Explore the latest projects from the UK’s commercial interiors industry, featuring the best of workspace, hospitality, living and public sectors.

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Things I’ve Learnt: Emma Morley, Trifle*

In our recurring series, we highlight the most valuable lessons learnt from a life in industry.


2 min read

Creative director and founder Emma Morley founded commercial interior design studio Trifle* in 2010 after a career in marketing, event design and production. Frustrated by the fact that only advertising agencies had truly inspiring spaces, she was motivated by a desire to make good design the norm for all office workers. Morley has worked across well over 160 interior projects during her career at the helm of Trifle*. She remains passionate about making amazing spaces but also making the industry more accessible, more human and more diverse. Here, Morley shares her greatest lessons from a life in design.

Striving for perfection may not be so good for the planet.

Prompted by a recent panel discussion I took part in at the Workplace Design Show, I have been considering that we sometimes have to learn to flex and adapt our expectations of projects – the most sustainable route is not generally the most ‘perfect’ and we should be embracing that.

You cannot be all of the things to all of the people all of the time.

I wear many hats across the course of my week at work – for the team, for clients and, of course, at home as a parent and partner. The ‘put your oxygen mask on first’ advice is so true. I discovered this the wrong way when, in 2020, I discovered that I have a long-term health condition (Ménière’s) that is exacerbated by stress. Since then, self-care has had to be taken seriously. I still juggle the hats but always within my ‘safety bumpers,’ i.e. boundaries!

Stay curious.

This is one of our values at Trifle*, as we believe that inspiration is everywhere and insight can be gained from the most unexpected of experiences. We encourage each other to get out to industry events, as well as staying in tune with culture in the wider world to keep our creativity fresh. Being based in London we are incredibly lucky as there is always something interesting and stimulating to see and do.

Set project teams up well from the start.

Having worked across a multitude of collaborative projects over the years, the project team can really make or break the success of the project process – and therefore the experience of everyone on that project journey. It is worth taking a little time up front to get to know people and understand how they work alongside what their expectations are. Strong relationships are crucial in creative businesses, helping to foster collaboration, trust, and innovation; they will also make the inevitable problem solving simpler.

Empathy has real value.

I started Trifle* nearly 14 years ago during which time I’ve  worked across over 160 projects, with a multitude of clients and personality  types; in this time I have never once thought, ‘that person is too empathetic’. We are all humans with our own messy lives, acknowledging and recognising that goes a long way when working on projects and within a studio environment.

One of our favourite quotes is from Maya Angelou: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”


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