Interior Design Cost Guide In Singapore

When it comes to decorating or redesigning your home (or any part thereof), you should consider hiring an interior designer. Their expertise, creativity and advice can help you make decisions on how space should flow.

Using their valuable experience from previous home projects, an interior designer can help recommend furniture sizes and have the know-how to make the small details matter.

Interior designers also have a more extensive range of access to materials, software and samples as compared to the ordinary homeowner, thus, they can improve your design choices with ideas and solutions that may be outside of your knowledge.

Moreover, their connections in the industry may allow you to avoid high retail prices, which gives you more breathing room and flexibility when designing your home. This can mean a big difference when it comes to pricing and also allows you additional catalogue and ideas to decorate your home.

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Interior Design Project Costs in Singapore

For interior design packages, the usual price range in Singapore for the specific projects are:

  • 3-room BTO renovation: S$25,000 to S$45,000
  • 4-room BTO renovation: S$33,000 to S$58,000
  • 5-room BTO renovation: S$38,000 to S$65,000
  • 3-room resale renovation: S$30,000 to S$65,000
  • 4-room resale renovation: S$38,000 to S$73,000
  • 5-room resale renovation: S$50,000 to S$82,000
  • Condominium renovation (depending on size): S$40,000 to S$120,000

Find out more HDB 3-room, 4-room interior design ideas, 5-room interior design ideas, or condominium interior design ideas.

The range of interior design projects varies in Singapore. While some IDs offer to customize the plan according to each unit, others offer packages, such as HDB BTO or resale packages.

These packages usually include design consultations, space planning, project management, masonry, plumbing, ceiling & carpentry works as well as other miscellaneous works such as painting and cleaning.

Prices vary accordingly to what’s in the package, including labour costs and product costs, as well as the area of the home that is being renovated. For example, there are kitchen or bathroom design packages as well, ranging from 6000SGD to 20,000SGD.

The devil is in the details though – such packages often offer essential renovation services. They may be used by unscrupulous companies to mark up high when you need additional add-ons or work done for your home. Such packages may not be advisable for people who are looking for a full interior design experience.

Again, this varies from design companies to companies, so do make sure to do your due diligence such as reading reviews and call up previous customers for feedback about the firm you’ll be engaging with.

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Cost Factors

The prices are in a broad range, mainly because there are too many factors being played out in any renovation projects. Some 3-room HDB projects can cost upwards of 70,000SGD and large condominium projects for as little as 30,000SGD. It typically boils down to the labour and products used (branded vs non-branded) in the project.

You should consider the following cost factors when hiring a designer or decorator.

  • Self-employed or firm
  • Number of employees in the firm
  • Overhead cost
  • Number of rooms you want to be decorated
  • Quality of materials

In general, interior designers and decorators that work for themselves are often more affordable. Larger firms are likely to charge more due to having higher overhead costs (such as marketing, bigger office spaces, etc.), which is passed on to the consumer. While there are exceptions, this usually holds for the industry.

For example, some firms in Singapore have showrooms that display samples and past works; Some interior design showrooms may feature different brands such as Blum. These showrooms require capital to operate, which translates to higher costs for consumers.

Although high costs may dissuade you from choosing a firm, working with one has its benefits as well. Having full-time, dedicated employees or a salesperson (for interior designers, the consultants or designers) to help you means that the project will be completed faster, and more so on time.

Firms also have a reputation to uphold (along with their fixed office space, company info, showrooms), which means they are inclined to live up to your expectations and serve you better.

Designers and decorators may work on an hourly basis or by project basis. If it is on a project basis, designers may write down the number of hours they need in the billing.

Do keep in mind that not all interior designers and decorators have an hourly rate. Some have a flat rate, pre-fixed rate or percentage over cost rate. While the number of rooms will increase the total cost of designing, choosing to redesign/redecorate your entire house may give you a more reasonable rate.

The style that you want to implement will play a role in price too. Vintage designs may require higher quality materials or hard to find decor, which may make it costlier.

It is advisable to discuss with the professional on the styles that they specialize in as they will more likely to know how to control the cost and assist you with keeping within your budget.

Designer Fees

As for designer fees, it can take the form of a flat price, hourly-rate, a percentage of the project or a pre-fixed rate. With that said, it may be a red flag the company is fraudulent if you are asked to deposit more than 20% to 30%, pay the deposit in cash or write the check out to anyone besides the interior design company you are hiring.

Based on statistics provided by Qanvast, general design fees for either a HDB or a condominium would be approximately around $1,500 to $6,000.

You may want to ask for free interior design consultations, as this will give you a gauge of their capabilities before deciding to get started.

Differences between Interior Designers and Interior Decorators

When hiring a professional to decorate or redesign your home, it is crucial to know the differences between an interior designer and an interior decorator. While they may accomplish the same task of changing the aesthetics of your home, their overall job scopes are different.

One of the most significant differences between the two jobs is their credentials.

Interior designers usually have experienced and may have even worked with other experienced designers. They make deeper considerations such as the acoustics, lightings and temperature of your home spaces when deciding furniture for your house.

Designers are often involved in building projects from the very beginning, potentially working with the architect to ensure that the designed interior spaces provide functionality.

On the other hand, interior decorators may not have any official training and will not have a license. Thus, they typically cost less than an interior designer.

However, an interior decorator may not have the depth of knowledge or experience to work on some projects. Both interior designers and decorators are reliable in decorating a space. They will be able to:

  • discuss the latest interior design trends
  • add unique touches throughout the room
  • confer with you about colours, textiles and textures
  • integrate a specific style or personality

However, interior designers go a step further in ensuring that their design improves the quality of life in your home. In short, interior designers give you the bonus of function, on top of fashion.

Your goal for the room should be taken into account when deciding on hiring an interior designer or an interior decorator.

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Questions to ask your Interior Designer

To determine if your interior designer is right for you, you should ask him/her a variety of questions.

  • How will the billing be handled?
  • How long have you been working in this interior design industry?
  • Do you have a portfolio containing your past works?
  • What is your philosophy when it comes to designing?
  • Will you be able to acquire discounts on materials?
  • What is your signature style?

These questions will help give you a brief overview of the kind of interior designer they are and what they are capable of.

Looking through their portfolio will help you see what they have accomplished in the past and whether this matches your desired outcome. You can also learn about the management of the project budget and their fees.

A critical thing to look for is also the reviews of interior designers. Good reviews may be helpful, but bad reviews are usually the one that reveals the other side of what you will be working with.

Questions your designer should ask you

Your designer should be asking you questions as well. This will help them understand your taste and what you want.

You should be concerned if they will be able to match up to your desired vision if they do not ask you any questions.

Some basic questions are as follows:

  • What is your favourite colour?
  • What are the styles that you love the most and why?
  • If you had the opportunity to live anywhere, where would you choose and why?
  • What inspired you to choose this specific style?
  • What is your budget?
  • What is the timeframe for completion?

Your designer may ask you to go through various catalogues and magazines to get to know your likes and dislikes. A common task would be to sort photos into two piles based on what you like or hate.

Your designer can then assess these two piles and form an idea of which styles and trends they should make use of or shy away from. Some are specialized in interior lighting while some work with feng shui masters to ensure your home can be best tailored to your taste and style.

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What Are the Major Renovation Costs?

For most projects, the following areas typically represent the most substantial portion of your home design projects. The areas are:

Carpentry

Due to the different dimensions of homes, most of our homes require custom-made furniture. Carpentry is, therefore, an integral part of a home renovation. Its costs will depend on how much custom furniture you need, as well as the brand of finishes, used, for say, the laminate, hinges and drawer tracks, etc.

Costs of carpentry based on level

  • Light work: $250 – $3500
  • Moderate work: $3500 – $6000
  • Heavy work: $6000 to $23, 500

That said, you can always shop for ready-made furniture from lots of channels such as IKEA, or even local furniture companies. Alternatively, you can also find companies who custom make furniture or custom cabinetry.

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Flooring

The more common flooring materials include ceramic, laminate, vinyl, parquet, granite and marble. Flooring is a significant part of any home and is a high cost for most home renovation projects in Singapore.

Costs of different types of flooring:

  • Vinyl – $7 per piece
  • Laminate – S$5.50 to S$8 per square foot
  • Cement Screed– S$14 to S$28 per square foot
  • Marble– S$15 to S$70 per square foot
  • Hardwood – S$25 to S$50 per square foot
  • Terrazzo – S$30 – S$80 per square foot
  • Ceramic Tiles- S$9 to S$12 per square foot

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Hacking of walls

Depending on how much you want to change from the original design, hacking of walls can constitute a big part of your home improvement project too, especially if they require approval from relevant building/government authorities.

Hacking a wall can turn two small rooms into one large room, which gives you more flexibility and space for your home design.

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Air-conditioning systems

Air-conditioning systems aren’t cheap. Wiring, running of pipes and installing aircon units for the entire home can easily cost thousands of dollars and should be factored into your renovation budget.

The different types of aircon can also affect prices quite drastically (such as aircon systems that can be connected to a smart home system), so be sure to compare aircon installation quotes before hiring a company.

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Other Considerations

Other reasons may make you want a designer or decorator. If you were looking to sell your house, you might look for an interior decorator since staging it can help increase the “worth” of your property.

The fact is, organizing your house could be a worthwhile investment. When you choose the right furniture and clear the clutter from your home spaces, it can help to make your house feel more like home.

Every designer and decorator have their differences in terms of experience and where their passion lies. Consider talking to a few of them to be sure of how much they can help with your home, as your goal here is to find the professional that harmonizes well with your style.

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Cost of Other Home Improvement Areas

You can check out the cost of hiring professionals for other aspects of your home improvement project. If you have a spare budget and would like some unique designs of your own, you can try speaking to a few interior designers for more designs ideas.

Renovation contractors can sometimes be the best fit for you if you have a suitable home design in mind.

Some of the usual home improvement cost guides can be found below:

This article was published in first published April 2019, updated in June 2019, and in March 2021.