Thinking Of Revamping Your Room Or Home? These M'sian Interior Designers Share Some Tips

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It's easy to have a house, but not easy to make it a home

When it comes to making your space cosy, there are many factors to consider, such as lighting, furniture, storage, etc.

Making your dream space come to life doesn't necessarily require big changes or a lot of money. Sometimes it's all in the little details and that's what turns a house or bedroom into a comfy sanctuary.

If you've been wanting to spruce up your space and don't know where to begin, read on!

We spoke with two local interior designers to ask them for advice on common house problems many Malaysians might face today

Adrien Kent is no stranger to the interior design world. As part of Studio Kanta, he's been involved in designing spaces like COCOdry, Common Ground offices, Stretch & Flow at The Five, Bhūmi Pilates Bangsar, Fern in Bangsar Village II, and plenty of other well-known spots around Malaysia.

Eqienura is an interior designer with 10 years of experience under her belt. Some of her most popular projects have been for renowned developers like Tropicana Corporation Berhad and Guocoland (M) Berhad. 

Eqienura (left) and Adrien Kent (right).

Image via @eqienura (Instagram) / Going Places

SAYS: What are some easy ways to spruce up one's bedroom / home that won't cost me a bomb?

Adrien: Seeing how a bed is the focal point of a bedroom, I'd change the bedding to give it a new look.

Eqienura: There are three elements I always add to a space to enhance the ambience:
– Warm lighting gives comfort and a cosy mood.
– Soft furnishing like a throw blanket and cushions to add texture and patterns to your plain furniture.
– Personal items, such as a big painting or sentimental items.

SAYS: If I live in a small space, what are some tips to make it feel cosy / homey and less suffocating?

Adrien: Clutter is the one thing that suffocates. Ensure that there's sufficient storage and use beautiful storage solutions if they're visible.

Eqienura: Choose your furniture wisely, the size and design matter. A two-seater sofa and an armchair by the nook are enough for a small household. Choose light frame furniture, not bulky and raised from the floor.

Use light curtains or blinds, add a mirror to give more depth and natural light into the space. Don't buy things that you don't use frequently or need in your home just for the sake of 'decorating'.

SAYS: How do I make people gravitate naturally towards a more "put together" space in my home?

Eqienura: Adding some living greenery in a 'dead' corner or nook can add some vibrancy and eye-catching elements in your home.

A fresh flower bouquet as a centrepiece on the dining table or some self-care items, like scented candles and books, at the corner of the sofa where you have a side table — all these items can make the space look more composed and welcoming for guests.

People will naturally feel good when the space looks homey and lively, and also smells good too!

SAYS: If I stay in an old house / room, how can I make it look intentional and not outdated?

Adrien: Timelessness can be achieved by mixing the old and new, but the colour scheme needs to be somewhat neutral, light, and fresh to bring it all together and stay "new".

Eqienura: I love this question. What you can do is preserve some useful furniture or unique items so that the 'soul' of the space will be untouched. Carefully select other complimentary pieces such as modern style seating with some textured light earth-tone upholstery, light half-sheer curtains, and soft furnishing with less patterns. Tone-on-tone patterns is a thing right now, especially light, muted colours. This will help the space look elegant and timeless.

Image for illustration purposes only.

Image via Property Guru

SAYS: If I don't get much daylight / lack windows in my space, how can I make it look brighter and warmer?

Adrien: Use light colours and mirrors to bounce more light.

Eqienura: Common solution for this is, of course, good lighting. Having a normal cool white-coloured light fitting from the ceiling can make your space look flat, especially when there is a lack of natural light.

Use warm tones instead of white lights, and decorative lights (pendant light / floor lamp / table lamp) with adjustable heads to wash some walls. Ceilings with lights also create a more cosy mood as well as reflect more light to illuminate the space. Add a mirror near the window to reflect more natural light into the room.

SAYS: Malaysia can get really dusty. What are your big 'no-nos' when it comes to decorating a space that will attract dust (if any)?

Eqienura: I agree with this, especially for high-rise apartments and houses with lots of openings. This can't be avoided or prevented because people come in and out of the house all the time. What you can do to manage this issue is to avoid using heavy furnishings like blackout curtains or bulky furniture with lots of decorative or intricate details that can hold lots of dust. Also, keep any flat surface from too many small decorative items. More stuff or nooks and crannies = more dust. 

If you have a budget, invest in mechanical blinds for your balcony or terrace. It can filter the dust and can also act as a privacy screen. You can still get natural ventilation coming in through these blinds. Having an air purifier is also quite affordable to keep the air clean and clear from dust and allergens.

SAYS: What are some of your main tips on how to start decluttering?

Adrien: Start with different zones on different days. Have boxes/bags ready for "to keep" and "maybe".

Eqienura: Plan and dedicate a space for storage when you declutter. You either need to keep some stuff or throw them away. If you are renovating your house, integrating storage into some built-ins is the best way to keep some stuff hidden. If you're going minimalist, you need to let go some of the stuff and only keep things that you need. I find this hard for me all the time too, haha!

A good friend of mine once shared some good tips with me. First, let go of one item a day. Give it away if you don't need it or throw it away if it can't be used anymore. Second, if you buy new clothes, make sure to let go of one from your closet. It's hard, but achievable.

SAYS: Other than candles and diffusers, are there any other ways I can make my place smell great / welcoming?

Adrien: Fresh cut flowers and leaves, like eucalyptus.

Eqienura: Fresh flowers like white lilies and roses have quite a strong smell. Put them near the hallways or openings like the main entrance door or window. A few drops of aromatic oil on soft furnishing like curtains and throw cushions also do the trick. Live houseplants keep the air in your home fresh and clean too!

SAYS: Are there any other tips you would like to add?

Adrien: Invest in good art.

Eqienura: When designing or decorating your home, it's important to plan and be mindful. Take some time to envision what kind of space you want to live in and spend your time in after a long day at work or simply to come home to be with your loved ones.

Having a complete set of 3-2-1 sofas or striking colour featured wall and space consuming decorations are not always necessary. Having comfortable furniture that you and your household needs, minimal features, and a functional space are more necessary and give a 'soul' to your home.

And always keep this in mind, 'home' is a feeling, not a 'space'. :)

If you need more home inspiration, check out how these Malaysians revamped their spaces:

On a budget? Here's how you can make your workspace cosier with just RM50:

To get you started, these are some local shops to check out:

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