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Interior Design: Moving Into A New Year

By: Fendarie Su

Industry Insight

There have been tremendous changes to the political and economic landscape here in Malaysia, and this, in turn, has sparked an aura of uncertainty amongst investors in the property sector. The property market is currently facing a slowdown, and the impact has bled into the interior design (ID) industry as well.

Changes in the Malaysian economy have altered consumer behaviour when it comes to interior design. Clients are much more conservative concerning home planning, design direction and implications.

There is a higher demand in sourcing for affordable materials, recycled items and integrating eco-sustainability concepts. We are seeing a push toward flexible space, convertible dwellings, movable walls and multi-purpose built-ins, which is great for homes with small

Designs nowadays also focus more on smart, flexible, multi-purpose furnishings that are small in scale but has a wide range of functionality. These concepts are the most sensible choice when it comes to budgetary options because they are practical for our day to day use
while still remain relatively economical as well.

2019 Outlook

With more millennials and young people looking to deck out their homes, I expect Boho style home decoration to come back. This look is popular with Airbnb homes and short-term rentals, especially ones that target foreign tourists. The light, luxury, offset layered look may
just make its way back into future designs.

The two primary colours that I can foresee being popular are warm yellow and bottle green. Yellow, for its positive, confident, enthusiastic and young vibe, and green, which offers a harmonious, natural look to your room. I don’t see matte black losing its popularity, and both
yellow and green work extremely well with matte black, especially with high-shine finishes and elements.

Mix and matching metallic elements will not be out of style in 2019, and it will continue to be the material of choice when it comes to adding personality and flavour to other materials. For instance, gold, matte gold and bright gold pair really well with raw natural finishes that are
warm in colour.

If there is one major change I can predict happening this year, it is the rise in incorporating living plants into home designs. Concrete walls lined with live wall plants and patterned leaves in unexpected places are slowly gaining traction, and you can already see these
designs being incorporated in niche cafes and bistros.

I think it is good that people are slowly gaining an appreciation for natural and organic design solutions that enhance the sensations in a room while remaining compatible with multiple furniture compositions. More and more design elements are incorporating recycled or reused materials, which does not just help the environment, but also saves you a pretty penny as well.

There will be a push for blending nature concepts and the ecosystem directly into our homes. The challenge is to meet the high artistic standards both from homeowners and the designers themselves, while still having the nature aspect function in harmony with other elements.

Finally, the most apparent way to express luxury and wealth is still integrating metallic elements in furniture, notably soft seating arrangements such as sofas and armchairs.

It is worth taking a look at the newest and latest materials right now in the market. There is a composite material consisting of terrazzo, quartz and marble. This material takes on leftover materials like marble or resin and recomposes it through unique, innovative ways to form
pattern tiles that add a lot of character to a room.


I believe that this is a very exciting time for up and coming interior designers, despite the challenges in the market. We now have the tools and resources to plan out well-designed concepts, and the freedom to experiment with different styles from different inspiration sources.

Clients nowadays are much more open-minded, and there are aspirations for artistic, luxurious and stylish expressions in the market.
The trends I have stated above are just a general guideline for DIY property owners. At the end of the day, it is still best to consult a professional interior designer to find the best way to construct a living space that suits your respective needs. It may actually save you more money in the long run due to effective designs and better material sourcing.

I look forward to what is in store for our industry in 2019, and I hope that readers are able to return home to a comfortable, well-designed space that not only reflects their character but turns a house into a true home.

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