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Interview with Interior Designer Mia Leong from Archiwu Interior

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About Mia

I’ve been in this profession for 8 years. After graduating, I worked in Malaysia for about 3 years, focusing more on designing and building, before coming to Singapore, transitioning to residential projects. Before taking on a sales position, I was a drafter for around a year. The experience so far is enjoyable, and the obstacles that surfaced are manageable, and I get to keep learning as well.

What inspired you to become an interior designer?

I was curious on how a house can be transformed into a beautiful living space, and the thought processes behind the aesthetics of interior designing. That's why I decided to study and take on this path.

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What is the key principle that you follow during your projects?

Aesthetic and functionality. The limitations of space itself, for example in condominium units. Most homeowners like to buy or keep many personal items, or bring over existing furniture to their new homes. As interior designers, we have to educate them to give and take, and see how quantity can affect or match alongside quality, depending on the homeowners’ requirement. As much as it needs to look good, the space has to work to their needs as well.

Do you prefer to work with large or small spaces?

I enjoy working with both big and small spaces. Everybody has their own preferences and lifestyle, every homeowner has their own perspective on what their ideal home should look like. Whatever the size is of the house, we have to adapt and work accordingly.

Which room in a house is your favourite to design?

My favourite room to design is the living room. I like to think of the living room as the first impression of the house, and it’s a common area as well, so I do enjoy playing around with designing living rooms, how to make it pop out and give people like visitors the wow factor when they step into the house.

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Favourite design style?

Modern. More towards a hotel-look, dark colour scheme, cozy style.

How do you think loose furniture affects the essence of space?

Loose furniture is very important. Homeowners have to be very mindful when shopping for loose furniture, because what they get can affect the overall look with the fixed furniture differently. I’m more particular on curtains, on the colour selection and how lighting affects it. The curtains can be more flexible design wise, but the colour shouldn’t be too outstanding. Other accessories like throw pillows help to accentuate the overall colour scheme too, if done correctly. This is when we as interior designers can step in to help too, in selecting the loose furniture.

When looking at ceiling fans or similar appliances, is functionality or aesthetics more important?

Again, both aesthetics and functionality work hand in hand, so they’re both equally as important. Most of the time, homeowners would be willing to spend more on the ceiling fan that’s located in the living room, as compared to the ones in their personal rooms where it might not be as costly. That's what I would advise them to do too, because it comes back to the living room being the first impression of the house.

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What are some examples of an interior designer going the extra mile for their homeowners?

Before homeowners proceed to shop for their furniture, we will get them to tell us what kind of furniture they’d want, which we will then render a 3D model of their house and the furniture, to help them better visualize how it’s going to look, and then we can also advise them on what kind of furniture will match their space.

What are some moments whereby your homeowner has done something for you that was very memorable?

A project that I’ve done previously was on a condominium unit, and what the owner did was they offered me an extra access card so that I could use the gym or other facilities at any time, which I thought was very nice of them to do. Most of my clients will be like friends as well, keeping in contact even after the project is completed, as well as inviting me to their house warming parties.

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How do you spend your time during breaks?

I really do enjoy travelling. A place which I’ve visited and found very inspiring was Norway, with its scandy, minimalist, simple design style.

Any advice for fresh or aspiring interior designers?

Many people have asked me if they should try being an interior designer. The thing is, you would have to be prepared to spend a lot of time studying, to put in a lot of effort in your work, because interior designing is not as easy as what you see in the end result. The time management that is required during the process, the people that you have to report to, all these can’t be seen in the final look of the house, yet are important in the stages that lead to the materialisation of the design concept.

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What tips would you give to homeowners?

Research is key. Any ideas that you have, any furniture that you’d like to implement in your house design, it would be beneficial to do some research on these factors. Choosing your interior designer is important too, you have to choose the one that you think has the professionalism, the expertise/knowledge, and one that you think you’ll have a good relationship with too.

What is the future you have planned for yourself?

I plan to keep on working and learning, hoping that there will be more people knowing about Archiwu Interior. Not only do we want to give you what you desire for your house, but also help you along your journey with our designs.


Mia Leong (Interior Designer)

Archiwu Interior

366A Tanjong Katong Rd

Singapore 437124

Tel: +65 6928 5946

Email: hello@archiwuinterior.com