I was delighted to visit the Ideal Home Show for Oak Furniture Land this week, which this year celebrates its quite astonishing 110th year! I’ve never been before, despite it being the biggest and most well known of all the UK home based shows, so this was a real treat. Even without an interest in interiors, this one is the UK exhibit on most people’s radar, there is usually some futuristic gizmo which grabs the limelight and attention, so it was interesting to see what else the show has to offer. From an interiors point of view, there is so much inspiration to be found, room sets put together for the show display a canvas of rich contemporary looks that are both covetable and achievable.
The Good Homes roomsets always draw a lot of attention and this year’s display, designed and styled by Kate McPhee and Jess Taverner, did not disappoint. My very favourite room was the botanical inspired bedroom with its sage green walls, and faux botanical accents warmed up by natural wood furniture and detailed pieces like the Shutter Double Wardrobe from Oak Furniture Land. This room placed tension in just the right places, from the textured footstools which injected a feel of luxury to the quirkier aspects such as the ombré effect radiator or the trellis as a headboard which was quite genius, I loved the faux ivy that adorned it, an idea to steal and take home!
The family living room was another space I really loved, within the same modern rustic vibe as the bedroom, this space was accented by quiet and muted styling which created a really cosy and laid-back feel. There were many items that felt handcrafted in here, and pale wood and natural materials really sang in this environment. The Gainsborough sofa in beige fitted beautifully within the natural colour palette of the room whilst the Sydney accent chair in bright orange velvet was a dramatic piece which looked particularly striking with the boldly placed neon yellow cushion injecting some real fun into the space.
The set also featured a dark modern rustic kitchen with Scandinavian accents and a wellness bathroom that placed relaxation at its heart. This was a timeless and decadent space, the roll top bath with accompanying Jasmine footstool styled as a side table made the space feel like an upmarket boutique hotel.
One of the showstopper sets was the dining space which ranked high in the glamour stakes. Amongst the pink quilted effect chairs and the gold inlaid cabinets a central dining table made by Oak Furniture Land rooted the design and added a beautiful warmth to the scheme. The glass top makes this table such a versatile piece and it was interesting to see it being used unexpectedly here. This room was such a successful showcase because it married opulence with comfort and illustrated how important the central piece of furniture – a dining table – really is.
The hi-tech media room in the Good Homes set was such a colourful and punchy reinterpretation of the greyer area of home design – gadgetry. Hi-tech often seems to invoke thoughts of masculine design which can feel a little sterile but with smart gadgets and clever furniture like the Morgan storage footstool freeing up space in the room the designers really went to town with accents in bright primary colours and geometric or abstract patterning. I especially loved the Camille Walala rug, she’s a designer who always manages to bring a Memphis-style punch of fun to the design world. The fun feel in here would lend itself perfectly to a family room and it was really inspiring to see a technology room with so much personality.
Of the other interiors showcases that I saw, one other really grabbed my attention was the copper clad outdoor studio space in the gardens section designed by 2LG studio. This space which was designed with a luxurious minimalism and careful attention to quiet beauty was an absolute winner for me and a room I could have spent many hours in. There are always innovative new products on show at The Ideal Home Show and this room was brimming with sustainable materials, there was cork and vegan leather alongside a product I particularly loved, the clever surface design made by Smile Plastics which looked like granite with a touch of terrazzo but had been cleverly made with recycled materials like yoghurt pots. Clever, ethical and beautiful, now that is great design!
With so much inspiration to be found in one space, it’s hard to convey the enormity of the show as a whole which has pieces for every detail of the home environment, from renovation ideas to food, beauty, home accessories and gardens. Past the high tech gadgetry of remote-controlled blinds and vibrating fitness plates one of the areas I most enjoyed was the food hall where I sampled a diverse assortment of goodies from salt beef to sticky toffee cheddar (no, that’s not a typo, and it was really nice!) to elderflower gin and moonshine (again, that’s not a typo!). With such a diverse array of array of products it’s hard not to lose yourself in the maze of attractions for many, many hours and with talks on the day I visited from celebrity experts Phil Spencer and Martin Lewis there was a lot to take in. Thank you Oak Furniture Land for a wonderful day out, I’m going to be thinking about the things I saw for quite some time to come and if I could take one thing home it may just be one of those Jasmine footstools!