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3 Things We Wish Our Clients Knew Before Renovation

Updated: Jul 22, 2021

There are definitely more than 3 things we wished our clients knew before they start any renovation works with us. But let's at least start somewhere basic yet important not to skip.

To offer some background information about our company. Kate Deng and Ken Lee are the creative brains behind Mr Shopper Studio. We're a company that specialize in not only design consultation, home renovations and also interior decoration and styling. Most of the portfolios you've seen thus far are 95% fully furnished by us before handing over to client.

We are particularly good at creating luxurious modern interiors in HDB flats, Condominiums and more and more Landed projects (some conservation houses in Singapore too, pending photoshoot at point of writing).

Ok, after all the background story. Let's jump right into the key points we have to share!

No. 1

Don’t get overly excited and engage your interior designer too early or too late, and then have an unreasonable timeline. Three to four months is a good lead time to have. Don’t get too enthusiastic and look up one the moment you are successful in your ballot.“A Build-To-Order (BTO) flat takes 2 to 3 years to complete which is a long time, and your lifestyle needs and design preferences might change over time,” Kate advise.

Then there are homeowners who do the opposite: “There’s a handful of last-minute homeowners who have collected their keys, but have no time to pay a visit to the interior designer or even their own home,” the team explains.

You need 1 to 2 months to visit different interior design firms and compare quotations & services, although we wished no one does such comparisons, but because you compare then you'll actually get to appreciate what unique services we're offering that is able to cater to your needs better.

Once you decide on a firm, the design stage generally takes 3-5 weeks and that includes confirming all the details like carpentry design, elevation plans, furniture list, lighting plan, electrical plan and other nitty-gritty details like wall paint plan and curtain plan etc etc.

After key collection, set aside generally 2-3 weeks for defect inspections and clearance. If you have complimentary cement screeding from HDB, that might take longer especially during year end and before CNY period in Singapore.

Most renovation works will take 6-8 weeks to complete. Of cos, it'll be longer if there are works that requires URA approval or involves LTA etc; eg: converting a roof terrace to a bedroom, such works could take up to months for submissions to be approved before actual work to commence.

Quick Summary:

2-3months before Key Collection Look for 2-3 ID Firms to do Comparison on Services & Pricing.

3-5weeks before Key Collection Design Conceptualization and Confirmation

2-3 weeks upon Key Collection Defects Inspection & Clearance; Forms Submission etc. Upon Clearance Renovation Work to Commence for 6-8 weeks


Engage the right professional for the job. It could be a contractor, interior designer or interior stylist – know the difference. We have to admit that Interior Designers are “not all-knowing and experts in everything”. There will always be some skills and techniques in a renovation that seem related to the interior design, but they actually are outside their job scope or expertise. “In particular, not many interior designers are keen to take on small, minor work like building a two-door wardrobe or installing a toilet bowl – which might be better suited to a contractor or handyman,” explains Ken. “Also, some interior designers might not have the expertise to carry out specialist work like building a mezzanine or loft.” If your project is a landed property, you need to make sure that your interior designer is able to work on Additions and Alterations works (A&A) for landed structures; this is particularly important if there are major reconstruction or engineering work that needs to be done. You will need to work with an architect or structural engineer for these types of jobs.

In order to solve these issues, it’s worth working with an ID firm like us who has a group of specialists whom work with us on a regular basis to ensure smoother workflow. These are the One-Stop Professional Services we're able to offer: Design Consultation - Space Planning, 3D Perspectives, 2D Drawings, Elevation Plan, Electrical, Plan, Lighting Plan, Colour Matching Renovation Works - Highly sought-after experienced Carpenters, Certified Electricians, Certified Plumbers, experienced Painters, Metal Workers, Tilers etc.

Furniture Procurement - This is rather unique in our trade. We not only help you to match your furniture design and colour, also your other interior accessories like dining wares, sanitary set, bedsheets, throw cushions etc. We even SOURCE & PROCURE for you to save you time from shopping around. But having that said, of cos if you would like to shop the physical shops, it's possible too. The main purpose is to save you the hassle from spending travelling hours and buy and receive the goods yourself.

A&A Works; PE Endorsement - We have our sub-team who specializes in these works, so converting a roof terrace into a room is possible, hacking some walls, building a loft or installation solar panels etc.


Furniture and accessories are very important so set aside a budget for them. We cannot emphasize enough how important is it to set aside a budget for soft furnishings. They're just as essentially important to complete the theme. Even being in a minimalist theme, you will need curtains or blinds in the house. "These items seem small, but can do wonders for your home,”

We suggest that you have a professional like us to create a budget plan for furniture and soft furnishings as these are the finishing touches that will make the design all come together.

“We’ve had many instances where our clients overspent on customizing a TV console or a master bedroom bedhead feature when buying a ready-made ones would have given them the budget for a sofa that fits their interior theme better. The reason we're here is not just to help you to save money, but money well-spent in the right place.” Kate explains. Another big ticket item that many don’t consider in the budget is lighting and electrical so don’t get caught out. Many home owners consider them as "hidden cost" but they're not actually hidden, just that most ID Firms do not take the responsibility in these works so it's not their duty to highlight these cost to you.

Excerpt from Niki Bruce | Houzz Contributor

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