Q&A with Lucy Tiffney; Finalist in The Great Interior Design Challenge 2016

We’re avid followers of The Great Interior Design Challenge and what better way to prepare for the grand final than reading our interview with one of this year’s finalists, Lucy Tiffney. Originally from Essex, Lucy is accomplished in her field; a graduate in textiles, with numerous commissions and exhibitions for persona’s such as of Ruby Wax and Felicity Green Hill. Alongside this, Lucy also lectures at her local art school and is also a mum of two!

Tonight’s final takes place at a grand stately home in Sussex and airs at 7pm on BBC2.

TC: How are you feeling about the Great Interior Design Challenge final tonight? 

LT: I am feeling incredibly nervous and very excited about the final of The Great Interior Design Challenge, it has been the best experience of my life, (apart from my children) and one that I will remember for a very long time!

Of course I know who the winner is……..but that would be telling!

A charming design for a coastal village in round 4

A charming design for a coastal village in round 4

When and why did you decide to apply for the show?

It all happened very fast! I applied for the show at the very last minute, having seen a post on twitter on the final day for applications, I completed my entry and submitted this at 9pm! The following morning, I got a call to say that I had to submit a moodboard for a sample interior…. and then about a week later I was auditioned at my home for the show…. I was petrified! The following week, I got another call to say that I had been selected out of 4000 people… I was ecstatic!

What would you say is your distinctive style, and have you got any inspirations which influence this?

I am an instinctive designer with a unique and vibrant interior style. In terms of colour, I am continually inspired by the world around me. Artist Henri Matisse is a personal favourite of mine alongisde the likes of William Scott, Sonia Delaunay, Paul Gauguin, Terry Frost and Peter Blake, to name a few. They are all huge influences and inevitably inspired many of my projects. 

A modern country hunting lodge from round 5

A modern country hunting lodge from round 5


A “Futuristic Chill Pad” from round 1

We’re all about colour, so this question is a must… what was your favourite colour/colour scheme from the show?

My favourite colour scheme of GIDC, was the one used for the room I designed in Robertsbridge in Sussex for Round 3 of the competition. The brief was “A traditional Swedish Country Style Bedroom”. To create the scheme I used a muted palette of soft blues to create a backdrop to hand painted ‘Rosemaling’ in pops of rusty red and deep greys. Although I usually use much brighter colours, I loved the challenge of using a softer, restricted and sophisticated palette.


Lucy’s palette for round 3 of the GIDC


The moodboard Lucy created for round 3

Did you have any particular challenge on the show that you enjoyed the most and were any of the projects more of a challenge?

I think I can honestly say I that I enjoyed the challenge of each and every one of the projects on the show. I think that’s because they were all so different and I love to have a versatile and instinctive approach. I really responded to the buzz  and  fast pace of TV too, because I think it suited my personality and even though it was exhausting at times and the tears have flowed a lot, I loved every minute. In retrospect there are some elements that I would do differently, maybe the stuffed doggy heads, but I really try to put a happy element in my schemes. Real life is serious enough! I think the upcycle challenges were most of the designers ‘worst nightmare’ and always a massive curve ball. That said, I did secretly enjoy an element of them, even if the outcomes were a bit dubious.

A coffee table designed in round 5

A coffee table designed in round 5

Do you have any tips to anyone who may be keen to apply to go on the show?

I would say to anyone thinking of applying for the show… just go for it! You’ve obviously got to have an eye for design and colour as well as have bags of creative energy, a plethora of practical skills and a quick thinking head, but I can guarantee it will be one of the best things you ever do! 

What direction do you see the interior trends taking this year? Any tips for anyone looking to decorate a room or their home?

In terms of future trends, I think people are going to covert the ‘handmade’. Colours, Interiors and objects that have timeless longevity are going to be really popular. People are exhausted with ‘the throw away’. I love the idea of contrasting beautifully made pieces and hand finished details alongside high street, more affordable products.

Some of Lucy's interiors ideas

Some of Lucy’s interiors ideas

Where did your love for colour come from? 

Colour has always been my main passion and has affected the way I feel or respond to something. For as long as I can remember I have  used it in all aspects of my life! I guess it started for real when I studied textiles in Manchester, (where I gained a First) As students we spent hours mixing and remixing gouache paint to get exactly the correct shade! The rugs are something I started designing and making as a way of combining colour and textiles. I love the richness and density of colour combinations that can be achieved with the rugs and in particular designing them with clients and their own very specific colour stories.


Textiles are a big hobby of Lucy’s as pictured in this piece she designed

What does life after the GIDC look like for you? Do you have any big plans or projects in the pipe-line?  

I am so excited about the future. The GIDC has given me the opportunity to go for what I believe in, even if sometimes that can be a bit bonkers. The show has taught me so many things about myself and given me huge confidence in my ability. I want to continue as an interior designer, meeting new and lovely clients who I can work with and help realise their dreams. I know now more than ever that I am a ‘people’ person and that seeing people with the scheme I have created is a thrill. I am also looking forward to launching a new range of homeware products which have a very ‘Lucy Tiffney’ feel to them, so that is very exciting too. Watch this space!

I also want to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you to all the people employed by  Studio Lambert, who helped me each and every step of the way…….I think you know who you are!! 

Lucy is a big colour lover, and loves painting murials

Lucy is a big colour lover, and loves painting murials

You can follow Lucy on TwitterFacebook & Instagram


The Chromologist


The Chromologist is a colour whisperer. He understands and knows them better than they know themselves, translating their pleas to be used beautifully for humankind. It's unknown from whence he came. Some say the fraction of space between a prism and a spectrum, others say he toiled in the fabled colour mines of Svalbard for years untold, deep underground, speaking only to the reds and blues, cerises and aquas, bronze and golds...

The Chromologist 2019 | Farrow & Ball

The Chromologist