Keeping up with the latest in furniture, fixtures and interior accessories is one of the most exciting elements of being an interior designer, but it can also be a challenge. With so many interior design vendors located across the country and around the world, it would be impossible to visit every existing showroom while also having enough time to complete your projects. That’s why interior design trade shows, often called markets, are an essential part of the industry, allowing designers to see the latest and greatest in all things interior design in centralized locations.
Here, we will cover everything you need to know about the largest and most influential design markets in the U.S., including dates and details for the upcoming 2019-2020 events.
High Point Markets
Where: High Point, North Carolina
When: Oct. 19-23 2019; April 25-29, 2020
(Photo Credit: businessnc.com)
High Point, North Carolina is known as the Home Furnishings Capital of the World for good reason. Not only is it home to the headquarters of a wide range of furniture and home goods manufacturers, like Century Furniture, Hickory Chair and Mitchell Gold Bob Williams, it is the site of the bi-annual High Point Market, the biggest and most well known of the interior design industry trade shows. Every fall and spring, over 75,000 people come to High Point to see over 2000 vendor exhibitions – which extend beyond the convention center to cover nearly every inch of the downtown – and to hear lectures from world-renowned interior designers, and network with the industry’s movers and shakers. Together, the High Point Markets contribute $6.7 billion to the state’s coffers, making them the biggest annual economic event for North Carolina.
Because the High Point Markets are so well attended, the events surrounding the exhibitions attract top talent in terms of speakers and panel participants, making them among the most important educational and networking opportunities of the year. The upcoming Fall Market, taking place Oct. 19-23, boasts a keynote speech from actress, Diane Keaton, an educational lecture from best-selling author and Forbes Top 100 Digital Influencer, Erik Qualman, plus a host of other CEU accredited seminars like the IFDA DesignEdge Summit. For high-octante socializing, be sure to stop by the Designer’s Lounge. While you’re there, get an insider’s guide to the latest Design Manager features at the Tech Bar, for which you can register in advance. If last year’s event is any indication, the Design Manager party is not one to miss! If you can’t make it to the Fall Market this year, don’t fret, the Spring 2020 Market will take place April 25-29 and will surely bring out the best and brightest, as the High Point Markets always do.
When: Jan. 14-21 2020
(Photo credit: atlantadowntown.com)
AmericasMart Atlanta is the nation’s largest wholesale gift, home accents, décor, tabletop, gourmet, area rug and fashion apparel marketplace. It is host to 16 annual markets that cover a wide range of niches within the design industry. The major events to look out for are the AmericasMart Fall Design Week (2020 details yet to be announced) and the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market, which takes place every winter. The dates for the upcoming 2020 Market are Jan. 14-21, and note the Atlanta International Area Rug Market will take place at AmerciasMart simultaneously from Jan. 15-19, 2020. Past Markets have boasted celebrity guests of honor such as Arianna Huffington, and the event is popular among foodies for its tableware presentations featuring local celebrity chefs.
No matter where in the country you are located or what time of year suits your schedule for travel, there is a top-notch interior design market that should work for you. Because interior designers are social by nature, these events are not only wonderful opportunities to learn about what is new in the industry, they are also the perfect place to connect with colleagues, build your network, and have a great time in the process. Find time and room in your budget to attend at least one of these markets a year, and your investment will surely pay off more than you can imagine.
Las Vegas Markets
Where: Las Vegas
When: Jan. 26-30 2020; July 26-30 2020
(Photo credit: lasvegasmarket.com)
The Las Vegas Markets, the largest interior design goods trade shows in the West, are fast catching up to High Point in terms of size and influence. They take place twice a year, in winter and summer, at the World Market Center, the largest showroom complex in the world for the furniture and interior fixtures industry. Like High Point, the Las Vegas Design Center, which occupies the first two floors of the World Market Center, serves as a permanent home to hundreds of showrooms, so it’s worth a visit even if you can’t make it to Las Vegas during the Market. The Market, however, takes over the entire 5.4 million square of the exhibition center where more than 4,000 vendors have exhibitions.
Also like High Point, the Las Vegas Markets offer a plethora of seminars, many of which offer CEU credit, and networking events. The upcoming Winter Market 2020, taking place Jan. 26-30, will honor interior designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard as the 2020 Design Icon, so expect high-profile guests to follow and soirées to ensue. While you are adding dates to your calendar, mark down July 26-30 for Las Vegas Summer Market 2020.
AD Design Show
Where: New York, New York
When: March 19-22, 2020
(Photo credit: addesignshow.com)
The AD Design Show, hosted by Architectural Digest, is the other major interior design convention held in New York City every year. While the event is smaller than the ICFF, it is elite and worth attending, if you can make it. The tradeshow will feature 400 vendors and attendees will include super high-end designers and their well-heeled clientele. It’s considered the best place to find emerging talent and independent furniture makers. The AD Design Show 2020 will take place March 19-22 at Pier 94. Don’t miss the AD sister event, DIFFA’s Dining By Design, next door at Pier 92, which features jaw-dropping tablescapes by star interior designers to benefit AIDS charities.
International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF)
Where: New York
When: May 17-20, 2020
(Photo credit: businessofhome.com)
The International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) takes place every spring at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City. The upcoming ICFF 2020 will take place from May 17-20, so start planning now to make sure you don’t miss the opportunity to see the very best from overseas on their annual stateside showcase. The convention draws approximately 40,000 attendees who come to see the exhibitions from 900 luxury vendors. While the fair does offer some seminars, the main draw is the exhibition itself, where the high-budget vendor booths offer a seemingly endless stream of design delights.
Chicago Design Center at the MerchandiseMart (theMART)
When: NeoCon June 8-10 2020; Design Chicago TBD Fall 2020
(Photo credit: architecture.org)
Two major markets are held at Chicago’s iconic MerchandiseMart, otherwise known as theMART, and home to 125 permanent interior design showrooms. It claims to be the world’s largest resource for custom home furnishings, and is the host of major industry events, including NeoCon, one of the most important commercial design events in North America. NeoCon 2020 will take place June 8-10 and will feature over 700 exhibitors from sub-industries like healthcare, retail, education and hospitality. Last year, over 50,000 people attended, making it a major player in the industry.
Another important event hosted at The Design Center at theMart is Design Chicago, a residential design conference heavy on kitchen and bath that takes place every fall. This year’s Design Chicago took place Oct. 2-3, but keep an eye on the event’s website for the yet to be announced 2020 dates.
Dallas Market Center: Interior Home and Design Center
When: September 2020 TBD
(Photo credit: architecturaldigest.com)
The Dallas Market Center: Interior Home and Design Center (IHDC) is home to 34 high-end vendors, including the Gallery at IHDC, which is a shared showroom. It is small compared to High Point and the Las Vegas Design Center, but is an important regional showcase for the interior design industry. It is also the host of Dallas Design Week, which occurs every fall. This week-long event is heavy on the educational seminars, networking parties that attract the Dallas glitterati, and exclusive sale events for attendees. While the Dallas Design Week 2019 already took place Sept. 23-26, 2019, keep this event on your radar for next year.