decorative fair



The relatively recent trend for ‘fast interiors’ – much like ‘fast fashion’ – is falling from favour as we all come to appreciate the sustainability of re-using and re-purposing existing furniture and accessories to decorate our living spaces.

We can easily paint a wall in a fresh colour for a quick update, but when it comes to furnishings, the appeal of heirloom pieces is growing.  Whether that’s finding space for an inherited painting or lamp from a family member, or choosing to buy slowly to build up the decoration of your home (rather than trying to finish everything all in one go), many who might have thought antiques were fusty or old-fashioned are seeing them in a new light. 

Anthony James - doubled side Regency lacquer screen (back) H67.5 W140 002

Look at most interiors publications and the rooms you see there have layers of different periods – not many professional decorators go simply for one look. Today’s up and coming designers are cherishing the traditional alongside the new. So consider mixing a few antique and vintage pieces with your existing furniture. You’ll be delighted at just how inexpensive some finely-made furniture can be to buy; antiques come with inherent craftsmanship and construction quality, and will last many lifetimes, and suit any home. 

If you have plenty of time, you can scour local auction houses, weekend markets and Sunday fairs and bag yourself a potential bargain (although bear in mind items sold at auction often require restoration work or reupholstery to make them good, and beware of woodworm too!).  It might take you a while to find what you are looking for but it is fun too. 

decorative fair
Geoffrey Stead - Louis XVI period carved wood sofa, c1785

Busy, style-savvy Londoners have long known about The Decorative Fair; established in 1985, the Fair has been taking place at its current Battersea Park venue three times a year since 1997.  It’s the favourite hunting ground of the UK interiors trade, from well-known names like Nicky Haslam, Veere Grenney, Nina Campbell and hoteliers Kit Kemp and Olga Polizzi from Rocco Forte Hotels, to today’s young stars including Rose Uniacke, Rita Konig, Flora Soames and Beata Heuman. They all visit the Fair to discover exciting one-off pieces to use in their work projects, as well as buying for themselves.  Chances are you will have seen pieces they bought at The Decorative Fair in many of the houses they have photographed for design magazines and newspaper articles. 

decorative fair
Dorian Caffot de Fawes - pair of oak & leather chairs by Art Deco master Andre Sornay (1902-2000)

At The Decorative Fair there are more than 130 of the UK’s leading antiques, art and twentieth century dealers offering their latest collections for sale, all carefully sourced to save you time, and in great condition, ready to come home with you the same day (no six-week+ waiting time like large pieces ordered from the high street). Larger items can usually be delivered by the dealer, or they can help arrange for a shipper to do this for you. 

Florence Evans Fine Art - Sven Berlin - Peregrine Falcons (framed) HR

Exhibitors create displays that will inspire you, featuring design and decorative objects from the 17th century to the 1970s.  Discover country house antiques, art nouveau and deco designs, mid-century classics, glass and silverware, decorative textiles, out of the ordinary lighting and mirrors, collectable curios and unexpected treasures, shown alongside art and sculpture of all eras and styles from traditional to contemporary. 

A unique aspect of the Fair is the breadth of stock available across every period and style, to suit every budget; in fact it is possible to decorate any room in any type of house from top to toe, in myriad tastes, from extraordinary to understated, opulent to folksy, formal to fun.  Prices at the Fair range from under £50 to £50,000+.  Shop for sustainable, expertly crafted heirloom designs that have stood the test of time, and bring a unique sense of history to interiors and exteriors alike. 

decorative fair
John Barkes - Sviatoslav Barabash, a Sunlit Alley in Odessa, 1990s

The Spring edition of The Decorative Fair takes place from 9-14 May at Evolution London in Battersea Park.  Tickets can be booked in advance via or paid for at the door. Admission is £20 p/p on Opening Day, Tuesday 9 May and £10 p/p from Wednesday 10 to Sunday 14 May.  From 4pm daily, admission is free.