Contractor vs. Interior Designer: What’s the Difference?

Renovating your home can be stressful. From colour scheme to layout, numerous elements affect how the space is perceived and used. Therefore, finding the right people to work with is crucial—but do you know whether you need an interior designer or a contractor?

Read on to learn about interior designers and renovation contractors and which you should choose.

What Are Interior Designers?

An interior designer coordinates and manages the entire renovation process from start to end.

Through your consultation sessions, they will gain an understanding of your aesthetic preferences and lifestyle needs. They will then develop an appropriate theme and provide design and spatial planning ideas that best balance functionality with aesthetics. Because they are experienced in conceptualising various concepts and are well-versed in the popular design trends in the country, their services are a straightforward way to ensure you have a well-planned space without having to draw up detailed plans yourself.

Interior designers also help pick out essential materials and suitable furniture that optimises the space’s functionality.

Furthermore, interior designers assist with project management and act as the main point of contact, sourcing for and liaising with contractors to work on the renovation plans. 

What Are Renovation Contractors?

Unlike interior designers who provide advice and come up with design concepts, renovation contractors do not create plans. Instead, they take specific instructions from your end and execute the design plan, only stepping in when they believe the structural integrity of your home might be compromised.

Which Should You Choose?

Choosing an interior designer or contractor depends on the scope and complexity of your project.

1. How Much Have You Planned?

If you have a good idea of what needs to be done, opting for a renovation contractor might be better. These contractors may sometimes offer advice, especially concerning structural issues, but will mostly be faithful to your original plans. Therefore, there will be little discussion about the overall concept and how the design will work.

On the other hand, an interior designer is a better choice if you would like a sounding board. Interior designers conceptualise and offer advice regarding what they believe will or will not work. This is not to say that you will lack control over the project: your interior designers will regularly consult with you to ensure that their ideas suit your personality and lifestyle. 

2. How Much Experience Do You Have?

For those with little experience with home renovations, it is best to work with an interior designer. They will draw up design plans that suit your home and provide project management services. Hence, interior designers are the ideal choice for first-time renovators unsure about the process.

Contractors are typically more affordable than interior designers because they provide less comprehensive services. Therefore, they are the better option if you are familiar with successful interior design tips and rules and require little guidance on the project. 

3. How Much Time Do You Have?

If you have a tight deadline, interior designers are the better choice. Because each contractor specialises in different areas, no one contractor has an overview of the entire renovation process. Therefore, there might be hiccups or delays in the timeline.

However, an interior designer who manages the entire project can follow a fixed timeline better.

How Much Time Do You Have?


Though they may appear similar, interior designers and renovation contractors do not do the same job. Their roles and responsibilities differ, with an interior designer providing more comprehensive services than contractors.

If you’re looking to work with an interior design studio, consider Flo Design. We offer landed property, HDB, and condo interior design services.

We look forward to designing a home that reflects who you are and that you can be proud of. Feel free to get in touch with us for a home like no other.