How much do I need to hire an interior designer in Malaysia

How much do I need to hire an interior designer in Malaysia?

Planning on reinventing the look of your home? Then what you need is a talented interior designer!

Fortunately, there are tons of talented interior designers here in Malaysia that can help turn your vision into reality. However, with this massive talent comes an equally immense price, which many people may not be ready for–that’s where we come in.

To help you prepare the budget you’ll need to hire an interior designer, here’s everything you need to know about their costs. Furthermore, we’ve also listed the factors involved that make up the price of their fees to give you an idea of what you’re paying for.

What does an interior designer do?

What does an interior designer do
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The main role of interior designers is to provide clients with a plan that can make the most out of their space. By carefully picking which materials to use and items to decorate the space, they will make the client’s home comfortable, safe and pleasing.

To give you a more in-depth understanding of what these professionals do and why you should hire them, here are their key responsibilities:

Assessing the client’s space

Assessing the client’s space
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Interior designers will meet up with you, more specifically in the space that they will work on. This way, they’ll get an idea of what you want to achieve with your allotted space.

During the meetup, you can advise the interior designer on what you want in terms of look, functionality, comfortability etc. Their job in this step is to listen and take notes from your vision so that they can turn it into reality.

You can also discuss the budget while you’re at it. This way, the interior designer doesn’t mistakenly go over the budget while sourcing materials and creating the overall floor plan itself.

Proposing the layout

Proposing the layout
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Finding out what to do with a bare space during the turnover period is one of the toughest things to do on your own. Thankfully, you can leave this task to your interior designer, as it’s a huge part of their responsibility.

After meeting up with the client, the interior designer will carefully curate the floor plan according to everything that was discussed between both parties. This plan will often come in the form of a digitized version, which uses computer-aided design (CAD) software.

Every detail will be shown in this initial layout to help you visualise the outcome of the project, including the measurements. From there you can approve or make changes to the placement of each piece of furniture, which finishes to use and so on.

Furthermore, this layout won’t only show the aesthetic side of what would become the finished product. It will also show proper spacing to ensure that the pieces of furniture are well spaced out for maximum comfortability and functionality.

Creating a timeline

Creating a timeline
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It’s also the interior designer’s job to get the gears moving, so creating a timeline for the project is a huge part of their responsibilities. This timeline is always detailed, as it contains all the dates of when a specific task should be done.

Sourcing materials and finishes

Sourcing materials and finishes
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It’s also the interior designer’s task to source the materials and finishes that will be used to decorate your room. Based on what you’ve agreed upon during your discussion, they’ll find the materials that will both look good and are within your budget.

Consulting with specialists

Consulting with specialists
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Interior designers should also be your representative when connecting with other specialists that will work on your house. These specialists include the supplier of the materials for your space, engineers, contractors etc.

By consulting with these experts, interior designers can make the best decisions for your new home. Of course, everything should be run by you so that you’ll stay updated with all the important details.

How much do interior designers cost in Malaysia?

How much do interior designers cost in Malaysia
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The cost of interior designers in Malaysia will depend on the scope of work in the project. For instance, if they’re only required to design the place and not supervise the entire process, they’ll charge around RM4,000 to RM10,000.

However, not all interior designers charge their services the same way. Here’s a more detailed breakdown to help give you an idea of what you can expect:

Per Square Feet

Per Square Feet
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One of the most common ways an interior designer charges their clients is per square foot. This of course depends on the area of the house, but they’ll typically charge anywhere between RM6 to RM10 per sqft for the design alone.

If you’re going to include everything from carpentry to floor and ceiling, wardrobes and other products, you can expect to go over RM110. Furthermore, we recommend asking the designer which inclusions come with their per square feet cost so that you’ll know what you’re getting.

Percentage of the Overall Cost

Percentage of the Overall Cost
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Sometimes, the interior designer will compute the overall cost to finish the project and finalise the percentage of their cost from there. Depending on the project and the designer, this percentage can vary anywhere between 6%-15%.

Markup Products

Markup Products
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Interior designers can also get paid by marking up products that you purchase for your space such as sofas, tables, lights, etc. Let’s say you’ve bought a new accent chair that costs RM1,500 to add to your living room.

The interior designer can shoot this price up to RM1,700 and charge it to the project to get paid for their services.

Lump Sum

Lump Sum
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A straightforward way of computing an interior designer’s cost is through a lump sum. This basically leaves the decision to the designers themselves on how much they want to charge for their services on your project.

Usually, this sort of acts like a commission for their services. Sometimes, it can also be a combination of two or more categories we’ve mentioned above.

Additional Charges

  • Site visit: The normal site visits that interior designs are required to do on the project are already included in the overall cost. However, if they’re asked to come to the site outside of the agreed number of visits.
  • Iteration charges: In every project, changes are bound to happen. However, several requests to change the original plan will cost you extra, especially if these changes are drastic.
  • Supervision: If you want the interior designer to be present every step of the way, they will also charge extra. It’s hard to determine the cost of this, however, as they charge based on the total project cost.

Factors Involved in the Costing

Factors Involved in the Costing
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To help you understand how interior designers come up with the prices they charge, here are the common factors that influence their costing:

Size of the Room

Size of the Room
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Size is a huge factor when determining the cost of an interior designer’s fee. To put it simply, larger spaces are more expensive to design because they need more resources and take longer to finish compared to smaller rooms.

Materials and Finishes

Materials and Finishes
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The finishes and materials that will be used to create your walls, floorings, furniture and more will also influence the designer’s fee. It’s up to your budget and overall vision for the space to choose whether you want to use premium or budget-friendly options.

Let’s say you’re finalising the finish for your living room wall. Would you choose to save more money and just paint over them or splurge a bit and use wallpapers that have textured finishes?

This factor is the reason why we also recommend telling your interior designer your allotted budget for your space beforehand. Doing this lets them pick out the finishes and materials that won’t only look good but will also cater to how much you can afford.

Designer’s Experience

Designer’s Experience
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The cost of an interior designer’s services can also depend on their experience. Those that have more years under their belt tend to charge more compared to those who are new to the field and for good reasons.

Tenured interior designers cost more but they’ll give you better value for your money because of their experience. This experience will translate to the quality that you’ll be getting once you trust them with your space.

Meanwhile, newcomers tend to cost less, simply because of their lack of experience. However, we’re not writing them out of the conversation since everybody has to start somewhere.

Who knows? Maybe you’ll be one of the first clients that will witness their talent, just be sure to learn everything you can about them before working together.

At the end of the day, it all boils down to your personal preference. Do you want someone who’s tenured enough or are you willing to give the newcomers a chance?

Project’s Location

Project’s Location
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It may not seem like it at first, but the location of the project actually adds to the total cost of the interior designer’s services. Projects that are located in high-cost areas such as Kuala Lumpur City Centre may cost higher compared to those places with a lower cost of living.

When in doubt, always ask your designer about their rates based on your location. This way, you’ll get an immediate idea of how much you’ll be spending on materials and labour based on the area of your project.

Design Complexity

Design Complexity
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The complexity of your desired design is also a key factor in influencing the total cost of your interior designer’s services. In a nutshell, the more complex the design is, the more expensive it will be because it will take more time and use more resources.

Furthermore, the price can shoot higher if you’re going to use customized designs for your furniture and decorations.

Timeline

Timeline
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The allocated time for the interior designer to finish the project can also be a reason to inflate their services. If you’re on a tight deadline and you want your space to be finished ASAP, then you should expect to pay extra since rushed projects always cost more.

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