How to Choose Interior Designer in Malaysia


An interior designer can help you redesign any space in your home, assist with renovations, or work with your builders and architects to create a custom home that fits your lifestyle and design aesthetic. From expert advice to implementation, interior designers provide a wide range of services.

You can find an interior designer to achieve any style and meet any budget; most are able to work with a variety of design trends and styles. In this post, we offer some methods to find the right method for you.

The difference between an interior designer and an interior decorator basically has to do with the scope of work and specialization.

Differences between Interior Designers and Interior Decorators

  • Interior decorators provide aesthetic relief for a fully built space. If you don’t have structural work, a decorator can help you define style, make choices like wallpaper, paint, and furniture, choose lighting fixtures and accessories, or choose window treatments.
  • Interior designers can provide decorating assistance AND structural design expertise. In addition to the capabilities listed above, interior designers also specialize in providing design guidance during the architectural design phase of your residence, during construction, and beyond. They are often skilled at working directly with you, your builder and architect to make design choices that ensure the aesthetics you want are carried throughout the home.

Interior designers use creative and technical solutions to create functional and attractive spaces that fit your style and benefit your quality of life. When developing a design plan, interior designers often include compliance with local codes and regulatory requirements while incorporating environmental sustainability. Their design fits the bones and shell of your new residence or the shell of an existing residence under renovation.


The differences between interior designers and decorators also include their schooling and beliefs.


  • Interior designers study colour and fabric, computer -aided design, drawing, space planning, architecture, and furniture design. Some states require them to pass an exam and register with the governing body to train as interior designers. They may have a degree in interior design and often practice with an experienced designer before starting their own business. Often they are certified by Lembaga Pembangunan Industri Pembinaan Malaysia (CIDB) dan Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia (SSM).
  • Interior decorators are not required to have a degree, certificate, or formal training, especially since they do not play a role in structural planning. They only focus on the appearance of the space. Interior decorators may follow a course that focuses on colours, fabrics, etc., but not so much as designers. Certification includes Certified Interior Decorators International.

In short, interior designers often decorate, but interior decorators have no role in making structural design choices.


Interior designers are very important for home construction projects or major renovations. There are hundreds of decisions to be made, which can be very stressful without someone who truly understands your vision to provide design guidance AND address the process in a systematic and orderly manner.

The best time to add an interior designer to your builder / architect team is during the architectural design phase. Before your plans and specifications are complete, be sure to review them by your developer and interior designer. Ideally, you will bring your developer and interior designer to one or more of your design meetings with the architect. Collaboration is guaranteed to create the best version of your future home. Your builder will be able to drive residential design in terms of functionality, budget considerations and construction. Your interior designer will combine elements, large and small, that will enhance the responsibility and aesthetics of your home design. Bringing together all the members of your dream team will also give you a way of how everyone communicates and collaborates with each other. This is very valuable information for the journey ahead.

You can find interior designers for any size budget or project. Interior designers have a variety of fee and payment structures, so you can determine what you are most comfortable with for your project. Even if your budget is tight, you can still get a few hours of consultation or help to get materials or accents at an affordable price.


Choosing an Interior Designer for Your Project

Your first step in choosing an interior designer is to identify your style and inspiration. You must know what you want, how much you budget, and how much time you want to spend on your project. If you don’t have a firm idea of ​​the type of design you like, get inspired for functionality and style that suits you and your family.

  • Consult magazines or websites. Take a look at the design and when you find a design that interests you, save the photo then write down the name of the credited interior designer.
  • Visit a model house or designer house exhibition in your area. If you like what you see, ask for the name of the interior designer.
  • Examine the portfolios of your builders and architects and ask them to consult an interior designer.
  • If a friend or family member has a home with a great look that you like, ask for the name of the interior designer who is responsible for arranging it.
  • Find interior designers through professional organizations such as Lembaga Pembangunan Industri Pembinaan Malaysia (CIDB) dan Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia (SSM).

Before meeting your interior design candidate, you definitely want to understand your personal style or the colours and designs that appeal to you. The best way to convey it is with the inspirational pictures you have collected. With your list of interior designer candidates, rate each of their portfolios online to see their range of work and make sure the design aesthetic matches the theme of your inspirational photos. You may also want to check the credentials and certification of their website.

Once you’ve narrowed your list down to 2-3 finalists, schedule a face-to-face meeting with each. During this meeting, you want to confirm that you like their aesthetic and also feel how they approach their project, strive to understand your vision, stay organized, and how they know and connect with the many vendors in your area.


Work with your Interior Designer

First and foremost, follow your budget. Some designers will not take on small projects or budgets. It’s often best for designers to know how much you can spend before starting a design plan. Ask your design firm about its fee structure. There may be a fixed fee for the entire project, an hourly rate, or additional costs. (An added cost is when the designer adds an addition to a material purchased at a discounted price and then keeps that amount as part of the payment.)


On large projects, designers may offer a combined fee structure. Make sure you understand how it works so there are no surprises. A large number of designers ask for a retainer before starting work. Whatever the structure, you want to make sure you are comfortable with it.


Now is the time to complete the communication. If you pay an hourly rate but want to consult with the designer regularly, you may be charged a higher fee. Find out how much customer engagement the designer likes and get ready to make decisions and trust the creative process. After all, you chose this designer because you were inspired by his work.


Ask how the designer prefers to communicate and schedule an appointment, and make sure it’s right for you as well. Find out how firms typically like to present their designs. Regular binders? Design board? Computer model or presentation? You want to feel comfortable with this method of presentation. You also want to make sure you are able to communicate your opinions and opinions openly with your designer. It’s important that they listen carefully and ask in-depth questions to really be at the core of the vision you have for your home.

Tell your designer if you have specific furniture items or materials that you would like to incorporate into your design. Also, be careful and consider the designer’s recommendations. If you understand WHY a particular colour or material is chosen, you will probably like the idea. Try not to evaluate one design proposal yourself, but instead evaluate the entire design of the space in it. Interior designers have a unique ability to visualize any colour, product, or material in the overall context of the design. As long as you can trust that your interior designer understands and applies your vision, you can also trust each other’s choices.

Questions to Ask When Interviewing a Designer

  • What design services are offered? Not every designer provides the same services. Examples of services include design consulting, site measurement and evaluation, design concepts, project management, space planning, and purchasing or procurement.
  • How do you decide which project is right for your company?
  • Who will work on my project? Some companies take a team approach, others will assign a single team member for your project.
  • How much customer engagement do you welcome?
  • How do you and your team stay organized?
  • How do you typically communicate and collaborate with builders and architects?
  • Where did you get your inspiration? What elements define your style?
  • What is the hardest thing for you to plan a house for?
  • How did you deal with mistakes on previous projects?
  • How do you prioritize your client’s budget throughout the project?

When interviewing your final candidate, don’t forget to ask for a referral. Ideally, you want to talk to past customers, current customers, and past or current developer partners.

What to Ask References

  • How do you like working with this interior designer?
  • What would you say about its advantages and disadvantages?
  • Do you feel heard and understood throughout this process?
  • How do interior designers prioritize your budget?
  • Are your questions answered quickly and thoroughly?
  • Are there any unforeseen problems and, if so, how are they handled?
  • Did your project turn out as you expected?

Learning from other people’s experiences is one of the best methods to find out if a candidate is the right interior designer for you.

Choosing the right interior designer is a personal and influential decision like choosing your builder and architect. Building the right team from the start will ensure your future home is everything you hoped for and more.


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