Renovating your home can be one of the most stressful projects you'll undertake in your whole life — not mention, one of the most expensive, too! So before you nosedive into it, we break it down into four major stages for you, so you'll know what to expect when you hire an interior designer or a contractor.


– At your first meeting with the interior designer or contractor, discuss requirements, preferences and the budget.
– If you're working with an interior designer, he will create a design plan based on your requirements and preferences, and will give you an estimated cost. This is open for discussion before any detailed costings can be obtained.
– In the case of a contractor, after a discussion, he should present you with a detailed quotation and some sketches. Don't forget to ask to see material samples.

– When the design concept is finalised and a deposit is paid, the designer will specify materials, finishes and furnishings (furniture, lighting, flooring, wall coverings etc.). You can also expect more perspective drawings, elevation drawings for carpentry, colour palettes and maybe even mood boards for the major rooms.
– Once approved, the drawings are submitted to the HDB, URA, BCA or, in the case of private apartments, the management corporation for approval.

– Finally, the designer develops a timeline for the project, coordinates contractor work schedules and makes sure work is finished on time.
– During construction, you might need to shop for fittings and fixtures, furniture and soft furnishings (do not feel obliged to shop at places your contractor recommends, as chances are he enjoys a commission there).

– In the meantime, visit the site at least twice, and more so if you are working with a contractor rather than a designer.
– Just before handover, a general cleaning – including an acid or chemical wash over tiling work – will be done.
– Some designers also accessorise the home for that final touch.
– Remember to do a thorough check on the work done, inspect the house and ask for changes if any more are required at this stage.
– Once the work has been completed, you make the rest of the payment for the renovation project.