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EPISODE 1: SHOW HOMES • Interior Design Masters, BBC2 & Netflix

How I turned a white box into a beautiful space with depth, a story and a soul

The first challenge on Interior Design Masters was to design the master bedroom in a luxury show home in Newcastle. I had just two days and a very modest budget of £1500 to achieve my transformation. The head judge was Michelle Ogundehin and the guest judge this week was one of my idols, fashion, lifestyle and interior designer Matthew Williamson, known for his use of bold and dramatic colour.

Judge Matthew Williamson said, "Super accomplished. Nicki made some great sophisticated, super chic choices." "Lovely subtle clever use of materials," and "I can that see that modernist, pared back, almost minimalist style."

THE FINISHED ROOM (scroll down to see the before)


WHAT HAPPENED We met our teams on the first day of filming in the London studio. I was with Jim, Jerome, Terian and Cassie. The plot twist was that we had already separately designed our rooms and sourced most of the items ready for the transformation. Suddenly we had to create a cohesive look for the entire house. We had only just met each other and each of us had very different styles. However, as we discovered, there were many similarities between our designs. For example, many of us chose to use pink, many used darker tones. I used both. The result? Our house was much bolder and braver than anyone anticipated, which I found exciting and inspiring: everything a show home should be.

interior design masters, episode 1 show homes
From left-to-right: Ju @blueberryliving, Kyle @kyle_broughton_frew89-, Trish @outshine_interiors, Frank @franknewbold, Verity @rascalandroses, Jim @jimbidd, Nicki (me!) @andthentheywentwild, Jerome @jeromegardenerhome, Cassie @dighaushizzle and Terian @teriantilston_interiordesign



We were told: “The developers expect a high standard and an impeccable finish, and whilst they are not tied to any particular design style they will be expecting a room that has been superbly styled. With soft furnishings, objects and artwork thoughtfully curated and placed."

The developer’s clientele expect rooms that are:



Sumptuous & luxurious


Comfortable & composed



I adore dark bedrooms. They are sensual, intimate, glamorous and contemporary. My aim was to create a uniquely inspiring and aspirational retreat to tempt the modern house-hunter. This was more than a room. This was a lifestyle.

interior design masters nicki bamford bowes
COLOURS & PAINT • I chose dark tones to add depth to the room to create a luxurious and sophisticated, cocooning and intimate adult space. I played with colours and paint to change shape, balance and proportions by painting the ceiling in pink to elevate the small room and colour blocked a section down the wall to break up the proportions. The dusky pink paint added femininity and complemented the moody tones.

interior designmasters nicki bamford bowes
I wanted to add interest to the room, not just with objects but by adding texture in the form of bespoke panelling and luxury textiles such as velvet and linen in the window dressing and soft furnishings. I created simple framed perforated boards for the panelling, sympathetic to the modern feel of the home – rather than fancy ornate mouldings. The tall rectangular panels gave height and grandeur to the room. The panelling also allowed me to add atmospheric, low-level lighting to the walls as they hid all the cables without the need for building work or plastering.


interior design masters nicki bamford bowes
STYLING • Asian-inspired styling gave the room a sense of luxury and escape. A golden hand-crafted room divider and kimono used as a wall hanging added colour and print. The pale pink of velvety faux-cherry blossom popped against the dark walls.


I love designing unique hand-made items for the rooms I decorate. This project was no exception!

Handcrafted bespoke items add a touch of luxury. I designed the asian inspired image of flowers and birds on the computer in Adobe Illustrator. I then printed it out on to OHP paper and projected it (proper old school style) onto the screen divider I had made – and then hand painted the image onto the centre gold panel with acrylic paint.

I wanted to create a focal point as you walked into the room. I also wanted to see all the detail on the other side of the room. A mirror is the perfect way to do both of those things. I used a round mirror from @umbra_design – but it wasn’t enough on its own. I really wanted to scale it up, and also echo some of the textures that I had incorporated into the panelling. I used beautiful open weave cane to create a backdrop for the mirror to sit on – and hung it centre stage. I repeated the mirror shape by placing round lights next to it to create a vignette.


Detailed visual aids help the client focus on the final design vision in a way no words ever can. I love communicating ideas and creating a story in the way I do so. This is a very time-consuming element of my preparation, but I consider it essential.


Paint colours: Farrow and Ball Off Black & Valspar Petal Grove

Kimono: New Look

Wall Lights: Find similar at here

Rug: H&M, find similar here

Rattan chair: Find similar here

Pendant Lights: Discount Home lighting here

Round Mirror: Umbra, here

Woven cane: Seating Weaving Supplies here

Linen throw on bed: Find similar at here

Vase: here



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