Every home interior design is special. After all, it is the place you’re going to live in. Whether it is an HDB, a condo, a terrace or any other private property, your interior design is critical to bring out your dream home.
As an interior design magazine platform, we’ve had the privileged opportunity to interview many homeowners and review their beautiful apartment and houses. And over the years, we have also had the opportunity to work with many experienced interior designers, both in Singapore and abroad. Hearing from them and seeing their work first-hand.
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The Home You’ve Always Dreamed Of
Everyone wants to build their dream home. Yet, the process of doing so may take a toll on new home-owners as it can be a tedious and tiring one.
In trying to achieve a particular aesthetic, research needs to be done, materials and furniture must be laboriously sourced, and subcontractors need to be contacted.
The art of choosing the right theme, colour scheme, and furniture pieces and finishes could take a long time especially if you were to undertake the project all by yourself.
Singaporeans lead very hectic lifestyles in general, which makes time a very precious resource. As such, it comes as no surprise that many Singaporeans would instead engage a professional home interior designer when they are looking to give their homes a fresh look.
While some homeowners may want to save money on interior design services, engaging an interior designer to help you with your home interior design saves a substantial amount of time – and hassle.
How Will Hiring An Interior Designer Benefit You?
Many interior design firms in Singapore comprise of home interior design experts who can provide you with a comprehensive suite of services.
Apart from designing the home, a good interior designer will also assist you with the paperwork, handle the execution or hire the relevant contractors to do so.
Interior design firms are also familiar with the relevant HDB guidelines, so this will be helpful if you intend to renovate your HDB home. On top of this, your trusted interior designer will also handle the procurement of supplies and materials needed for the project.
How Do You Choose the Right Interior Designer?
Never rush through the process of choosing an interior design firm. You are likely to invest a substantial amount of money into the project, so you’ll want to hire a capable, trustworthy vendor who will help design your ideal home.
Do your research.
Do an online search and shortlist a handful of interior design firms that suit your style and budget. Instead of simply browsing through their websites, request for a portfolio that you can analyse carefully. Take your research offline by getting recommendations from trusted friends, as they will be able to vouch for the designer’s work.
Meet your designer in person.
This allows you to assess how the designer deals with clients and gives you a gauge of their project management skills. You will also get to see if their design style fits your aesthetic, and get a sense of how willing they are to accommodate your preferences.
Be clear about what you want.
Before you meet your potential designer, have a good sense of the aesthetic or theme you want to go for. This facilitates more precise and more effective communication for both parties. It also allows the design firm to assess whether they’re able to meet your expectations.
Avoid using price as your main deciding factor.
Everyone wants to get a bang for their buck. However, when it comes to something as permanent and substantial as your home, price shouldn’t hinder you from choosing higher-quality options.
In the long run, it will make sense to pay a little bit more for quality. Don’t be fooled by extremely low-priced options. If it seems too good to be true – chances are, it probably is. You get what you pay for.
What Should I Look Out For In An Interior Designer?
Apart from considering an ID’s professional expertise and experience, it is essential to find how flexible they are. Ideally, you should engage a designer who is willing to suit your aesthetic. While interior designers will provide their input, the final say should lie in the hands of the client. It’s essential to work with an interior designer who is open to constructive criticism and feedback as well, as your expectations may clash with his or her design style in the process.
Current Work Schedule.
This is to access if the interior designer can accommodate your schedule and timeline. In addition to laying out the design of each home, interior designers have their hands full with site visits, meetings with subcontractors and so on.
Rates that Fit Your Budget.
Before embarking on your interior design project, it is wise to have a budget in mind. Be open and honest about your budget and find out which firms within your shortlist can provide the best fit for your expectations within a budget that’s comfortable for you. Avoid dealing with interior designers who persistently try to sell you pricier options under the guise of them being more premium.
Industry Knowledge and Access to Resources
A competent interior designer should not only possess good design sense but should also be equipped with updated knowledge about the various types of materials used. For example, he or she should be able to recommend what kinds of fabrics to use for upholstery, what finishes should be chosen for the floorings, which materials are most durable, et cetera. He or she should also keep abreast of industry trends.
To complement his/her knowledge, an interior designer should have access to quality products and subcontractors. This is to ensure the smooth and successful execution of interior design projects. Quality is paramount – you wouldn’t want to deal with a leaking tap or broken cupboard every few months!
What Precautions Should I Take When Hiring An Interior Designer?
Never pay the full amount upfront.
The industry standard is about 25% of the total cost, so there is no reason for your interior design firm to demand full payment before work is done. You should only pay the remainder after crucial milestones of the project have been completed. No matter how low the quoted price is, don’t ever be lured into forking out the full sum at the start!
Read and sign the paperwork carefully before paying.
Ensure that the firm has all the critical project details documented in black and white. Read the clauses, terms and conditions meticulously – avoid blindly printing your signature onto the document. Once you’ve signed the dotted line, you’ll be held accountable to the contract terms.
Keep an eye out for Hidden Costs.
Your interior design firm may exclude certain services from the quote provided to you, whether deliberate or not. To avoid having to pay hundreds, or even thousands of dollars in hidden costs later, it is wise to leave no stone unturned. Ask questions to find out the exact inclusions and exclusions of the package to protect yourself.
Make Frequent Site Visits.
Even if you trust your ID, the subcontractors are often external vendors. Making frequent visits to the site presents an excellent opportunity for you to track the progress of work, and ensure that things are going in the right direction. It is always better to keep track of critical milestones in the process, rather than get a rude shock at the end of things so wrong.
Elegant Luxe Duplex Home Design Playhouse for the Family
Artfully decorated to portray a modern luxe theme, the design team utilised a less is more approach, bringing together the apartment with minimal embellishment and an expanse of glass to expand perceptions of space.
Regal icons like the dramatic chandelier and metallic planter sit well with the grand piano in the dining hall.
A great example of the reuse of the bay windows by the Elements ID team; a striking queen-sized bed is imagined over the bay windows. Momentous views can be enjoyed before and after a good night’s slumber.
In the family bedroom, a cozy presence is idealised with a shaggy rug and a bedframe with plush sideboards.
Due to the functional angular shape of rooms in the apartment, the four bedroom + study duplex penthouse in the Flamingo Valley condominium teases with possibilities. Assigned to Victor Ng, Estee Aw and the design team of Elements ID Consultants, the penthouse was in good hands. It is certain an effort worthy of praise and acclaim would be delivered to the clients.
Beautifying the living room with minimal embellishment
Sticking to a less is more approach; the living room strays from over-decorating, instead focusing on minimal embellishment and the necessities of a living room. Design enthusiasts would understand the challenge of melding form and function. In the construction of the living space, an expanse of glass was used to position and expand conceptions of space. Atop of the wall-mounted television, a mirror-shelving system was built to mimic aesthetic purity with sleek mirror panels while providing storage for the client’s love of art. Following the construction of the shelving system, cove lighting was installed, adding a backlight to the television and setting the mood for the living room.
Lighting up the master bedroom
The owners’ brief was for the master bedroom to feel cosier. Putting into place cove lighting instead of direct lighting contributes to that vein of thought, providing the room with soft lighting throughout. Navigating the elegant luxe style set out, the Elements ID team’s decision to play with fabric has reaped its rewards: the upholstered headboard, accent throw pillows, floral-patterned linen curtains and fabric lampshade all add to an impressively warm and expressive environment. Yet again, the elegant luxe theme is replicated in the select handle modelled after a Victorian-styled knocker. In contrast with the common areas, the bedrooms are tiled with wooden floorboards.
Retaining each homeowner’s unique style
In the last bedroom, the team had put various shades of wood together to good use, shelling the room in a warm glow. As dedication to the client’s love for style, the design team seismically upgraded the interiors. Flushing the bed to the wall, the team chose a bed frame with padded sideboards for an uninterrupted sleeping experience. The comfortable sleeping area is matched with a shaggy rug, adding to the comfy vibe. In this family bedroom, unique attic roofing allowed for the installation of cove lighting, adding to the overall effect. To accommodate dedicated purposes like reading, the design team installed an asterisk-shaped lighting made out of six lamps.
Regal icons fit for the dining area
Across the living hall, the dining area features much more regal icons. Glass and mirror is replicated in the glass-top dining table, dramatic chandelier and wall-mounted strips of mirror. It is clear the dining area is used to hold important discussions and meetings; the design team installed a metallic planter in the center of the table with large flowers to lighten the mood and diffuse the air with sweet-breathing scents. The sleek black upright piano positioned adjacent to the diner is also carefully arranged to offer lunching guests an opportunity for a mid-day tune. Above it, a 3-D artwork, resembling a nest, catches the eye.
Creative use of bay windows to maximise the home design
The other bedrooms in the house play with the existing design, primarily in the structure of the bay windows. Playing to their strengths of creative planning, the design team fashioned a study table from the bay windows in the first bedroom. A glossy table is built into the alcove to support a desktop, homeowners can peruse the computer either from a recliner or seated from the bay windows with a swivel of the desktop. Each bay window has been creatively designed to make the most out of its structure and purpose. The wooden bed structure extends from the window, offering momentous views from the moment one wakes. Not to mention, additional compartments in the bed frame offer storage for bedding supplies in the modest-sized room.
Elements ID Consultants, www.elementsid.com.sg