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Ideal Home Show celebrates interest in home interiors and upgrades

The autumn Permanent TSB Ideal Home Show will offer everything home improvers and upgraders could want from October 22nd-25th at RDS

The Permanent TSB Ideal Home Show is back, live and in person, for its autumn residency at the RDS Simmonscourt –  the first time the hugely popular event has been staged since 2019. With interest in homes and decor  experiencing record surges during the pandemic, demand for the advice, expertise and inspiration that is the show’s stock in trade has never been higher.

The much-anticipated show opens on Friday, October 22nd to tie in with the lifting of Covid restrictions. It runs until the end of October bank holiday Monday, marking the first major public event in which the requirement for physical distancing has been removed – double cause for celebration.

For top interior designer Ciara Drennan, the four-day event can’t come quickly enough: “I love the Ideal Home Show – I’ve been coming to it for years and can’t wait to get back.”

Drennan is one of a number of well-known designers creating beautiful rooms for the show. Hers is a beautiful living room featuring an eclectic mix of fabrics, textures and finishes. She has opted for a palette of natural earthy tones with soft pink hues on panelling and a bespoke TV unit with rattan doors, featuring accents of brushed gold.


She has a classic mix of vintage tan leather and natural linens for seating, with coffee table and side table featuring gold and glass. The look is completed with hand woven rugs from India, Aztec patterning and abstract wall art.

Drennan set up her busy interior design business in 2004 and reckons our homes have never been as in need as a refresh. “People spent so much time in their homes over the past 18 months,” she says. “The wear and tear of kids and dogs and spouses who would normally be in the office all being crowded in together all the time took its toll.”

People tend to repaint their homes once every five years or so. “After the last two years people are telling us it’s not that they want to paint – they really need to,” she adds.

Working from home has driven up demand for bigger home improvements too, inspiration for which you can find at the show.

“WFH is here to stay,” Drennan confirms. “Some people are opting for garden rooms, which is a brilliant idea, either for offices or to turn the garden rooms into a playroom or den. But many people in smaller homes, with smaller children, are still operating from a desk in a bedroom, so a lot of the work I’m doing now is about making rooms much more multifunctional.”

In open plan spaces, that could mean hiving off a private section for a desk, the clever use of fold up desks stowed behind a door, or custom built into an alcove. Visitors to the show will be able to discover all sorts of options at the new Working from Home zone.

Drennan works with clients with all levels of budget, and what she loves about the Ideal Home Show is that it highlights the value of interior design to everyone. “The show has done so much to help people realise that interior design is for ordinary people, not just for people living in mansions in expensive areas. It’s about helping you make the right decisions, and saving you money by not making bad choices.”

Show highlights

Another highlight of the autumn event is the Finished.ie + DFS Interiors Theatre, hosted by popular presenter Lorraine Keane, as part of the Home Interiors Fair. Keane will talk to RTÉ Home of the Year judge Hugh Wallace, TV quantity surveyor Patricia Power, architect and interior designer Denise O’Connor of Optimise Design, and artist Deborah Donnelly.

At the Mitsubishi Electric Home Advice Theatre, visitors will find key experts from Electric Ireland Superhomes, architect Eva Byrne of Houseology, and David McConnell of Mitsubishi Ireland advising on energy conservation. The Drive Electric exhibition is the place to see the latest in electric vehicles, hybrids and electric scooters.

Staff from Permanent TSB will be at the show as well to talk to visitors about mortgages, home improvements and other loans.

How can you buy a sofa without sitting on it, or fork out €40,000 for windows from people you've never met?

For Caitriona O’Connor, show director at SDL, which organises the Permanent TSB Ideal Home Show, the event is coming back at the perfect time for people finally able to have visitors for Christmas, a joy too many missed out on last year. The fact that the retail sector has only recently reopened means that there is pent-up demand for seeing and feeling items before buying them.

“How can you buy a sofa without sitting on it, or fork out €40,000 for windows from people you’ve never met?” O’Connor asks. “ Online is great for small items that cost tens of euros, but for big-ticket items you need to meet the people providing them. And that’s what the show is all about.”

Interest in deep home retrofits, including the installation of heat pumps, as part of growing awareness of the need to combat climate change means people want to find out more about the heating and insulation options open to them. The Eco Expo at the show is a great resource, while its Phonewatch Ask an Expert Hub allows visitors to get practical advice about building, extending, finance, interiors, architecture and garden design.

At a time of supply and labour shortages, the  Ideal Home Show is the perfect destination for anyone embarking on a home improvement project. “The suppliers at the exhibition are here because they are ready to do business,” says O’Connor. “We’re just delighted to be back.”