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Your HDB Home’s Interior Design: What to Do and Where to Start

Having a home renovation in Singapore can be a good idea to makeover your interior! Having a new atmosphere that is pleasing to the eyes can give a more positive disposition and a new outlook in life. Should you wish to start on a clean slate with a new condo, kitchen, HDB or BTO renovation, Project Guru is here to help. Home renovation is more than just filling the space with aesthetics. We provide small to large-scale home renovation ideas that go beyond beautiful, aiming to deliver renovations that are functional and can make staying at home a worthwhile experience.


It’s always an exciting time when you begin planning a makeover for your new HDB flat. However, as you begin discussing your HDB renovation ideas with your partner, things can start to seem overwhelming. From the living room to the bathroom, it seems like there is plenty to do in a limited timeframe. 

The prospects of decorating your entire house seem daunting even for seasoned homeowners, let alone for couples renovating their homes for the first time. If you find yourself swamped and unsure of where to begin, fret not cause we are here to help! We would first advise you to understand the entire renovation process from start to finish, as doing so helps immensely with your planning. 

This is why we have compiled a comprehensive guide that covers the steps you should take as you go about designing your dream home. We have also taken the liberty of sharing several brilliant home interior design ideas you can consider implementing when you discuss your options with your interior designer. Ready to learn more? Then continue reading on!


2.1. How to choose your ideal interior designer?

Unless you are an interior designer yourself, you will likely require the help of a professional interior design company to help you bring your makeover ideas to life. But with hundreds of interior design firms in Singapore to choose from, you might find it a challenge to narrow down your options. 

Furthermore, everyone has their own preferences, so there is no perfect method for choosing the right interior designer. With that said, there are still several tips you should keep in mind during the selection process to determine the most suitable interior designer for your home renovation project.

Tip #1: Do your homework

As you begin your search for the “best” or “top-rated” interior design firms in Singapore, it is natural for you to turn to friends and relatives for recommendations. In fact, we highly recommend doing so as they are an excellent source of information, especially if someone just recently renovated their home.

However, instead of asking “Would you recommend your interior designer?”, you should consider rephrasing the question to “What did you like about the interior designer you hired?” and “Are there any challenges you faced with your interior designer?”. The answers to these questions can help you make a more informed decision. 

Additionally, we recommend checking if your shortlisted firms are RMCA or CaseTrust certified accredited. These certifications signify that the interior design company maintains good sales practices, ethics, and standards. You can rest easy knowing the fees are articulated and documented clearly, and the firm will maintain full accountability for the listed deliverables in the project.

Tip #2: Look up the past works of your preferred interior designer

Every designer has their strengths and design preferences. Some interior design companies in Singapore may specialise in modern interior designs, such as minimalism or rustic designs with a hint of industrial, while others may be adept at a Victorian concept.

Therefore, it is crucial to look at your preferred interior designer’s past works to see if their style matches what you are looking for in your new home. After all, if a designer specialises in Scandinavian styles, you would want to play to their strength.

However, just because the designer is inexperienced in a specific home interior design style does not mean they can’t do a good job. It all boils down to your personal preference and whether you are comfortable proceeding with them or not. 

Tip #3: Ensure your interior designer can work within your budget

While it is tempting to opt for the interior design company that provides the lowest quotation, it may not always be the best option. We recommend comparing a minimum of three quotes to understand what is included and where potential additional expenses may appear. You may find that the cheapest choice may not always be the best fit.

Furthermore, you would want to ensure your preferred interior designer can provide you with designs that match your brief while offering you the flexibility to make alterations if needed. Of course, all of these should ideally fit within the budget you discussed with your interior designer. 

Tip #4: Ensure your interior designer has your best interests in mind

Some interior design firms are more concerned with closing the deal than truly understanding what you want. They may promise you the world initially but fail to comprehend what you are looking for in their designs. As a result, their designers struggle to bring your vision to life. 

Communication is essential. If your interior designer is pushing for things you do not require rather than trying to understand what you need, you should ask yourself if they are the right candidate to oversee the project. After all, you would not want to endure this frustration for the ensuing months.

A good interior designer will listen attentively to your needs but be upfront about whether your home renovation ideas are feasible. When this scenario occurs, they should also be able to suggest alternative solutions that match your requirements.

2.2 What to do before meeting with your interior designer?

Deciding on your ideal interior design company is merely the first step. Once you and your partner have reached a consensus, you should arrange a consultation session with your interior designer to discuss your BTO renovation. But it is advisable for you to be well-prepared before heading down for your first meeting.

What you need to prepare before your consultation

Firstly, it is essential for you to list down all your requirements and wants for your interior designer. For example, if you are looking to install a kitchen island, you need to let your designer know beforehand so that they can incorporate it into the kitchen renovation plan.

One of the things you need to include in this list is the overall concept of your home. If you do not have a clear idea in mind, you should at least decide on your likes and dislikes so your interior designer can help you to narrow down your options. Google is your best friend as there are plenty of modern interior design styles available for your perusal on the internet. 

It is also wise to bring along a digital copy of the floor plan to help your designer visualise your home layout. If you can include site photos, all the better! Don’t forget to let your designer know about your budget as well. 

However, it is best to keep an open mind and be flexible with your finances. As the expert, your interior designer will likely have a ballpark figure in mind after hearing your requirements and can guide you regarding the expected expenses for the products and services you need. 

Questions to ask your interior designer

A home renovation project can be a costly affair. Therefore, you need to be certain your interior designer can deliver your vision of a home that is functional and beautiful. As such, it is advisable for you to prepare a list of questions for your designer so they can clarify any doubts you have. To help you along, we have compiled the crucial questions you should consider asking your interior designer. 

Question #1: Can I fit in what I want with my budget?

As the client, it is vital for you to manage your expectations and be realistic with your budget. While most experienced interior designers can develop a design that fits your budget, they would generally be upfront if your budget does not align with your requirements. When this happens, you need to listen and understand why your requests may not be feasible.

Question #2: How involved will you be in the renovation process?

When you engage the services of your interior designer, you would naturally expect them to oversee the entire home renovation process, allowing you to remain relatively hands-off. 

However, it is essential to note that each designer will generally be tasked with managing more than a single project simultaneously. Therefore, you should clarify from the onset how involved your designer will be during the duration of your BTO renovation to avoid any misunderstandings later on. 

Question #3: What is the project schedule like?

This question not only allows you to understand the scope of your renovation project but also gives you a better indication of your interior designer’s time management skills. 

Furthermore, you will have a better understanding of whether the home renovation is on-schedule, as you have a clear idea of what should be completed at each phase. This allows you to have a firm idea of when you can move into your new home.

Question #4: Can I make alterations to the designs?

It is common for interior designers to provide you with a 3D visualisation of your HDB interior design before renovation commences to give you a firm idea of how your vision will translate to real life.

At this stage of the project, you may still want to make specific alterations to the designs, especially after seeing the 3D model of your home. While most interior design firms will still allow changes, you may want to check if the alterations are chargeable and how much they will cost.


3.1. Choosing the theme of your home

We understand you are eager to begin your search now that you have a clear idea of what to look out for in an interior design company. However, if you have not decided on the theme for your new home, you may want to establish a general idea before you meet your designer. 

This creative process can take up a significant portion of your time, so we advise starting on it as early as possible. Platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are excellent places to begin your research. A pro tip is to collate images of the concepts and designs that catch your eye into a mood board. 

Don’t hesitate to include pictures of complimentary furniture and appliances, as they can influence the tile works, carpentry, and configuration of your living space. Having a visual representation of what you have in mind can help guide your future decisions and facilitate discussion with your interior designer. 

However, if you find it too overwhelming to decide on the theme of your entire home, you can take things one step at a time by deciding on the style for each room first. You can begin with the room you are likely to spend the most time in on an average day. For most people, that will either be the living room or bedroom.

When it comes to planning out the furniture for each room, a helpful tip is to organise a core list of activities that usually take place in each room and the requirements that accompany them. For example, you may require a desk in the study room for your child’s revision. Don’t neglect to invest in quality furniture once the home renovation is complete and it is time to furnish your home.

3.2. Interior design trends for your consideration

Still can’t decide on your ideal HDB interior design style after browsing the web for hours? Well, it is understandable. After all, it is natural to be picky when you are conceptualising how your new home will look. 

However, after spending hours on fruitless research, you may want to take a different approach and consider looking at the top modern interior design trends for 2022 for inspiration? Let us share our favourites for your consideration. 

Trend #1: Biophilic design

Singapore recently took its most significant step towards living with COVID-19 by easing a host of COVID restrictions. However, after spending most of our time indoors for the past two years, there remains a focus on re-establishing our connection to nature by implementing biophilic design principles.

As such, there is an emphasis on creating a serene living space with natural ventilation and lighting. Houseplants are an excellent way to inject greenery into your home and maintain a visual connection with nature. Furthermore, studies have shown that houseplants can help improve your mood and reduce stress levels.

Trend #2: Embracing traditional details

With everything that has happened within the past two years, it is no surprise to learn that people are searching for a sense of nostalgia and comfort in these uncertain times. And we are likely to see this feeling reflected in the interior design of various homes. From the incorporation of antique pieces to pattern mixing, we expect various traditional details to make a big comeback in 2022. 

Trend #3: Create warmth with earthy tones

After a hectic workday, you would likely want to make a beeline to the sanctuary of your home to relax. In that case, you should design your home with this thinking in mind. You can consider incorporating warm colour tones, such as browns and beiges, as these hues give your home a sense of peace and tranquillity.

However, if you are not fond of painting your entire house brown or beige, you can consider going with warmer and creamier whites. It doesn’t have to be the whole apartment either, an accent wall alone is sufficient. You can opt for furniture pieces with warm textures, like natural wood, as they pair well with this colour palette.

Trend #4: Go with organic shapes and archways

Are you tired of the modular and rectangular shapes that dominate most modern interior designs? If your answer is yes, why not opt for organic shapes with rounded furniture, such as round coffee tables and ottoman sofas, instead?

This trend can also be incorporated into your home walls and entryways. The arches will help draw attention to the heights of your walls, making your home look more spacious. However, it is best to get your interior designer’s opinion on this matter, as a forced arch design can look awkward.

3.3. Should you go with a renovation contractor or interior design company?

Now that you have a clearer idea of the interior design style for your HDB flat, you are probably thinking of starting the home renovation process. However, depending on the scope of your project, you might be tempted to just hire a renovation crew. After all, if you are conducting minimal renovation, you might not see the need to spend an extra sum on engaging the services of an interior design company.

But before you press ahead with your decision, you might wish to know more about the differences between a renovation contractor and an interior designer. This way, you can have a firm idea of which service is better suited for your project. 

The differences between a renovation contractor and an interior designer

Role of an interior designer

As the name suggests, an interior designer primarily designs the interior design of your home based on the preferences and feedback provided by you, the homeowner. This is achieved through various 3D renders and sketches, so you have a clear idea of how your home will look. They also provide consultation on the type of materials, colour choices, and furnishings to help you improve the aesthetics and functionality of your HDB flat.

Furthermore, interior design firms generally have their own reliable team of subcontractors they approach to handle the renovation works. This saves you the time and hassle of having to source a renovation contractor. The designer will also oversee the home renovation project on your behalf and provide regular updates on the process, thereby alleviating your workload. 

Role of a renovation contractor

Conversely, a renovation contractor only executes the plans provided by you or an interior designer. This includes working with their subcontractors – electricians, carpenters, and plumbers – to bring your vision to life. 

While specific contractors who have been in the industry long enough have expanded to include interior design packages, these companies are generally few and far between.

How to decide between a renovation contractor and an interior designer

Understanding the different roles of a renovation contractor and an interior designer is just the first step in your decision-making process. There are other factors that you need to consider as well. So consider asking yourself the following questions before making your choice. 

Question #1: What is your budget? 

It stands to reason that an interior design company charges a higher fee since the services provided are more comprehensive. Not only are you paying for the consultation and designing fees, but also the interior designer’s time for overseeing the renovation project from start to finish. 

Question #2: What is the scope of the project?

An HDB resale renovation project will likely be more extensive than a minor makeover for a BTO flat, especially if the resale flat has not been refurbished for years. 

If the scope of your project calls for an overhaul of the apartment, it is advisable to hire an interior designer. Conversely, if you only wish to make minor adjustments – such as installing new tiles or carpentry – then you can consider engaging the services of a renovation contractor to reduce costs. 

Question #3: How involved do you want to be? 

Many Singaporeans opt to hire an interior designer since they prefer to let someone else oversee the project management aspects of their home renovation project. After all, supervising a renovation is no easy feat; you need to be patient, knowledgeable, and experienced. 

If you feel you are up to the task, you can work with a contractor to oversee the project’s timelines and deliverables yourself. However, if you lead a hectic lifestyle and would prefer not to heap undue stress on yourself, go with an interior designer instead.

Question #4: Do you have design knowledge

Designing a home goes beyond mere aesthetics. You need to understand how to make space functional, know what type of materials to incorporate, and ensure every measurement and dimension is accurate. 

Unfortunately, a passing knowledge of interior design is not enough to cut it. So if you do not have the experience, it is best to work with an interior designer who can advise you accordingly based on your preferences.

Which options should you opt for?

Unless you are working with a tight budget or making minor adjustments to your HDB flat, we recommend you to work with an interior design firm. Not only can you consult your interior designer, who can inform you what is and isn’t feasible, but you can also have peace of mind knowing someone else is overseeing your home renovation project in your stead.

At ProjectGuru, our experienced team of interior designers understands every homeowner has their preferences. As such, we actively seek to listen to each client’s needs and wants so that we can create the most fitting modern interior designs out of their desires. If you are interested to learn more about our services, do not hesitate to contact us today to schedule a consultation session.



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