Looking for someone to help bring your dream home to life? Many might first think of interior designers, but you might also have heard of those who work with contractors or home stylists. Read on, if you’re not sure who to call.

Interior Designer

Interior designers are top of most people’s minds when they think of home renovation. This is for good reason, as interior designers provide a whole suite of design and renovation services.

An interior designer would be a good fit for you if you need a sounding board for the design of your home. They’re also great if you don’t have experience or time to oversee your home renovation, as interior designers can help to work with contractors and manage the entire renovation process.


Unlike an interior designer, a contractor’s expertise lies in the execution of the renovation works, rather than design advice. Depending on the scope of work, contractors may also hire sub-contractors such as electricians, plumbers, and painters.

If you have a clear vision for your home or perhaps even some background in architecture and design, you could consider working directly with contractors. This might translate into some savings, since you would not need to pay for design services.

However, this also means you will need to keep track of the budget and progress on your own, or ensure that the main contractor is able to do so. Since the different vendors have their own area of specialisation, they will not have an overview of the renovation process. This means you will need to be familiar with the sequence of works – for example, knowing that you can only start carpentry works after wiring and piping works – to avoid having to rework the renovations.

Thinking of engaging contractors without the help of an interior designer? Get some tips from Geoffrey and Sian Ching, Tampines residents who took the DIY route for their BTO flat.

Home Stylist

Photo: Home Tours: A Modern, Idyllic Paradise

You might also have heard of a third option – home stylists, sometimes also called interior stylists. While home stylists are similar to interior designers, their area of expertise is slightly different. Interior designers oversee the big picture, including the overall concept, timeline and major renovation works. On the other hand, home stylists have a fine-tuned eye for detail. They can advise on colour, texture, furnishing and decor changes to help make the space truly yours.

If you’re an existing homeowner looking to refresh your home (or just one or two rooms) without going through big renovations, a home stylist might be the perfect budget-friendly option for you.

TL;DR Who should I engage?

  • If you could do with some design advice and help in managing the renovation journey, an interior designer is a good option
  • If you have some background in design and are confident in managing the process by yourself, consider working directly with a contractor(s) to potentially save some cost
  • If you are looking to upgrade your space without taking up major renovation, try reaching out to a home or interior stylist

Whichever route you take, be sure to read our Guide to Renovating Your HDB Flat first to familiarise yourself with the process for a smooth renovation journey!

  • Wong Li Ying

    Social media nerd who dabbles in writing, design, and photography. Spends an embarrassing amount of time on the internet, thinking too much about pop culture.