26 May 2024, 16:30
By Furniture News Dec 01, 2016

A guide to the UK furniture exhibitions of 2017

The UK furniture and furnishings trade boasts a diverse range of sourcing opportunities, large and small. Each year, Furniture News compiles a summary of these exhibitions, to help our readers identify the most suitable events for their needs, and mark their calendars accordingly.

Remember that you can find a full calendar of events – both national and international – here. Subscribers will have received a handy wallplanner containing this information with their copy of the December issue.

Previous editions of the majority of these shows feature in back issues of Furniture News magazine, providing additional insight into individual events.

Top Drawer, encompassing Home, Craft, Fashion and Gift sectors – begins the proceedings at London’s Olympia from 15-17th January. Expect a contemporary feel, and a cherry-picked selection of quality brands.

Buying group AIS opens the doors to its Cranmore Park Exhibition Centre in Solihull to its members from 20th-21st of January, and consequently to the wider trade for the AIS Furniture Show from 22nd-23rd.

Those second dates are significant, as they overlap with the UK’s biggest furniture show, taking place at the nearby Birmingham NEC from 22nd-25th. The January Furniture Show occupies five halls over four days, features around 450 exhibitors, and incorporates a Fabric Pavilion and Flooring Showcase – alongside The Furniture Awards and other special features. The event remains the UK’s principal show.

Even so, there remains a fondness for smaller regional events, one of the strongest of which, North Point, returns to Edinburgh’s Highland Hall from 29th-31st January.

Europe’s largest home and gift trade fair, Spring Fair, occupies the Birmingham NEC from 5-9th February. Spring Fair promises cross-buying opportunities from the worlds of furniture, homewares, gifts, stationery, jewellery and much more, alongside the provision of retail, technology and export advice. This edition also incorporates a DIY sector.

The BFM’s London Fabric Show, taking place at Chelsea Football Club, Stamford Bridge, London from 27-28th February, is popular amongst the UK’s upholsterery manufacturers. Meanwhile, the AIS event The Linens Show (members only on the first day) takes place at Cranmore Park Exhibition Centre, Solihull, over 28th February and 1st March.

AIS members are invited to return to Cranmore Park Exhibition Centre from 25-26th April for its private Bed, Sofabed and Bedroom Furniture Show.

The month of May comprises several smaller or design-led events, starting with Spring Long Point. Held in various showroom locations around the Derbyshire town of Long Eaton from 8-10th May, the show is an ideal opportunity to explore the showrooms of some of the UK’s finest upholstery manufacturers and more.

The Buying Groups' National Flooring Show will run at Cranmore Park Exhibition Centre, Solihull, from 9-11th May.

Pulse promises inspirational, trend-defining homewares and fashion products when it returns to London’s Olympia from 14-16th May, while the Minerva Furnishers Guild buying group’s members will be welcomed to explore the latest samples from a large number of preferred suppliers at its Furniture and Bed Show, held at the National Agriculture & Exhibition Centre, Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, from 16-17th.

Towards the end of the month, design fair Clerkenwell Design Week will populate many of the London district’s showrooms from 23-25th May, including special installations, exhibitions and fringe events.

Midpoint, organised by upholstery supplier Tetrad, is set to return to Cranmore Park Exhibition Centre, Solihull, in June, but dates have not yet been confirmed.

The nation's premier showcase of young designers, New Designers, takes place over two phases at Islington's Business Design Centre. Phase 1 runs from 28th June to 1st July, and Phase 2 (which incorporates furniture) runs from 5-8th July.

Solex, the Leisure & Outdoor Furniture Association’s annual fair, returns to the NEC from 11-13th July with a complement of garden furniture and barbecues, whilst Home & Gift Harrogate promises interiors products, giftware and fashion products across the North Yorkshire town from 16-19th.

July also features the UK’s second-largest furniture show, the Manchester Furniture Show, which returns to Manchester Central, from 16-18th. The Manchester event is the summer’s key furniture trade event, giving retailers the opportunity to source new products and range updates in a relaxed, friendly environment.

Into August, and – whilst outside of the UK – the Irish Furniture & Homewares Show returns to Dublin’s National Show Centre for a fourth outing from 19th-22nd of the month. This regional event has steadily gained ground, and is testament to market recovery in the Republic of Ireland. Also in August, from 30th-31st, AIS opens Cranmore Park Exhibition Centre, Solihull, for a private members’ show dedicated to furniture.

September brings its usual wealth of trade events. Autumn Fair is first up, back in the Birmingham NEC between 3rd-6th September, offering a smaller version of the earlier Spring Fair, yet featuring a good complement of lighting, furniture and Christmas accessories.

AIS' The Linens Show returns for a second instalment this year, running from 6-7th at Cranmore Park Exhibition Centre, Solihull. Again, it's a members-only show on day one.

The year’s second Top Drawer returns to London’s Olympia from 10-12th, general outdoor exhibition Glee populates the NEC from 11-13th, regional event the South West Furniture Show is back at Sedgemoor Auction Centre, North Petherton, Somerset from 12-14th, whilst another private event for AIS members – the second Bed, Sofabed and Bedroom Furniture Show – takes place on 13th at Cranmore Park Exhibition Centre.

London Design Festival runs from 16-24th September across the capital, featuring a host of creative events that reinforce the global significance of the UK as a hub of design. Events taking place this week include high-end retail showcase Decorex International, back in Syon Park from 17th-20th, the inspirational array of interior launches that is 100% Design, at Olympia from 20th-23rd, Tent/Super Brands London, held at the Old Truman Brewery from 21st-24th, and DesignJunction, also from 21st-24th, now held at King's Cross.

Simultaneously, there's Autumn Long Point, which sees Long Eaton’s finest open their showrooms again following the spring event, from 19th-21st.

There’s also the UK’s key event for the bed industry, the Bed Show, taking place from 19-20th September at The International Centre, Telford. An enduringly popular exhibition, the Bed Show features new beds, bed-making machinery and components, and the gala dinner which takes place at the end of the first day sees the presentation of the annual NBF Bed Industry Awards. The Bridge International Bedroom Event is back at the nearby Ironbridge Gorge Museum, Telford, starting a little earlier over 18th-20th.

Finally, there’s set to be plenty of exhibitors at Minerva’s Autumn Furniture Show at The International Centre, Telford, running earlier than in previous years, over 26-27th September. Unlike the buying group’s event earlier in the year, it is open to the entire trade.

As always, I apologise for any errors. Whilst we’ll try to keep this post updated, it’s always worth checking the shows’ official websites for clarity.

More detailed information – including interviews with organisers, details of special features, exhibitor and visitor views and new products – can also be found around each show in Furniture News magazine.

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