Decorator Nicola collects eye-catching prize thanks to Dulux Academy

Decorator Nicola Lewis is now an award-winning designer after seeing her wallpaper creation turned into exclusive Graham & Brown rolls.

Nicola, owner of Mrs Lewis’ Decorating Company in Matlock, is the third winner of the prestigious Dulux Academy Design and Decorate Challenge to mark International Wallpaper Week.

In October 2019, Nicola was crowned the winner after impressing the judges with her unique craftsmanship, eye for design, plus expert wallpapering skills.

Her spectacular ‘eye-catching’ design included the clever use of eyes of friends, relatives and fellow decorators across the UK to create a wallpaper pattern that represented the watchful eyes of people on social media.

To celebrate her achievement, Nicola has now seen her design turned into six bespoke rolls of paper at the Graham & Brown factory in Blackburn, Lancashire.

The rolls were presented to Nicola by Graham & Brown Director Lisa Mitchell in February, following a money-can’t-buy tour behind the scenes at the factory, which included an exclusive look at new designs that are currently in production.

Runner up, Karen Julien, joined Nicola on her factory tour, after striking up a friendship during the competition.

Nicola said: “Winning this award has helped to cement my young business within the professional decorating industry. I launched Mrs Lewis’ Decorating Company three years ago, and as a busy mum too, I have worked extremely hard to offer a high quality and customer centred decorating service. So for my wallpapering skills to be recognised by Dulux Academy has been a fantastic reward and a major achievement.

“It’s such a great feeling to see your design come to life, printed and all packaged up! I’ve not yet decided where to hang it but I will keep it safe under my bed until I do!

“The Graham & Brown tour was such a great experience and I was really impressed with their responsible manufacturing process, minimal waste and environmental sustainability. I’d like to say a huge thank you to Dulux Academy and Graham & Brown for this unique experience.”

Mark Rigby, Skills Development Consultant at Dulux Academy and Head Judge of the Design and Decorate Challenge, said: “We created this competition to celebrate the amazing talents of the skilled and accomplished professionals in our industry. The eye for design and craftsmanship on show has impressed us every year and this time was no exception.

“Nicola beat off stiff competition not only with her simple and effective design, but particularly her practical skills at the application stage, which would have been a tough test for any decorator.

“It makes us really proud to see her hard work paying off as she can now call herself an award winning decorator!”

The Dulux Academy Design and Decorate Challenge celebrates International Wallpaper Week. To take part, entrants were asked to design their very own wallpaper – complete with a short description explaining the inspiration, and functionality, behind their concept – before the shortlisted finalists practical wallpaper application skills were put to the test in a live final at the Dulux Academy.

Dulux Academy has also launched a series of free online training workshops to continue support the painting and decorating trade despite the challenges of Covid-19.

For more information, visit:


Using Spot Drops to Decorate a Kitchen

Professional decorator Richard Irons tells us why Using Spot Drops to decorate a kitchen makes life a lot easier for all involved.

Best Wallpapering Tools on the Market

Decorator Mike Gregory gives you what he thinks are the best wallpapering tools on the market, You can use it as a guide on what tools you need.

Dulux or Johnstone’s Paint, which is Better?

Professional decorator Mike Gregory considers which is the better paint brand to use, Dulux or Johnstone’s. Take this as an honest guide.

Best Place to buy Trade Paint – online and in store

Professional decorator Mike Gregory explains where he thinks is the Best Place to buy Trade Paint, including online suppliers and trade shops.

Dulux Academy Wall Mural Course Review

Steve Hunt askes professionals on the Decorators Forum for views on the Dulux Academy Wall Mural Course. He got some great feedback

Maximum Durability on Painted Handrails

Professional decorator Wesley Knight explains the process he took to achieve maximum durability on painted handrails. Good lad Wes

Problems With Osmo Oil Customer Service

As professional decorator Michael Price weighs up an exterior decorating job, he has a major problem with Osmo Oil’s customer service department

Tikkurila Intact Satinwood Review – waterbased satin

Tikkurila Intact Waterbased Satinwood Paint Review By Wesley Knight   After reading a lot on the Decorators Forum about Tikkurilla products, I decided to try their new waterbased satin and give my thoughts. This is my Tikkurila Intact satinwood review. You can...

Selling A Mirka Leros Pole Sander

Selling A Mirka Leros Pole Sander Joe ElwickI can't believe how difficult it has been to sell an almost brand new Mirka Leros pole sander!! I bought two before Christmas, probably around September October time. Then I realised that one was enough, so I decided to sell...

Andura Titanium one Satinwood Review

Andura Titanium one Satinwood Review By Adam Featherstone  This is my Andura Titanium One Satinwood review, As a big mythic black label user of old, I'm always on the lookout for a paint like mythic was, ie two coat self priming system, I think I may of found...

Decorator Nicola collects eye-catching prize