- S$1 = 1.3 miles on Local Spend
 
- 2 free airport lounge visits per year with Priority Pass
- Miles awarded as DBS Points, which never expire
 
- 5,000 DBS Points = 10,000 KrisFlyer Miles

- S$27.25 (incl. GST) per redemption

- Annual fee: S$196.20 (First year free)
- Local/PR: S$30,000

- Foreigner: S$45,000
OCBC 90°N Miles Card
OCBC_90N_VISA-1
OCBC_90N_MASTERCARD_UPDATED
- S$1 = 1.3 miles on Local Spend
 
- S$1 = 2.1 miles on Foreign Spend
 
- S$1 = 7 miles on Agoda Bookings in Foreign Currency
 
- S$1 = 6 miles on Agoda Bookings in Local Currency
- 90°N Miles never expire
 
- 1 90°N Mile = 1 KrisFlyer Mile
 
- 90°N Miles can be redeemed per blocks of 1,000 Miles
 
- Exchange 90°N Miles for cash rebates, vouchers, or offset travel costs too
 
- Annual fee: S$196.20 (Frist year free)
- Local/PR: S$30,000
 
- Foreigner = S$45,000
Maybank Horizon Visa Signature Card
Maybank-Horizon-Visa-Signature-Card-1

- S$1 = 2.8 miles on Overseas Spend and Air Tickets (All Airlines)*

- S$1 = 1.2 miles on Local Retail Spend^ on Shopping, Dining, Food Delivery, Supermarket, Transport, Hotels, Cruises, Travel Packages, Car Rentals

- S$1 = 0.25 miles on Utilities, Education, Insurance, and Medical expenses

- Complimentary access to Selected VIP Airport Lounges

- Up to S$1 million Complimentary Travel Insurance Coverage

- Min. S$800 spend per month required, otherwise 1.2 mpd only
 
- Miles awarded in the form of TREATS Points
 
- *Capped at 40,000 Bonus TREATS Points per calendar month for Air Tickets. Up to 3.2 mpd for a limited time only. T&Cs apply.
 
- ^No min. spend, no cap
- Annual fee: S$196.20 (First 3 years free)
- Local/PR: S$30,000

- Malaysian Citizen: S$45,000

- Foreigner: S$60,000

UOB PRVI Miles Card
UOB_PRIVIMILES_MASTER
uob-prvi-resized-e1548402137533-2uob-prvi-amex-resized-3

- S$1 = 6 miles on Selected Online and Flight Bookings at Agoda, Expedia, and UOB Travel

- S$1 = 2.4 miles on Overseas Spend

- S$1 = 1.4 miles on Local Spend

- Up to S$500,000 complimentary Travel Insurance Coverage
- Miles awarded as UNI$
 
- S$25 per redemption

- Annual fee: S$261.60 (First year free)
- Local/PR: S$30,000

- Foreigner: S$40,000

HSBC TravelOne Card
HSBC TravelOne

- S$1 = 2.4 miles on Foreign Spend
 
- S$1 = 1.2 miles on Local Spend
 
- 4 Complimentary Airport Lounge Visits per year (Primary cardholders only)
 
- Up to US$100,000 Complimentary Travel Insurance Coverage (including COVID-19)
25,000 Rewards Points = 10,000 Miles
 
5 free supplementary cards
 
No conversion fee for air miles or hotel points (Until 31 May 2024)
 
Annual fee: S$196.20 (First year free)
- Local/PR: S$30,000

- Foreigner/Self-Employed: S$40,000

Standard Chartered Journey Card
SC_Card_OM_Journey_20220816-AssetA-RGB-2500px_HENRY YEO

- S$1 = 2 miles on Foreign Spend
 
- S$1 = 1.2 miles on Local Spend
 
- S$1 = 3 miles on Select Local Online Categories like Transportation, Grocery, and Food Delivery*
 
- 2 Complimentary Priority Pass Airport Lounge Visits per year
 
- Up to S$500,000 Complimentary Travel Insurance Coverage
- Rewards Points never earned from SC Journey Card never expire
 
- 25,000 Rewards Points = 10,000 KrisFlyer Miles
 
- *Capped at S$1,000 spend per statement month
 
- 45% off MSIG TravelEasy Travel Insurance (Single Trip) (Valid till 30 Jun 2024)
 
- Annual fee: S$196.20 (First year free)
- Local/PR: S$30,000

- Foreigner: S$60,000

KrisFlyer UOB Card
KrisFlyerUOBCreditCard

- S$1 = 3 miles on Everyday Spend (e.g. Dining, Online Food Delivery, Online Shopping, Online Travel, Local Transport)*
 
- S$1 = 3 miles on Singapore Airlines, Scoot, KrisShop, and Kris+ purchases
 
- S$1 = 1.2 miles on All Other Spend
 
- Up to S$500,000 Complimentary Travel Insurance Coverage
 
- Fast track to KrisFlyer Elite Silver Status
 
- Other Membership Privileges on Scoot
- *Min. S$800 annual spend on Singapore Airlines, Scoot, and KrisShop required
 
- Earn KrisFlyer Miles directly to KrisFlyer Membership Account
 
- No cap on miles earned but only credited within 2 months of paying annual fee
 
- Annual fee: S$196.20 (First year free) 
- Local/PR: S$30,000

- Foreigner: S$40,000

AMEX Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Credit Card
AMEX_SINGAPORE_AIRLINES_KRISFLYER

- S$1 = 1.1 miles on Local Spend

- S$1 = 2 miles on Foreign Spend during June and December

- S$1 = 2 miles on Singapore Airlines-Related Spend

- S$1 = 3.1 miles on Grab Singapore Transactions, capped at S$200 per month

-S$1 = 0.5 miles on Singapore Airlines Instalment Plans via PaySmall for eligible purchases

- Up to S$350,000 Complimentary Travel Insurance coverage

- Exclusive Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Loyalty Programme Perks

- Earn KrisFlyer Miles directly to KrisFlyer Membership Account
 
- Annual fee: S$179.85 (First year free)
Subject to American Express' approval

AMEX Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Credit Card

AMEX_SINGAPORE_AIRLINES_KRISFLYER_ASCEND

 

- S$1 = 1.2 miles on Local Spend

- S$1 = 2 miles on Foreign Spend during June and December

- S$1 = 2 miles on Singapore Airlines-Related Spend

- S$1 = 3.2 miles on Grab Singapore Transactions, capped at S$200 per month

- Up to S$1 million Complimentary Travel Insurance Coverage

- Exclusive Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Loyalty Programme Perks

- Earn KrisFlyer Miles directly to KrisFlyer Membership Account
 
- Annual fee: S$343.35 (First year free)
Subject to American Express' approval

HSBC Revolution Card
HSBC-Revolution-New

- S$1 = 4 miles on Online and Contactless Spend (e.g.Shopping, Groceries, Dining, Food Delivery, Ride-hailing)

- S$1 = 0.4 miles on All Other Spend

- Up to S$300,000 Complimentary Travel Insurance Coverage

- Capped at S$1,000 spend / 9,000 Bonus Rewards Points per calendar month
 
- No annual fee
- Local/PR: S$30,000

- Foreigner/Self-employed: S$40,000

Citi Rewards Card
CITI_REWARDS_MASTER

- S$1 = 4 miles on Selected Online Transactions (e.g. Shopping, Ride-hailing, Food Delivery, Groceries) and In-Store Shopping

- S$1 = 4 miles on All Other Retail Spend

- Up to S$1 million Complimentary Travel Insurance Coverage

- Capped at S$1,000 spend / 9,000 Bonus Rewards Points per statement month
 
- Annual fee: S$196.20 (First year free)
- Local/PR: S$30,000

- Foreigner: S$42,000

 

 

Read these next:
How To Buy A House In Singapore: A Complete Guide (2023)
Cost To Buy Your First Home In Singapore
Best Home Insurance in Singapore (2023)
6 Things First-time Home Buyers Must Know to Avoid Regrets

A mahjong addict with an undying love for dogs, Deborah is always on the hunt for cheap deals because she is always broke. That is why she is attempting to be more financially savvy to be.. less broke

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