How To Be an Interior Designer in Malaysia
Want to decorate living spaces and interiors as a career? You need a licence! Learn the steps to be a professional interior designer in Malaysia including education, licensing with Lembaga Arkitek Malaysia and the work experience required.
Updated 08 Feb 2023
Did you know that you need to be registered with the Board of Architects Malaysia (LAM) to work as an interior designer in Malaysia? And that practising as an interior designer without a licence can lead to you being charged under the Architect Act 1967?
That’s right — being an interior designer isn’t just about picking great looking furniture and choosing pretty colours for the living room. Interior designers must also be familiar with building legislations, fire guidelines and regulations set by local authorities.
If you want to work as a professional interior designer after graduation, make sure to follow these steps.
Step #1. Meet the minimum entry requirements for SPM
In order to be able to pursue interior design in college, you must pass SPM or IGCSE with the minimum entry requirements.
The grades required will depend on which pathway you opt for:
- Pre-University (e.g. A Level, Australian Matriculation): Minimum of 5Cs
- Foundation in Arts / Foundation in Science / Foundation in Built Environment: Minimum of 5Cs
- Diploma in Interior Design: Minimum of 3Cs
Some institutions may require a pass in an Art subject. If you do not meet this requirement, you might be asked to go through a portfolio review or a drawing test. Other institutions may also require a pass in Mathematics.
Different institutions have different requirements so be sure to check carefully.
Step #2. Finish a pre-university, foundation or diploma programme
To pursue a Degree in Interior Design, you must finish either a pre-university, foundation or diploma programme. Both Foundation in Arts and Foundation in Science are accepted for this pathway, as well as Foundation in Built Environment.
The minimum requirements you must have to pursue a Degree in Interior Design is as follows:
- A Level: Minimum of 2Es; or
- STPM: Minimum of 2Cs with minimum CGPA of 2.00; or
- Foundation in Arts or Foundation in Science: Minimum CGPA of 2.00; or
- Relevant Diploma: Minimum CGPA of 2.00
In many cases, you will also be required to pass a portfolio assessment interview and/or a drawing test as part of your application for a Degree in Interior Design.
Step #3. Complete a recognised interior design degree programme
In case you didn’t know, interior design is a regulated field in Malaysia. This means that your degree programme must be recognised by the appropriate body in order for you to be able to practise as a professional interior designer in Malaysia.
Therefore, it is highly advisable that you choose an interior design programme that is recognised by the Lembaga Arkitek Malaysia (LAM).
If your programme is not accredited by LAM, don’t worry! You can still qualify by taking the Interior Design Qualifying Assessment (IDQA).
Step #4. Register as a Graduate Interior Designer and gain 2 years of work experience
Upon graduating with a recognised Degree in Interior Design, you will be eligible to register as a Graduate Interior Designer with LAM.
Thereafter, the next step is to become a LAM-registered Interior Designer so that you can work as an interior design professional. To do so, you must gain 2 years of practical work experience. At least 1 year of this experience must be in Malaysia in an Interior Designer or Architect’s office that is registered with LAM.
After that, you must then sit for the Interior Design Licensure Examination (IDLE). The exam involves submitting a practical experience log book, an interview assessment and a written examination.
Step #5. Register as an Interior Designer
Once you’ve passed your IDLE, you will be able to register with LAM as an Interior Designer.
It is at this point where you will be able to hold the title as “Interior Designer” and provide interior design consultancy services.
In summary, to be able to call yourself an “Interior Designer”, you will need to complete a Degree in Interior Design or Degree in Interior Architecture (usually 3.5 – 4 years), gain at least 2 years of practical work experience and pass the Interior Design Licensure Examination.