One of the most common questions we’d received from homeowners – should I hire an interior designer for my home renovation?

Should you really? Is it worth paying for an interior designer and is it really necessary to hire one for your home renovation projects? What are the pros and cons and why not just find a contractor to get the work done? What are the differences between a contractor and an interior designer anyway?

Interior designers provide you with design recommendations, 3D drawings, budget planning and more.

In this post, we answer all these questions and furthermore, share with you some important tips on hiring an interior designer and everything you need to know beforehand. 

Let’s get into it. 

Do you really need an interior designer?

To understand whether or not you need to hire an interior designer, we must first understand the roles between an interior designer and a contractor. 

Interior designers are responsible for coordinating and managing your home renovation projects. They will be providing you with design recommendations, 3D drawings, budget planning and more. 

Interior designers will also function as liaison between you and the contractors. Basically they handle everything for you from end-to-end planning. 

Contractors on the other hand, focus on executing the renovation works as requested by the homeowners. They are more specialized and usually only execute on very specific renovation works. 

For instance, you might hire a contractor to work on your flooring lamination, another for your kitchen backsplash installation and another contractor for your bathroom renovation works.  

Interior designers handle everything for you from end-to-end planning.

Now that you know the difference between them, you can begin to see how significant the role of an interior designer is. Without him/her, you’ll need to figure out your home design on your own, find the proper contractors, plan your budget and more. 

On top of that, you’ll also need to find the right suppliers to supply for your home improvement goods. And lastly, who will be there to make sure your renovation timeline is on track with your move-in date? 

Who should you hire – contractors or interior designers? 

At HOMA2u, we always recommend homeowners to hire a contractor if they are working on small renovation projects such as revamping of the bathroom tiles, installation of new Moroccan tiles and more. 

For large scale home renovation projects, it will definitely worth your buck to hire an interior designer to assist you on your end-to-end planning. 

For large scale home renovation projects, hire an interior designer to assist you on your end-to-end planning.

An interior designer will cover all the grounds and you only need to provide your design style input and the budget requirements. The rest will be handled by them (of course only after you approve of their expert recommendations).  

Pros and cons of hiring an interior designer

Since this post is purely focusing on interior designers, let’s dive a little deeper and look into the pros and cons of hiring one for your home makeover. 


  1. Saves time & energy. As mentioned earlier, you don’t need to worry too much when working with an interior designer. He/she will be handling almost everything from measurement to styling to sourcing and more. All you need to do is by providing some design input and making sure you have a clear budget in mind. 
  2. Access to product discount & more. This is an extra perk when you work with industry veterans. Why? Because they have been in the business for years and most probably already have long-term suppliers or contractors that they usually work with. Apart from receiving exclusive discounts, such relationships will also add on to their efficiency in delivering and executing your home renovation works.
  3. Save money in the long run. Not having to start from scratch means that you do not need to waste money on unnecessary (and sometimes costly) design mistakes. Interior designers will know his/her way into helping you manage your renovation budget. Coupling their expertise plus the time you saved, we say this is definitely worth the money you pay! 
Hiring an interior designer helps yourself to save a lot of time and effort get your ideal renovation done.


  1. Expensive. While earlier we mentioned how you are actually saving money in the long run but in reality, the upfront costs might be too much for some homeowners to begin with. And that’s totally understandable. But, what is the cost of hiring an interior designer in Malaysia? We’ll share more about this in the next section. 
  2. Unable to add a personal touch. If you’re a hands-on person, then you might feel uncomfortable handing over all the work to your designer. Plus, the final outcome might feel less personal as most major decisions are being made by your designers. In some cases, homeowners may even feel the designers are limiting their style and design. 

There you go – the pros and cons of hiring an interior designer. 

At HOMA2u, we provided planning support for various small and large scale renovation projects all over Malaysia. While this can help a lot in terms of saving costs, we’d always recommend homeowners to go with an interior designer if they do not have any budget constraints. 

Before hiring an interior designer… (things you must know)

Before you start hiring a designer, we always recommend homeowners to consider a few pointers first.

  1. Knowing your budget

Hiring an interior designer with a tight budget is absolutely possible. We even see homeowners saving a hefty amount when proper budget planning is being done. So, don’t be discouraged by the upfront cost when hiring a designer but instead start managing your expectations properly now.

And you can do that by setting up a home renovation budget

  1. Setting a timeline for your home renovation project

The renovation timeline you set will also affect the overall cost of the project. 

So, be reasonable and understand that rushing a project while emphasizing on quality will definitely squeeze a little more from your original budget. 

While every project is different, a typical home renovation timeline will take around 9 to 15 months.

  1. Figure out your home interior style 

Every homeowner has different needs and different sense of style. And it is always better to get prepared earlier so you can effectively communicate what sort of design or style you like for your home. 

Only from there, the interior designers will know whether or not they can cater to your home renovation needs. 

If you walk into the room without a clue about what you like, then it will be hard for you to gauge the ability of the designer and whether he/she is the right fit for your project. So, start gathering some design inspirations now. 

Protip: We always ask homeowners to request for the designer’s portfolio. You may even discover some design gems from the designer too. 

How much does hiring an interior designer usually cost in Malaysia?

The cost of hiring an interior designer varies according to his/her expertise and experience in the industry.

The pricing will also be affected by the scope of the project and the quality of the furniture and home improvement goods. If you choose mid to top-tier quality goods, do expect the overall cost to be slightly higher. 

Remember, the more complex the design (more detailed works are required) the higher the craftsmanship is needed in order to complete the project. 

So, how much should you spend on an interior designer? In general, an interior designer will usually charge a service fee of 9% to 12% of the total renovation costs.

Protip: Always ask for a few quotations from a few interior designers and compare the price. You can even go further by asking for their references, credentials and past project portfolios. 

Is it worth paying for an interior designer?

It definitely is! When hiring an interior designer, you’re not only buying their expertise, but you’re actually helping yourself to save a lot of time and effort.  

At HOMA2u, we’d seen homeowners who decided to DIY themselves but ended up spending more than what they initially planned. 

The complexity and nuances that go into planning for a home renovation project isn’t that easy. And that’s why interior designers are here to help! 

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