8 Practical Questions to Ask Before Engaging an Interior Designer in Singapore
Engaging an interior designer for your home renovation can be a costly and lengthy affair, so you will want to make sure this partnership works out in the long run. Besides having a good rapport with the potential designer, it is important that he or she understands your wants and needs and can deliver your vision of a home that is both beautiful and functional.
To help you along, we narrow down 8 questions you should ask before signing on the dotted line.
Q1. “Can I see examples of your past works?”
You might have already seen some of the interior design firm’s portfolio either on their website or on a renovation portal like ours. But take note that the designs you have seen might not have been done by the same interior designer you are planning to hire. As such, it’s important to request to see works that were done by the designer you want to engage to get a true assessment of his or her credentials.
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Ask for before, after, and in-process photos to get a better idea of the transformations that took place. Request also to see their works that were done in a similar style and budget to what you want, so you will know whether they will be on the same page with you when it comes to your home renovation. Some interior designers will also be able to offer a visit to a previous client’s home, which is great for checking out the workmanship.
Q2. “Will what I want be able to fit in with my budget?”
Most experienced interior design professionals will be able to design spaces that meet your budget, but if your budget doesn’t align with your expectations, they should be honest with you from the beginning.
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As clients, it’s important to be realistic with our budgets and manage our expectations. Do your research and get a few design quotations to compare so you will be able to get a better gauge of the budget you need to work with.
Q3. “How involved will you be throughout the renovation process?”
Engaging an interior designer comes with the expectation that he or she will be able to manage our entire home renovation process, allowing us to be completely hands-off. However, it is true that most interior designers will be tasked with handling more than a single project at any one time so it’s important to be clear from the onset how involved he or she will be throughout your home renovation so there won’t be misunderstandings later on.
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Will your interior designer be there to monitor the progress and quality of your home renovation when the contractors come down? Will you be required to liaise with any of the contractors? How often will you be receiving regular updates? And will that be done via face-to-face meetings or WhatsApp messages? All these are legitimate questions to ask before engaging an interior designer.
Q4. “Can I understand what the project schedule will be like?”
This question lets you get a good gauge of your interior designer’s time management and allows you to see the scope of renovation activities that will be done. It also lets you have a better understanding of what should be completed at what stage so you can make sure your renovation progress is up to schedule during the process.
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If you are purchasing appliances that need to be built-in such as your hob and hood, knowing your project schedule allows you to better coordinate your purchases and delivery dates.
Q5. “When will I be able to move in?”
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Experienced designers will be able to give you an estimate of how long your home renovation will take. But as clients, be aware that complications can arise during a home renovation, which can cause delays to occur. If you have a specific date you need to move in by, do make sure to let your interior designer know from the start.
Q6. “What are the payment terms?”
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Before engaging an interior designer, do the money talk. Payment for most home renovation projects are typically paid in various stages throughout the renovation process. When payment is required depends on the interior design firm you sign with. Each instalment is usually done after the completion of key milestones in your home renovation. Check with your potential hire on the payment terms. To protect yourself, make sure the final instalment is only paid after the total completion of works.
Q7. “Will I be able to get a 3D visualisation of my home design before the renovation starts, and how many times am I allowed to make changes if I’m not happy with the initial drawings?”
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Besides sketches, most interior designers will be able to provide you with a 3D visualisation of how your home will look like before the start of the renovation. This will give you a better idea of how your ideas will translate to real life. Most interior design firms will also allow changes during this time, but check to see if major changes are chargeable and how much they will cost.
Q8. “How long is the warranty period for your workmanship, and what is covered and not covered under the warranty?”
There are certain firms that offer warranty on their workmanship, but a lot of times, this offer of warranty is more to entice homeowners rather than a legitimate offer. Make sure you go into detail on what the terms and conditions of the warranty are, and what aspects of the home renovation can be covered under the warranty before engaging your potential hire.
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You will also want to make sure that the details discussed are noted in black and white when you sign your contract. Know who to approach when there is a need to rectify anything that is under warranty.
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