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Interior Designer vs Contractor

Learn about the distinctions between an interior designer and a contractor.

Date Posted:15 September 2019

Authored By:Renologist

Interior Designer vs Contractor

Contractors are tradesmen in charge of executing renovation tasks assigned by homeowners. They focus on the specific task they are assigned, providing limited input in terms of ideas, design, or practicality. While contractors are well-versed in the work they do, they typically are only involved in specific slices of the full renovation end-to-end process.

Interior designers (IDs) are professionals that manage and coordinate your renovation project. IDs work with homeowners from project start till the end of the renovation journey. They help plan the layout and give suggestions that tailor to personal needs. The next step then involves material selection and casting of 3D perspective drawings, allowing homeowners to visualise various designs before the execution phase begins. In essence, interior design firms act as a one-stop solution to generate ideas, design and project-manage your dream home.

Price and Service Expectations

Most interior design firms provide 3D castings for the homeowner to picture the design and materials chosen. The additional cost of engaging IDs goes to their effort and time spent to understand the detailed requirements of homeowners. IDs also take on the additional responsibility of ensuring that vendors deliver quality workmanships and adhere to the scheduled timeline, minimizing disruptions to the target completion date.

On the other hand, contractors act on specific instructions given and are less obliged to engage in long discussions in design. It might be feasible to engage contractors if homeowners know exactly what they want, with no need for perspective drawings. Additionally, homeowners will need to monitor the work progress and handle all liaison work by themselves. This can be problematic if home owners are busy or unfamiliar with the prerequisites necessary at different stages of the renovation process. A mismatch of expectations may arise and could potentially lead to reworks, material wastage and a longer turnaround time. These can prove costly if homeowners have a fixed date to vacate their existing rental houses, or have already sold their previous property.

IDs are professionals in their field and they will provide recommendations to facilitate the renovation process. First timers may find the step by step approach helpful and more reassuring than having to cope with the stress of handling it alone. Alternatively, if few works are involved, homeowners can consider engaging a contractor as less coordination work is required. However, if it comes to major makeover, engaging an ID is often a better choice that saves the homeowner from plenty of hassle.

Most, if not all, of us love a good bargain. But does cheap really mean good? It could be a homeowner's nightmare if a renovation project is not properly managed. In-depth research is strongly encouraged before engaging any contractor or interior designer; do start by reading up on their customer reviews, and looking at their past projects!

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