I’m a Professional Painter and Decorator, and I love a good trade show. Mostly because of the social aspect of them. I spend a lot of time talking to other Decorators and manufacturers online, and a big event like a trade show gets everyone together under one roof.
There are other benefits of visiting a show; you come away with a lot of freebies, sometimes you get to see new products, and occasionally there are some fantastic offers.
I thought I’d take a little bit of time to talk through the best trade shows for Decorators in the UK. I’ll be honest opinion about each of them, and link to the relevant websites.
National Painting and Decorating Show
The National Painting and Decorating Show (NP&D Show) is the daddy of trade shows for Painters and Decorators. It takes place every year in Coventry at the end of November. Pretty much every major manufacturer in the UK exhibits at this one, and you get to see innovations or new products before they hit the shelves.
It’s a great opportunity to really connect with manufacturers. There’s so much going on that it can be a little bit overwhelming to be honest. But there is a fantastic bar in the same building that also serves food. A lot of Decorators I know go and have a mooch around the show, grab as many freebies as they can, then have a few drinks and a meal with other tradesmen before heading off.
This decorating show is iconic, and it’s something a lot of Decorators look forward to. If you haven’t been before, it’s well worth making the trip. Click here for a full review. Or click here for more info.
Trade Decorator Live
On paper, this should be the “up and coming trade show” because it’s only been going a couple of year. Except the scale of it has already elevated the event. It’s only been going for a couple of years, and it’s pretty big already! Trade Decorator Live takes place in the Northwest every year. I believe the next one will be in Bolton, but I’m not 100% sure.
It is smaller and quieter than the National Painting and Decorating Show, but still loads going on, plenty of freebies up for grabs, and a FREE LUNCH for everyone who attends. There is a huge bar at this event too, and two large hotels on site and within stumbling distance of the event.
This is honestly an impressive show, and the second biggest decorating show I’ve ever been to. Click here for more info.
Scottish Decorating Show
I’m going to start this section by giving you mixed messages…. I enjoy the Scottish Decorating Show, but it isn’t worth attending if you need to travel a great distance to get to it. This show is a lot smaller, with a lot less going on. You can get round every stand and talk to all the manufacturers in a couple of hours.
I think it’s hosted by the Scottish Decorators Federation, who are either inept when it comes to marketing, or they intentionally keep the show a secret. I only found out about the event by chance from another Decorator. I couldn’t find anything online about it, where it was hosted, who was attending etc. I even messaged them on Facebook, but they ignored me.
There are plus points. This show is a lot more intimate than the others, and you can have a thorough conversation with the exhibitors. It’s friendly too.
I do know it is annual, the last one was in March, and happens in Edinburgh. Full review here.
Dulux Academy Open House
This is another smallish event, but the Dulux Academy do things in style! There have barbeques, cakes, games, loads of demos, buckets of freebies, and it’s very interactive. Everything about the Academy is vibrant and full of energy.
I’ve just attended Screwfix Live for the first time in Farnborough, and it was huge!! Much bigger than any of the other trade shows, but not as much going on for Decorators. Lick Paint where there, as were Dulux, Wagner, Fortified, and Leyland, but that was about it.
This show had a lot of trade deals, which is brilliant if you want to grab a bargain! There were also celebrities, and a Formula 1 race car! The scale of the place is ridiculous… well worth a trip. Click here to visit Screwfix.
Trade Shows for Decorators – a Full Review and Guide – by Mike Cupit