• Sense & Semblance

5 Pitfalls to Avoid When Engaging an Interior Designer

There are many benefits to hiring an interior designer (ID) that we already know about. If you want to know more, you can check out our article here where we discuss some of the reasons why people choose to engage one to manage their home renovation project.


There are many ID firms in the market, offering homeowners a ton of options to choose from. Choosing the right ID could result in a wonderful collaborative experience for homeowners. However, the journey to finding “the one” can be rather perilous, filled with pitfalls and costly lessons for the unwary. Hence, we have compiled a list of things you can look out for to reduce, or even better, eliminate these risks so your next renovation journey can be a smooth-sailing one.

Mistake #1: Know who exactly oversees your renovation project

Typically, IDs are project managers who take care of your entire renovation project from ideation to execution. They are also the ones overseeing the nitty-gritty details and conducting on-site visits to make sure everything is properly in place.


However, some companies may hire dedicated salespeople to attend to clients, but they may not be the ID in charge of your project. What this mean is that the person you meet during the initial discussion phase may not be the one handling your renovation process after all.


To set things straight, ask your ID directly whether if he or she will also be your project manager who is responsible for managing and supervising your project.


Mistake #2: Unbelievably cheap renovation packages

Affordable, simple, fuss-free… sounds just like the perfect plan? Avoid jumping headfirst into a renovation package just because it falls below your budget by a huge margin.


Examine if the materials used are on the cheap end. Most often, you get what you pay for. Better materials tend to cost more and on the flip side, subpar quality materials are usually a lot cheaper – which is why some renovation packages can be priced so “attractively”. However, using subpar materials would also mean they are a lot less durable and may not even withstand basic wear and tear. As a result, you may have to shell out even more for repairs and maintenance.


Also, spend some time reading the fine prints before putting your signature on it. Make sure you know what is and what is not included in the stated package fee. You don’t want to get a rude shock afterwards only to find out that certain renovation works are not included, and that you have to top up to get them done. All these hidden costs can add up to a substantial amount and that’s when you’ll realize the renovation package isn’t as affordable as it seemed.


Mistake #3: Timelines that sound too good to be true

Everyone desires an efficient and swift renovation process because that means that you’ll be able to move into your dream home sooner. Hence, some IDs may overpromise when it comes to completion deadlines or handover dates. However, this can lead to unwanted delays, causing disruption to you and your family members.


It is crucial that your ID commits to the stipulated timeline by ensuring that all project milestones are timely met so as to avoid delays in the handover date. This can cause a lot of inconvenience especially if you’re renting a temporary accommodation during the renovation period. It may also put you in a situation where you have to move back into a home that is still undergoing renovation. Just think of the times when you were annoyed by the drilling or hammering noises coming from your neighbors’ unit but this time round, it’s from yours.


So, what can you do to avoid such a situation? Do your own research to get a basic understanding of how long renovation works typically take so you can ascertain whether the timeline given was realistic or simply too good to be true. Question your ID and make sure they have sufficient manpower and resources to fulfill their promises.

Mistake #4: Poor communicators

It’s important to engage an ID that really gets you. When you share the same vision, most likely you will be on the same page. Having a good rapport with your ID will definitely help in the process and make it more effortless.


Before going ahead with your choice of ID, pay attention and observe if they are usually responsive. This is one essential criterion you should look out for as it might be a tell-tale sign of how responsive they will be especially after the start of the project. You wouldn’t want your ID to be uncontactable and it can be extremely frustrating when that happens. Of course, as humans, we may sometimes be too busy to attend to messages instantly. An occasional delay in response is generally acceptable but when it happens too frequently… that’s something you have to beware of.


If you have decided on your ID, it would be good to agree upon certain things before the start of renovation. Inform your ID your preferred communication channel (i.e., SMS, calls, or other platforms like WhatsApp or Telegram etc.) and establish appropriate timeframes for responses.

Mistake #5: Inadequate background checks

Some IDs are capable of showcasing themselves well and may sound exceptional during the interview. However, this may not be an accurate representation of how well they actually get the job done. Doing your due diligence and conducting a thorough research is extremely important as it can help you shortlist well-qualified IDs and filter out those who are had obvious issues and/or lack relevant experience.


Read up on reviews on their social media pages, forums, or on popular renovation-related platforms like Qanvast to get an idea of what to expect. Even better, speak to their past clients if you have the opportunity to - they are the best source of honest information about how a particular ID really works.



Nobody wants to learn things the hard way. These pitfalls and mistakes can easily be avoided and make your home renovation experience with interior designers a seamless and pleasant one.