The January Furniture Show at the NEC is the industry’s first and biggest showcase of the year in the UK.  It has a thirty-year heritage with 500+ exhibitors made up from leading upholstery, bed and furniture suppliers with decorative accessories, fabrics, flooring and lighting to complete the line-up.

This show attracts major retail buyers along with interior designers; including myself.

As a designer, rather than a buyer, I was keen to meet up with the suppliers to make sure I was up to date on the latest products and trends for 2018.


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je+1 January Furniture Show
je+1 January Furniture Show

Walking around it became evident that the trends for 2018 were about understated tones with splashes of bright colour in luxurious fabrics.  According to’s team of designer’s, velvet is billed to be choice statement fabric for soft furnishings.

The stand for Alexander & James was evidence of this.  Not only did it stand out and look stunning but the entrance displayed chairs that made you want to curl up and get cosy!  Having drawn you inside you would not be disappointed especially in Club Cool relaxing on their Penthouse sofa.


The promotion of being British Designs was apparent with a lot of stands proudly displaying the BFM logo; British Furniture Manufactures.  Or like Alexander & James highlighting that your products/designs are British

2017 saw us adding tropical jungle prints or flamboyant flamingos to our interiors along with anything metallic.  This year Grey is still the neutral colour of choice but with bolder, rich pigments.  This was made clearer with the announcement from Pantone that their colour of the year is Ultra Violet; an enigmatic blue based purple shade.

The newly branded billy & slouch proudly displayed their beautiful products to emphasise this.

je+1 January Furniture Show
je+1 January Furniture Show

Texture and layering is to be embraced this year.  Whatever your colour palette by mixing textures you will instantly create interest. The use of macramé is substantial, whether it be cushions, rugs or curtains, it is now seen in almost every new collection.

Texture in furniture is to be natural and handmade, the craft look is dominating.  This was plain for all to see on the Makasi Imports stand – ROARsome.

As well as looking at the latest trends, I was keen to explore Hall 5, Living and Beds as the main project I work on, means an understanding of beds and mattresses is beneficial.


Technology is coming to the forefront of design, especially with the promotion of health benefits and tracking yourself.  The stand in Hall 5 that stood out was Mlily; and not just because they are a sponsor of Manchester United, but because they had what looked like a giant igloo that promoted their iMATT mattress. 

The iMATT mattress is to make sleep smarter, it looks to monitor sleep patterns, generate daily sleep reports and provide tips for improved health, all on an easy to use app.

Mlily showcase innovative sleep products whilst working closely with Recovery Scientists at Manchester United to improve sleep and performance in everyone’s daily life.

je+1 January Furniture Show
je+1 January Furniture Show


Overall I enjoyed the show and would definitely go again; it helps because it’s local!

I wanted to end my blog with an image of the floating bed by Levitas Design.  They create magical contemporary furniture using cutting edge technology with intelligent design – a blend of advanced engineering and futuristic features.  This stand was drawing in the crowds and was a prime example of making the most of a small exhibition space.

je+1 January Furniture Show

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