How can you trust that your interior designer (ID) has your best interests at heart and is the best fit for the job? For Ohmyhome Senior Interior Designer Demi Goh, it boils down to five critical questions. Asking these questions enables an interior designer to truly understand your home renovation goals, she says. So if they do, be assured that your home is in good hands.
5 key questions a good ID will ask you
- Do you have a floor plan?
- What’s the size of your family?
- Are you doing major or minor works?
- Do you have a style in mind?
- What’s your budget?
#1: Do you have a floor plan?
Before any home renovation project can officially start, your interior designer will need to look at your floor plan to know the scale of the space that is to be worked on.
“[The floorplan] is the key to kickstart an idea or thought, like creating art on a blank canvas,” says Demi. It helps interior designers create a 3D perspective of a home, which makes communicating design ideas easier and in a more holistic fashion.
By offering a 3D rendering during the home renovation process, an interior designer turns over control to the homeowner’s hands and empowers them to suggest alterations to the design based on their preferences and needs.
#2: What’s the size of your family?
You might be thinking, “Really? Do good interior designers need to ask this?”
Yes, they do. And it’s not because they’re being nosy. Knowing the size of your family, its members and future plans to grow the brood, are important considerations because interior designers need to allocate space according to the current and future needs of the household.
For example, some homeowners may decide to hack certain walls or merge bedrooms to enlarge their living or sleeping spaces. Or to just go for an open-concept home.
Demi has had to step in then to remind homeowners of their future plans to grow their families.
“I recommend a backup plan, like keeping a spare room that can be converted into another bedroom, a study area, or an entertainment room,” she says.
Of course, some hacking works are required at times. As an example, she says the more recent home layouts have bedroom sizes that are a little small for some homeowners. Hacking may be justified then, she adds.
Then there are those who like to host friends and family at home who prefer to open up their living space to have a large dining table or an island as the focal point of the house.
The members of a client’s family alert an interior designer on the need to design spaces for different age groups.
Demi says: “It helps [interior designers] think about not just the aesthetic aspects of the redesign but also on the functionality of the spaces. In this case, we now know to consider furniture that is more suitable for the different-aged residents of the house.”
For homeowners who want more space in their bedroom area, Demi may advise removing the wall between bedrooms. “The new space can be used for a walk-in wardrobe or for storage. “For some people, it’s less about losing a room, but gaining functional use of a bedroom space.”
But to maintain some privacy from their children or the grandparents who stay over, some homeowners choose not to hack certain walls: having separate rooms and designated spaces for each resident makes it easier for everyone to move around the home freely, she adds.
#3: Are you doing major or minor works?
|Major Works||Renovating almost the entire house, which includes hacking works and changing out the floors, carpentry, electrical, ceiling works.|
|Minor Works||Less disruptive changes such as paint touch-ups, fixing up a small area in the home, or adding built-in cabinets.|
According to Demi, the major or minor works question is important to ask as it acts as the basis of the amount of work or recommendation that the interior designer can suggest.
Knowing the kind of work that needs to be done gives interior designers a better understanding of the renovation’s rough timeline, even if it’s just the first meeting.
But the scope of work for each home renovation project, be it major or minor, will ultimately depend on the condition of the property.
Older resale flats typically undergo major works
A buyer of a 20-year-old outdated flat located in a mature estate will likely ask for major works to update their floors.
“However, there are also buyers who like the old-school vibe of HDB flats and want to retain it,” Demi says. “They may want to simply purchase new furniture that blends in with the look of their home.” The former is certainly a more affordable alternative.
Newer flats are likely newly renovated and usually undergo minor works
If the house is a recently MOP-ed unit, it may be newly renovated and in a move-in condition. So buyers may choose to only work on the essential areas of the home, such as the bathroom or the kitchen.
#4: Do you have a style in mind?
“Most clients will already have an idea of how their home will look like,” says Demi. “But for those who don’t yet know what they like or what will suit them, I’ll usually have a conversation about it with them. I will show them some pictures or screenshots from Pinterest and Instagram. From there, we’ll find out together which style they gravitate towards.”
Check out Renovation Styles: 5 Best Picks by Ohmyhome Senior Interior Designer to find out which styles Demi like best. Or visit Ohmyhome Renovation on Instagram for more home renovation inspiration.
#5: What’s your budget?
The final question a good interior designer will ask you is your budget. As money is a sensitive topic for most, good interior designers will wait until the end of a meeting to broach the subject as they won’t want to restrict you from sharing your ideas in the beginning.
“The budget always helps to be realistic with your expectations,” Demi says. “My goal as an interior designer is to help clients achieve what they envision as much as possible.” Most of the time, though, pictures on Pinterest or Instagram are from houses abroad where living spaces are bigger. Unfortunately, properties in Singapore are not the same.
That is where the expertise of an interior designer comes in handy. “Your budget shouldn’t hold you back from achieving your dream home,” she says. “Certain materials can be substituted to achieve a similar outcome. They don’t have to all be built-ins. Buying off-the-shelf furniture can also complement the space of your home.”
Home renovation can be an exciting journey, especially when your home is curated to your preferences and needs.
“Every corner matters,” Demi says. “I really enjoy every project I handle, from understanding what the client likes or doesn’t like, right down where they want their rice cooker to be placed in the kitchen sometimes. It’s not just about the work for me, but also the journey and relationship I build to understand all of my clients”.