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The Scandis are coming, M&S goes glam, smart bedheads and friendly colour advice

Scandi buyers at Showcase

You may have thought our love affair with Scandinavian furniture and design is a one-way thing but it turns out the Scandinavians quite like us too.

While we are busy trying to recreate hygge in our houses during the cold winter months and are spending money at stores such as Ikea, Sostrene Grene and Bo Concept, a group of Nordic buyers, wholesalers, and distributors are coming here to check out the work of Irish designers at Showcase which takes place in the RDS from tomorrow and runs until Wednesday, January 25th. Among them are hip Swedish furniture and homewares company Mitab, Danish fashion company Hvide Hus-Bornholm and Finnish fashion company Kapteenska.

According to Elaina O'Shea of Enterprise Ireland, quality Irish brands such as Magee, Avoca, Foxford and Dubarry are already popular in several Nordic countries but it is with Denmark that we have the closest relationship, helped by some cultural similarities and its accessible retail sector. This year is the first trip to Showcase for brothers Peter and Marcus Torstensson of Mitab one of Sweden's best-known furniture companies which employs a large team of designers for its contract and domestic business. "The brothers are coming over to see what Irish designers can offer them in terms of furniture and accessories," says O'Shea. mitab.se/en/, hvidehus-bornholm.dk/forside.aspx, kapteenska.fi/tag/45/Fisherman

Full marks

Most of the furniture you will see on the floor in Marks & Spencer stores in Ireland tends to be solid and comfortable, if a bit on the bland side – think handsome storage units and sturdy armchairs – but there are far more exciting items to be had online such as this art deco-style brass and glass shelving unit, called the Barclay. It would look good placed on either side of a fireplace or as a room divider. It's part of a new spring range that includes luscious velvet- covered sofas in deep shades of blue and purple, with a deep-buttoned ottoman to match and glamorous mirrors, lighting and accessories. The Barclay shelving units costs €539 from marksandspencer.ie.


And so to bed

A high upholstered headboard will add a big dash of luxury not to mention comfort to bedtime and it’s not hard to create a bespoke look with mdf, fabric, filler and a friendly upholster. There are numerous off-the-peg options too like this pretty plaid one from DFS which has a casual feel with its ribbon ties. It’s available in four different colourways – the one in the photograph is Darwen and it comes in three sizes, a 4ft 6in, 5ft and 6ft. There is a slight reduction at the moment withthe 4ft 6in reduced by around €20 to €629. dfs.ie

Friends with benefits

Colour specialist and designer Orla Kelly is giving a talk on Thursday, January 26th at a Friends of the National Gallery evening. Kelly who favours canary yellow and bright blue over griege and grey will discuss why the Georgians loved greens and the Victorians were mad about purple, and she will be on hand to give advice about what colours work best in home interiors now. The event takes places at 5 South Leinster Street, where there's a private members' room that the Friends of the National Gallery use all year round. Membership costs €80 or €35 for 16-25 year-olds and benefits include free entry to all exhibitions such as the upcoming Beyond Caravaggio and Vermeer, numerous talks, invitations to tours of houses and art collections around Ireland and a summer tour abroad. Friends will also be among the first to view the main part of the National Gallery when it reopens this summer after a long refurbishment. Kelly's talk costs €12 (€5 for students). To become a Friend, telephone 01-661 9877, email friends@ngi.ieor join online at ngi.ie