Hiring an interior designer or home stylist in Singapore does not have to be expensive and there are plenty of options. If you’re renting here and can’t carry out too many interior design changes there are still ways to make a huge difference to the look and feel of your home. Here are some expert tips that will help, from looking at furniture and accessories’ schemes and placement to major renovations. You can get in touch to ask them any questions and get an idea of costs.
Recommended by: Wati and Wilson Loh, Singaporean
We’d recently moved from a condo to our four-bedroom, three-storey landed home and were looking for a team to work on the interior design and styling of the entire home. We needed to find the right team to work with our tight timeline of five weeks, as well as adhere to our budget!
We discovered Arete Culture through social media, and when we initially met, we explained our brief: a bright and light interior with pops of powder pink. After a walkthrough with the team, it was decided that a modern take on a black-and-white home, incorporating pink accents in our daughter’s room and walk-in closet, would work best. We had made it clear we weren’t keen on dark colours, so earthy tones and a neutral grey and white palette were suggested.
Arete Culture worked on our whole home, including the outside spaces. The renovation work was mainly limited to new cabinetry in the kitchen and walk-in closet, as well as a kitchen island and barn door. The team applied wainscotting in the entryway and master bedroom, and they also changed the cabinet fronts in the other rooms.
Caroline, Nirvi and the rest of the team were amazing to work with! My husband and I were truly blessed to have found such a gem. They were not only able to meet our tight timeline, but we were simply amazed by their attention to detail and dedication to the project. Both Caroline and Nirvi were like little fairies transforming our home with their magical hands!
The results have been way beyond our expectations. We could never have imagined living in such a beautiful home. I’ve had bad experiences in the past with contractors and interior designers, but I can truly say that the Arete Culture team, especially Caroline and Nirvi, were a cut above the rest. They were extremely professional, responsive and honest. Unlike many other designers in the market, they had our interest at heart and were always making sure that all our worries and queries were met.
Recommended by: Evangeline Yeong, Singaporean, pictured with daughters Camilla and Eloise
Our home, a four-bedroom penthouse, was in its original state and hadn’t been redone since its completion in 1997. It had ugly brownish marble flooring, dated fittings and other original parts that all needed redoing. The project was a full renovation, and we needed to find a designer to take this on with the ability to work with some of our existing furnishings.
I found out about E&A Interiors through a friend who had also used them. When I saw the work that had been carried out, I was very impressed with the finish and thoughtful little details.
Prior to deciding on using E&A ourselves, we also did some research and viewed several interior designers’ portfolios. However, they were all pretty similar and generic, with that modern, zen or Scandinavian look and feel; no one agency stood out. Our favourite magazine is Architectural Digest and we wanted someone who would be able to translate that classic yet relaxed look into reality; and we felt Chlöe was the one.
Our brief to Chlöe was for a Californian luxury beach home aesthetic. Working with Chlöe and the team was an absolute pleasure! She made every aspect of the renovation quite easy and seamless. She has great taste, and we were able to leave most of the design decisions to her. Chlöe is also supported by an amazing team – shout out to Gishan in particular; but they were all very prompt and responsive. They also provide great customer after-care, which is very important to us.
Recommended by: Eric Teow, Singaporean
I bought my HDB property in its bare state from a previous owner. One of the big and necessary changes was the kitchen as it was very old and dark. My friend from Sync Interior recommended Felicia at Gallery 278 to me as they have collaborated on quite a few past interior projects together. I love many aspects of what they’ve done together, so I decided to engage them jointly for my bachelor’s pad too!
I wanted a smart-casual interior with a touch of Scandinavian feel – clean lines yet cosy. Light wood is a favourite of mine, along with hints of greys and blues, and a soft lighting effect. And I also love nature, so I wanted to “bring the outside in”.
The team recommended a new kitchen, and they took down the wall dividing the living room and dining area, which had made the space very small. I also entrusted them to suggest a good selection of easy-to-maintain plants for my new home.
Both teams from Gallery 278 and Sync Interior put their thoughts together seamlessly. We met on a dozen occasions to fine-tune some details on the overall design concept and material selections. It was done in a very professional and systematic manner. It was definitely a very pleasant journey and experience working with them. Their design approach is very human-centric and I totally subscribe to the biophilic design Felicia initiated.
My advice to others is to try to stay within your desired budget for your home renovation project. Working closely with your designer and main contractor team can avoid unnecessary variations to the main contract.
Also, be prepared to allocate better quality materials and cut back on loose furniture if you have a budget to stick to; it’s easier to change furniture. I’m very pleased that all the built-in carpentry, materials, appliances and sanitary wares were carefully selected for my project. Don’t be penny wise but pound foolish!
Recommended by: Rupali and Prashant Pradhan, Indian
We had relocated to Singapore and were moving into an unfurnished family condo. As part of our relocation package, we were provided with the names of a small selection of furniture and interior design companies. We were thorough in our research and ensured we visited and evaluated them; ultimately, we chose to work with WTP, to help us plan the interior layout and design of our new home.
We wanted an understated and cosy family setting, so we went through the design of each room and space individually, including the children’s room and living area. We then selected a combination of both WTP-sourced and third-party furniture to finalise.
Katherine Sanchez from WTP was really great to work with. She handled our requirements end to end and was with us every step of the way. This included times when we needed to substitute or change things; she supported us through the entire workflow very smoothly and helped expedite everything.
We definitely made a good choice to go with WTP. They are clearly quite experienced in this space and very professional. It allowed us to settle in very quickly and comfortably.
This article first appeared in the November 2021 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!
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