Got room to improve? Get your house in order at the Ideal Home Show

Whether you’re doing a new build or a refurb, draw up plans to visit the RDS

Looking to get your house in order? Draw up plans for a visit to the Permanent TSB Ideal Home Show, which is back at the RDS over the October Bank Holiday weekend.

As ever, it will be packed with the products and service providers you need to get your grand design off the drawing board, whether it’s a complete new build, a much-needed extension or a simple refurbishment.

The theme of this season’s show is sustainability, and it’s reflected at every turn, including throughout the flagship initiative, the Ideal Home showhouse.

Designed by Helen McAlinden, it features airy, exposed Soho-style brick walls, natural woods with metal finishes. Understandably, given McAlinden’s background in fashion design, textures and fabrics are to the fore, with products from artisanal makers and an emphasis on natural materials such as marble, wood, leather and wool, teamed with rich velvets.


With grey on the wane, she makes full use of warmer neutral undertones including Subtle Beryl, Pure Cinder and Spiced Honey from the Signature by Dulux collection, with accents of ochre picked up through the furniture, much of which comes from Finline Furniture in Co Laois.

Key pieces in the showhouse come from its new Urban collection, which is being launched at the show. These include its L-shaped Sebastian suite, in warm velvet mustard, which creates a focal point in front of the fire in the main living area, alongside a geometric patterned rug by designer rug specialist RugArt in Stillorgan.

Natural materials

Waterford kitchen retailer Evoke German Kitchens continues the natural materials theme with elements of timber, marble and leather, while the bedroom features a Bergman bed dressed in Foxford linens, with Komandor sliding wardrobes and an adjoining bathroom with freestanding bath by Sonas Bathrooms.

McAlinden supports Irish craft and design in the showhouse where possible, including handcrafted pottery from Dublin's trendy Aran Street East; shelving, floor lamps and tables from Colin Harris and artworks from Andrea Flanagan.

Wellbeing, as an important element of sustainability, is reflected in many aspects of the show

A key consideration for any home now is that it blurs the line between outside and in. McAlinden's showhouse garden, called "Flourish", is designed by Dermot Kerins of Outlook Gardens, who specialises in green spaces that are designed to improve both the owner's wellbeing and that of nature.

Indeed wellbeing, as an important element of sustainability, is reflected in many aspects of the show, including the Interior Design Hub, where the emphasis is on earthy and cocooning shades of green, designed to convey a feeling of relaxation.

A number of designers are showcasing their looks at the show, working in collaboration with their favourite interiors brands. These include Denise O'Connor of Optimise Home, whose designed space has been created in partnership with BoConcept. Similarly, Maria Fenlon Interiors has opted to work with Meadows & Byrne while Jackie Tyrrell Design has paired with Michael Murphy Interiors.

Focus on wellbeing

For O’Connor’s display it is time to swap the “wow” factor and focus on wellbeing instead. She has created a contemporary, sophisticated but most of all restful living space designed to not only look great but to make people feel great while in it. In doing so, she took some of her inspiration from a recent survey carried out by Optimise Home which found that 98 per cent of people cite clutter as the number one cause of arguments in their home.

More than half of Irish people's favourite thing to do at the weekend is to stay in rather than go out

O’Connor has adapted the still-in-vogue industrial trend by giving it a sophisticated twist, with soft, neutral colours on the walls – Dulux Subtle Cobble – and contemporary furniture pieces, sculptural accessories and architectural details such as Crittall-style screens. Her colour palette of winter whites, soft greens and natural materials softens the look and creates an elegant scheme that is inviting and comfortable.

Working to the theme that staying in is the new going out, designer Yvonne Mulligan of Nineyards Design partnered with furniture company DFS, whose own survey found that more than half of Irish people's favourite thing to do at the weekend is to stay in rather than go out.

Sleek but comfy

Mulligan’s look is built around a sleek but comfy Mya sofa, taken from DFS’s So Simple Collection, in peacock teal. A contemporary DFS Mercia coffee table stands alongside it, on an art deco rug from Brink & Campman. She also features lighting by Mullan Design, Harlequin wallpaper from the Entity collection and the sombre tones of Fine Line – a dark grey – from Dulux’s Signature collection.

As ever, there is information as well as inspiration at the Ideal Home Show, with a line-up of presentations and workshops from interiors figures such as quantity surveyor Patricia Power of RTÉ's Room to Improve, and BBC's DIY SOS star Nick Knowles. There are also live cookery demonstrations from the chefs at Donnybrook Fair.

But the main event, for many visitors, are the more than 200 stands featuring everything from beds and baths to carpets and cars – make sure to take a spin over to the new Drive Electric section, which will help you get to grips with the cars, grants and home charging points you need to get you motoring sustainably.

Not just a one-stop shop – it’s the home of homes.

The Permanent TSB Ideal Home Show takes place from October 25 to 28 at the RDS Simmonscourt in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4. Tickets are €15pp, OAPs and students €10 and children under 12 go free. To pre-register for two free tickets, see

Experts come out of the woodwork

Got an idea for your home but not sure if it’s possible, practical or even affordable? The Permanent TSB Ideal Home Show’s Ask an Expert section has specialists across all areas of building and renovation to help.

Interiors advice
A team of 16 professional interior designers including Catherine Murphy, Denise Smith, Hana Jarrar and Karen Mackay will be on hand to discuss your plans, answer your questions and make suggestions. Bring photos, colour swatches or a floor plan for best results.

Talk to an architect
Homeowners planning an extension, a major renovation or a new build home are always advised to engage a qualified professional architect to help not just create their ideal home but navigate planning and compliance requirements and source a suitable contractor. This season's show features RIAI architects such as Madeleine Moore, Ciara Murray of Newmark, Joe English of JE, Patrick Lynch of House 7 and Colm Nolan of Circa Design.

Garden design
With almost all extensions, renovations and new builds taking advantage of modern designs that use larger windows, sliding and bi-fold doors designed to bring the outside in, it helps to have a nice garden. Very many members of the Garden & Landscape Design Association will be on hand to help, including Michael O'Reilly of Garden Design Shop, Vyvian White of Lotus Landscape Design and Anne Hamilton of Fox Gardens in West Cork. Again bring photos, plans or images of gardens you like to help you get started.

SEAI – grant information
Sustainability is the key theme of this year's show, and no agency knows more about it than the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). Its experts can talk you through all the options available in relation to sustainable energy systems, from insulation to solar panels and heat pumps, as well explain all the government grants available to help. Manufacturer Mitsubishi will be on site too, to explain the benefits of renewable energy from heat pumps.

Find A builder
The Construction Industry Federation represents the Irish construction sector and manages the Construction Industry Register Ireland (CIRI) – the official online register of competent builders, contractors, specialist sub-contractors and tradespersons.

Booking for a 20-minute, one-to-one session with each expert can be made on arrival, on a first come, first served basis, at the Ask an Expert area to the front of the hall.