Always wanted a designer piece but could never afford one? Joy Design Studio stays abreast of trends – particularly Scandinavian designs – to deliver modern furniture at a slightly affordable price. Founder Sheikh Azrul and team source their products directly from the original manufacturers based in China and Indonesia, eliminating the middle person altogether. Also find home accessories like rugs and pillows (their fabric is mostly sourced from India), but if you have a blank space to work with, Joy Design Studio also provides free interior design consultation for homes, cafés and offices. They also have a second showroom in Bangsar.
Kedai Bikin – Studio Bikin’s series of Malaysianmade furniture – now has its own showroom; it previously shared a space with DR.Inc and Nala Designs. The keyword is ‘Malaysian-made’. Adela Askandar and Farah Azizan champion local designs, even going so far as to engage local artisans, craftsmen and makers to ensure they benefit directly from these commissions. Also, furniture and fittings are made from mostly Malaysian material – such as rattan strings, steel and even salvaged timber balusters from old shoplots in Penang. Some of the pieces are more modern, like the marble side tables and the Ms Gray steel armchair, but others are contemporary remakes of classic ’50s and ’60s Malaysian furniture, such as the Grandaddy Lounger and the Merdeka chairs (pictured). From concrete taps and Tiang Lilin candle stands, to its newly-launched Bikin Batik line which offers cushion covers, table runners and upholstery fabric, Kedai Bikin is a homegrown, home decor heaven.
If you’re after creative concept homeware, look no further. Amily Yap and JK Yang (of JayKay Design Studio) packs plenty of artistic punch into their cupboards, chairs and all that jazz, proving that furniture can both perform a practical function while providing an aesthetic, visual value. It’s an eclectic, exciting mix of midcentury items with modern leanings – though on our visit, we also spotted cabinets with oriental flourishes. Other key pieces include a bright yellow canopy-like metal frame, natural driftwood sculptures, and Kai’s polygon side table, which, in essence, is two pyramids stacked on top of each other. There are things to suit more traditional tastes as well, such as throw pillows, coffee tables and pendant lights.
A powerhouse synonymous with revolutionary products, furniture supplier KARE – also available in over 40 countries around the world – doesn’t conform to run-of-the-mill designs. A majority of what’s in store exudes a ‘wow’ factor, be it the LED wall lights, cushions with money bill prints, or decorative items like the wildlife posters, a panther figurine in chrome and a 3D picture of Marilyn Monroe by Belgian artist Ben Heine. Carrying at least 200 brands under their belt, KARE also sets the trend with pieces like Studio Divani’s Sofa Grandezza, combining both comfort and design that makes it the ultimate lazy sofa at home.
Recro gives new life to furniture – they recreate, restore and revive carefully curated, one-of-a-kind vintage items. In a previous life, Recro was Second Charm, which began as a thrift store with trade-in pieces before custom orders, production and personalised services began taking off. Today, Recro is run by Aisha Shaharuddin; her Singaporean mother founded Second Charm and now manages the outlet in Singapore.
At Recro, one will find Danish designs and ’60s-inspired mid-century retro furniture as well as a series of chic, industrial work and home accents such as grills and lamps. The pieces are handcrafted, limited and unique; form and functionality meet in colour, details and materials that are locally- and regionally-sourced and -made. Teak is the theme of the day; most of the furniture feature exquisite, hard-to-find Indonesian teak wood, along with brass caps, handcrafted handles and pencil legs. The aesthetic, too, screams attention to detail, clean lines and fine techniques.
1. Crimson retro sofa chair (left), RM3,250
2. Canary retro genuine leather sofa chair (right), RM3,250
This Bangsar outpost has everything for your beds, dens and beyond. At Commune, the furniture and all its furnishings are styled room-specific – much like IKEA’s showrooms – so you’d be tempted to sit on the sofas, sleep on the beds, and shop the entirety of the set. Wood pieces make up most of Commune’s catalogue – think oak, rubberwood and walnut, all cut, melded and sanded into chairs, dresser drawers and writing desks in mostly mid-century and modern minimalist styles. Here’s an extra talking point: The solid wood is sourced from sustainably managed forests in Europe, the US and Southeast Asia. It’s not cheap, but it’ll make your house a home.
The Basket Shop is as good as its name – aptly, it peddles baskets, boxes, hampers, trays and other basket-related products, especially those of the hand-woven variety. That’s not all though. The space also has a small selection of furniture such as bamboo blinds, chest boxes, wooden lamps, and chairs and stools for RM80. It’s well worth the visit for its nostalgic, Malaysiana home decor items, gifts and toys – like gasing and wayang kulit puppets. Come for the curios: think batik photo frames, bird cages, bamboo bowls, paper lanterns and silk and straw bags.
With strategic use of mood lighting, the gallery-like Neiviv is a sleek and minimalist furnishings store that stocks a range of indoor and outdoor furniture from all over the world. An edited roster of designers such as the award-winning Paphop Wongpanich and Orathai from Thailand, Alex Wang and Hou Huan from China, Kek Heung from Malaysia and more is on display here.
To stock up on stylish chairs and coffee tables, Timeless is where you should go. This tiny shop on Jalan Putra is actually a three-storey space stuffed full of furniture with a Scandinavian vibe. If you’ve always wanted that perfect marble table as a kitchen centrepiece, head to the other Timeless Design outlet in Sungai Buloh for customisable marble table tops made from Italian, Turkish or Chinese marble.
Japanese furniture maker Coreo Hida-Takayama specialises in well-crafted wooden furniture for the living space, such as customisable dining tables, chairs and even ladder shelves and home accessories using solid timber (for example, sakura, ash and black walnut) from Japan and North America. Coreo is noted for its traditional techniques of wood bending and joinery, which is a method of joining wood without using nails for a stronger and more durable finish. For the environmentally conscious, a manufacturer’s certificate of origin can be provided upon request.
Featuring modern aesthetics of oak, teak, sleek steel and recycled metal, the sustainable handcrafted furniture from Thin & Bold translates to contemporary vibes to your home. The online furniture brand has a physical store at Bangsar Shopping Centre but visits are by appointment only.
For designer furniture
At Danish brand BoConcept, comfort and functionality matter as much as design. From extendable dining tables by Karim Rashid to beds with hidden storage compartments by Morten Georgsen, your dream home will be complete in no time.
Apart from brands such as light and lamp maker Artemide, Japanese furniture maker Stellar Works and Marimekko for quirky household items, Gudang also stocks a range of their in-house design pieces that uses solid timber.
Known for their teakwood furniture, homegrown brand Linds also imports a wide range of designer pieces, lighting, rugs, fabrics and outdoor fittings.
This furnishings store adjacent to Publika carries a range of simple Scandinavian designs – minimalist floor lamps from Danish brand Muuto, gorgeous brass kitchenware from ferm LIVING, classic Thonet bentwood chairs, and more.
Singapore store Xtra is where one should go to score some swanky Fritz Hansen sofas, handmade rocking horses from Meier, outdoor furniture from Dedon, and the Contessa ergonomically engineered chairs from Okamura.
More stores to check out
Arcadia is a plethora of decorative, offbeat knick-knacks and statement pieces with staying power. One will covet the old school and the quirky, with items from arcade tables to cabinets and tiffins to typewriters.
‘A collection of happy things’ ranging from home accents to kitschy finds to unique designer goods. We want everything: globes, glass displays, suitcases, terrariums, vintage Indian enamelware and world maps.
Art, coffee and furniture made of, yes, wood and steel. Everything in the café is available for sale, from coffee tables to cabinets and shelves to stools.
Get more home makeover tips
Thinking about sprucing up your home? Our guide shows you how you can do just that with KL’s best furniture shops, top artisanal carpenters and even secondhand furniture stores for the thrifty decorator.