Another side of ... Liyana Fizi

Interior design is Liyana's cup of tea. - Photo by Faisal Hashim

HER charming, assured performances light up both local and international stages.

Best known for a trademark simplicity in her heartfelt melodies, the former Estrella frontwoman and rhythm guitarist has carved her own path as a solo singer-songwriter since 2009 and released an album, Between The Lines.

While Liyana’s music takes her to far-flung locales like China and the UK, the warbler finds a special joy in having a beautiful home to return to.

In between zipping around town for music festival meetings and keeping up a busy schedule this Ramadan, Liyana entertained an e-mail interview about her little known love for all things interior décor.

Q: What sparked your interest in interior décor?

For as long as I can remember, I've always had an interest in decorating. Whether it’s moving my furniture around, painting or repainting my walls, refurbishing my furniture, or finding photographs and assorted knick knacks to adorn my surroundings, I love beautifying my personal space. This is simply because my private environment affects me, and it can influence my mood and day.

Q: Describe your perfect home space. What makes a place beautiful to you?

For me, the perfect space to call home would have familiar clean scents, quirky furnishings and decorations, big fluffy cushions, lots of windows and light, and cosy spots and corners.

It would give me a sense of belonging the moment I step inside. It would reflect me, my life, and all that I love to do.

Q: Where do you find your inspirations for this highly visual field?

Apart from just doing what looks nice to my eyes and what feels right, I get a lot of inspirations online. I browse through numerous websites that are very much to my liking, such as,, and

I also follow Instagram accounts such as @FVONF (glimpses into unique living and work spaces), @pilirockstar (gorgeous and quirky ideas for homes and decorations) and @INDUSTRYDECO (a compilation of inspiring interior décor from Sweden).

Q: With your love for DIY projects, are you a hands-on person in everyday life?

I do consider myself a hands-on person. If I’m engrossed in something, I don’t mind getting all sweaty, getting my hands dirty, or my hair paint-splattered. That’s part of the fun!

In fact, I plan to take up carpentry. I haven’t started it yet, but I want to learn, so I’m still gathering information on the subject.

Liyana Fizi. - Photo by Nadirah Zakariya
Liyana Fizi - Photo by Nadirah Zakariya

Q: Have you refurbished any furniture?

In my childhood, I had a basic white bookshelf. When I was 16, I took it from the storage in the backyard. It was old and peeling. At the time, I was painting my room magenta and orange (I have no idea why), so I used the leftovers to paint patterns on the poor old shelf! Of course, I had my mum’s permission. 

I also turned my grandmother’s old dressing table into a writing table. It was from the 70s and made of rotan. It was green at first, so I sprayed it all white to match my wardrobe. To give it a slightly rusted effect, I didn’t spray it too neatly. I felt very happy with giving it a fresh coat of colour - white makes everything on the table look great, whether it be books, flowers, stationery, or your laptop.

Q: We've heard of Antonio Ballatore, Samantha Pynn, and other high-profile decorators. Do you have any favourites? Does one need a certain income or lifestyle to have a beautiful home?

No, I haven’t got any favourites. To me, a person doesn’t necessarily have to be a high profile decorator to have a good eye for it. If you're creative in working with what you have, and there is a desire to make your space pleasing and beautiful, I think anyone could do it despite their level of income.

One friend of mine who lives in a studio apartment has a DIY bed: his mattress goes on top of wooden crates. Another one cut and hung a bed’s besi (metal frame) on the wall to put up his accessories and what not. 

Q: What is your next project in this area of interest?

I want to make a one-of-a-kind lamp! Like a pendant lamp, or a cloud lamp made of cotton.

I also have an ongoing project where I’ve been collecting odds and ends for my place. Because one fine day, when I’m old and grey, my dream is to own a home where I did many things to it.

Like “Oh yes, I put in that doorknob, I found it at the morning market in Ipoh. That mirror? Yeah, I did the cutting up for it. Yes, I built that multiple function desk-drawing-chalkboard table.”

I’ll need to get the skills for it, but I can learn. And my own sayur (vegetable) garden too! With pots and tiny flag labels saying tomatoes, bawang (onion), chili. One day, one day.

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