What Are Interior Design Markets?
Interior design markets refer to a gathering of designers and industry partners to showcase products, services, and designs. These trade shows see furniture manufacturers, textile designers, builders, and other design professionals exhibiting, demonstrating, and discussing their latest and most popular products and technologies.
Interior design markets are scattered across the US, Canada, and Europe. Thousands of designers attend these shows every year in the hope of finding new inspiration for current and upcoming projects. While some markets limit entry to professionals from the design industry, others are open to the public (often at specified hours), for non-designers who are looking for home decor inspiration or to find a specific piece.
It is a good practice to plan ahead in order to secure the best accommodation and most reasonable flights before prices shoot up as you get closer to the exhibition dates. Many markets release exhibitor lists in advance so that designers can plan their itinerary to the minutest detail, to allocate time for meeting the vendors/manufacturers that they are most enthusiastic to engage with. Keep in mind that many of these markets are enormous and one has little chance of being able to see everything on offer – especially with all of the special events throughout the day and evening.
Attendees get the benefit of knowing the latest trends in design, getting special pricing for products, and gathering some valuable insights about the design industry. And, many designers meet and make dear friends at the markets. It is where the industry comes together.
Some markets also include coaching sessions or design conferences. Therefore, most designers agree that time management is absolutely essential.
Why Should You Attend Interior Design markets?
There are several reasons to attend an interior design trade fair.
1. The first and foremost is to see the latest trends in design. It is imperative for designers to keep themselves updated about new products and designs in the market. With a host of exhibitors showcasing their products, you will be able to make informed decisions before recommending a purchase to a client.
2. Another important reason for attending markets is to get inspiration. Every year fresh product lines are displayed at market, giving designers ideas and inspiration for their current or future projects.
3. Some markets have coaching classes or conferences where you can earn Continuous Education Units (CEUs) at the venue. Planning your market schedule efficiently to accommodate these courses will help earn the credits that you need to maintain your credentials while learning from industry leading sources.
4. Another important reason for attending markets is networking. Markets are frequented by the industry’s best designers, so don’t be surprised if you encounter your favorite designer while flipping through fabrics. The forging of deep friendships is a common theme from markets. Many new design friends follow up by making Zoom groups or WhatsApp chat channels for regular communications that fulfill social and business needs. Post-market parties are also a trend, with A-list musicians often brought in for concerts, so expect to keep the networking going late into the night.
Just make sure to stay in lodging close to the market so that you aren’t spending much of your time commuting, and so that you can quickly return to your room for a freshening up before dinner.
Wear the most comfortable shoes you have, and still expect foot pain, as you will be on your feet that many hours. For many designers, being at market is practically an out-of-body experience, which surely helps one accept the foot pain.
Markets in the United States
The most popular market in the US for interior designers is the twice-a-year High Point Market.
Here are the main interior design markets that you can attend across the States, Canada, and Europe:
Gift, decor, and lifestyle market
Atlanta, January and July
This week-long market features thousands of brands showcasing lighting, linen, accent furniture, rugs, and more.
Luxury design brands show.
New York, between March-June.
This fair is a four-day event that brings together designers to see hundreds of luxury brands from across the States, explore innovative products, and showcase design solutions for the luxury home marketplace.
Trade show for trends in tile and stone.
New Orleans, April.
This event brings together architects, designers, builders, and remodelers to see the latest products, trends, and techniques in the natural stone and ceramic tile industry.
Trade show for home decor and gift items
Dallas, January and June
This week-long event connects designers with retailers and manufacturers in home decor, lighting, accessories, housewares, etc. Keep in mind that Dallas Market Center now also has a new marketplace called Interior Home and Design Center which is open daily to the trade and showcases the latest collections of furniture, lighting, decorative accessories, and wall art.
Trade show for collecting, exhibiting, and creating collectible design.
This fair is a marketplace for design, with exhibitions ranging from lighting, furniture, and objet d’art. There are panel discussions and lectures with industry leaders in the fields of design, architecture, art, and fashion.
Trade show for green building professionals.
Various venues, November.
This event is focused on green building professionals specifically aimed at learning about innovative solutions and technology to improve the sustainability and quality of life in built environments through inspirational keynotes, lectures, and interactive sessions.
America’s largest hospitality design event.
Las Vegas, May.
This three-day event offers a wide variety of design and decor products on display.
Designers get an opportunity to explore the latest products, designs, vendors, earn CEUs, attend talks, and engage in networking.
Premium show for interior designers in North America.
High Point, NC, twice per year in April and October.
This six-day event is an enormous exhibition of furniture, furnishings, and home decor. There are seminars, roundtable discussions, celebrity meet-and-greets, product launches, workshops, and many other events. Expect long days with a ton of social events packing the evening.
Trade show for the home building industry.
Organized by the National Association of Home Builders, this annual three-day fair takes place at Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center and features new product launches, construction demos, industry thought leader sessions, workshops, and panel discussions.
North America’s major platform for global design.
New York, May.
This fair is a global design platform for architects, designers, developers, and retailers to understand the latest trends in contemporary commercial and residential furniture.
Trade show for the kitchen and bath industry.
This exhibition is dedicated to all aspects of kitchen and bath design. There are opportunities to earn CEUs as well as conferences, receptions, seminars, and other events.
Trade show for furniture, gift, and home decor resources.
Las Vegas, January and July.
With hundreds of exhibitors showcasing their products, the five-day event takes place twice a year. All attendees are free to take part in topical business seminars and conference sessions as well.
Largest annual architectural and commercial lighting trade show.
New York, May.
This event is an annual architectural and commercial lighting trade show and conference, focusing on innovation in lighting design and technology. The conference also features approximately 200 hours of accredited courses.
Trade show for commercial design.
Taking place in the Merchandise Mart (also known as the Merch Mart, or the Mart), this three-day fair covers corporate office, healthcare, hospitality/retail, lighting, environmental/sustainability, and more.
Trade show for promoting Italian exports of furnishing and accessories.
This fair is dedicated to showcasing design products and decorative and technical furnishing solutions.
Largest North American floor covering, stone, and tile industry event.
Las Vegas, June.
Organized under the International Surface Event brand, this four-day event brings together buyers, sellers, and designers to showcase the latest floor covering products, tools, and technologies.
Market in Canada
Showcase of new products and furniture, designers, and avant-garde concepts from North America and beyond.
This trade show is Canada’s premier showcase of new products, furniture, and design, promoting both emerging designers and established ones. The show gives an opportunity to meet vendors and suppliers and take part in seminars and talks.
Markets in Europe
Event for designers of ceramic and other surface coverings and bathroom furnishings.
Bologna, Italy, Sept-Oct.
The International Exhibition of Ceramic Tile and Bathroom Furnishings focuses on bringing designers, architects, retailers, and contractors to see the latest in bathroom furnishings and surface coverings, including wallpapers, bath fittings, saunas, bathtubs, and designer faucets.
Premium event for luxury interior decorators.
West Kensington’s Olympia London, October.
Decorex, a four-day-long home design fair, is part of a nine-day, greater event, the London Design Festival. The exhibition displays a variety of fabrics, lighting, etc. Visitors get the opportunity to observe how products are made.
Global event for interior textiles, interior design, and interior trends.
Frankfurt am Main, January.
A textile-focused fair, the Heimtextil show is held at Frankfurt am Main featuring trends in textile design and technology, decorative and furniture fabrics, window, interior, and wall decoration, bed and bath fashion, etc.
An event that promotes London as the design capital of the world.
The nine-day day London Design Festival is an annual event held across different venues in London around September with the Victoria and Albert Museum (the world’s largest museum of applied and decorative arts and design), as its central hub. It has over 400 events and exhibitions showcasing all things design-related.
Showcase of products and solutions for the home and lifestyle spectrum.
Paris, January and September
This event is held twice a year in Paris Nord Villepinte Exhibition Center and focuses on showcasing new products and designs for the interior design, decoration, and lifestyle sector. The event also has conferences, awards, and talks by industry leaders. North American designers LOVE this market for its fresh looks and cultural backdrop.
Have you attended any of these markets? Tell us about your experiences.
Did our list overlook any important markets? Please let us know in the comments below.