Interior Design Tips

Sustainable interiors, flexible family living, and Interior Design Masters with Lynsey Ford

Lynsey Ford on a grey modular sofa

Bold prints, luxurious accessories, and imaginative details – just a few of the things we loved most about Lynsey Ford’s room designs on Interior Design Masters. As the latest series came to a close earlier this year, the 2021 winner of the hit BBC One competitive show invites us inside her latest labour of love to talk about her time on the show, sustainable interior design, upcycling, and exciting upcoming projects that will see the former architect back on our TV screens. We’re already reaching for popcorn…

“Interior Design Masters was a fantastic experience, it was really hard work and exhausting but I loved all of it, it felt like such a luxury to be able to spend so much time designing, sourcing and installing so many schemes in back to back for so many lovely clients and exciting projects. My style is always evolving with every experience, new client, people I meet, places I travel.  I’m always learning and trying to apply the things I have learnt to the next project.” Showing us around her recently renovated home, Lynsey tells us the best tips she learnt from the show when it comes to interior design:

“The biggest tips I took from the show were around having confidence to trust your instinct.  Also, to really commit to a project and make sure everything in the space has a place and is there for a reason, to consider all the areas in a space and make sure they all tie together.  For me also I learnt not to throw too much at a space, pick one strong idea and work with that, it’s easy to try do too much.”

Inspired by space and function, Lynsey’s detached bungalow has been the perfect opportunity to bring to life her creative visions and play with sustainable interior solutions to keep up with the unpredictability of home life. “Sustainability is so so important to me, the idea of quick fashion in interiors and furniture going to landfill upsets me.  When I’m working on a new space I always think about the longevity of the scheme.  There are finite resources and energy and I believe we need to build this into all our purchases, buying pieces than can last and are sustainably sourced.”

Redesigning the spare bedroom into a cosy and relaxing snug, Lynsey’s key focus was to ensure the space was adaptable to their family needs.

The brief: flexibility

The solution: Cohen

“I chose the Cohen as I loved the fact it is modular, we tend to change around the spaces in our home regularly and the fact that I can easily change the layout of the sofa depending on the use of the space really interested me and we have already changed the space a few times, for instance if we have guests staying over I have made it into a sofa bed, or if I was playing with my daughter in there I moved it around to create a square she could walk around holding on to.

“I really like the shape of the Cohen, it is one continuous piece that is easy to keep clean and the curves soften the space.”

Sofas are significant purchases and often only fit in a room in a certain location I am so happy that we found this design which we can move around the room easily allowing the space to be used in different ways – the use of the room now isn’t tied to the location of the sofa!

“I am also really interested in the sofa frame having a lifetime guarantee I love recovering furniture to give it a new lease of life.  I don’t like the idea of quick fashion in interiors and the idea of furniture going to land fill, I’m hoping we will have this sofa in different configurations and fabrics for a very long time.”

When it comes to fabric, it’s all about how it makes you feel for Lynsey. “For my own home I’m inspired by our experiences our life, places I’ve visited and nature.  I love natural textures, rich colours and fabrics which make spaces feel inviting.”

Upholstering her sofa in Peacock plush tweed boucle, Lynsey’s choice of fabric is similarly motivated by its possibilities to adapt long term: “I love the Peacock fabric it has a mix of greens and blues in it which would allow it to work with different colours in the space if we decide to redecorate or use the sofa in a different space in the future.”

Of course, Lynsey’s signature style wouldn’t be complete without upcycling! From a young age, the Yorkshire-based designer was drawn to the idea of making and repurposing furniture. “I’ve always loved design and creating spaces people like to spend time in, I’ve also always been aware of how a room or space makes me feel.” 

“Aged 10, I first convinced my mum to let me pick all the decoration for my bedroom and just loved decorating and making the room my space (I think glitter sprayed on the wall was involved?!?).  I’ve also always loved making furniture, I really enjoyed art at school but couldn’t find desks big enough to do my work so dragged my dad to the local timber merchants to buy the materials so we could make a bigger one ourselves. 

“Doing that at a young age made me aware that it was possible to make furniture myself and I didn’t have to stick to what I could find in the shops, and I’ve been designing and making bits of furniture ever since.  When helping others with their home or business design I’m so inspired by giving them a space that really works for them and improves the function/ experience in the space.  I get so much joy from seeing people enjoying a space I’ve designed and from hearing feedback on how the space works.”

Lynsey’s top tips for upcycling

  1. Find a shape that you’re drawn to
  2. Check how well made the piece is
  3. Keep in mind where it will go

“When it comes to repurposing and upcycling furniture for me it’s about finding pieces with a shape or details that you really like.  When I’m walking through a second-hand shop I’m always drawn to certain items, quality is a big part of it to me, so many second-hand antique pieces are so well made using beautiful materials. 

“My tips are, find pieces that you are naturally drawn to the shape of, check how well made they are and have an idea of where they will go – I have so many pieces in storage waiting for the right space because I fell in love with them but didn’t measure them before I bought them.”

Sharing snaps of her project with Another Place on her Instagram, the show’s highly coveted prize being a design contract with the lifestyle hotel situated in the Lake District, Lynsey’s stunning combination of old and new, bold and elegant is beautifully showcased from the curves of the burnt orange sofa to the second-hand wooden pieces.

And as to what the future holds… “I’m working on lots of exciting projects at the moment but also back filming with the BBC on an exciting project which is totally different, lots of fun.  I’m so enjoying have such a variety of work at the moment.  I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to be part of ‘Interior Design Masters’ and all the opportunities that has led to.”