Welcome to our monthly newsletter, providing you with the latest events and courses, trend forecasts, new sources, and answers to your interior design problems.

There’s no excuse for inertia !

The pundits are unanimous: ostentation and conspicuous consumption are out. (We can’t afford them anyway). Austerity is one option: but recycling and improvisation carried to extremes would sound the death-knell for the high street. And if we can’t afford to move house, we can at least get ourselves in the mindset of recovery. How? By brightening up our homes with high quality decoration and furnishings that will last. What’s more, it’s never been a better time to snap up bargains. Our members are rising to the challenge – see the tempting list of sales offers below.

This month don't miss

Exhibitions, sales, fairs, courses and events you should know about.

London Art Fair (14-18 Jan), Business Design Centre, Islington. N1.
Now in its 21st year, you will find over 100 galleries here showing work by Modern British artists and contemporary talent from around the world. Readers of our newsletter can get two tickets for the price of one, if booked before 11th January. The advance ticket price is £11 plus £1 booking fee. Call 08448 480 140 or book online at www.londonartfair.co.uk quoting LAF137.

Top Drawer Spring (18-20 Jan), Earls Court One, London
A trade show with over 700 suppliers of gifts, home accessories, jewellery, cards & stationery, outdoor products and more. www.topdrawerspring.com

The Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair (20-25 Jan), The Marquee, Battersea Park, SW11. Some 140 exhibitors under one roof at this popular fair, which is always an excellent source of high quality, competitively priced antiques and 20th century design. This time the Foyer exhibition is on the history of chintz and how this traditional Indian fabric became synonymous with English country style. 020-7624 5173 www.decorativefair.com We have teamed up with them to offer you a complimentary email ticket (for two) to the fair. Just email pr@pipparoberts.com

Meuble Paris (22-26 Jan), Le Bourget Exhibition Centre, Paris
Maison et Objet (23-27 Jan), Paris-Nord Villepinte, Paris. Two of the top interior design shows for trade visitors. www.maison-objet.com

Putting on The Glitz: Wallpapers and Wallcoverings with that Extra Something (until Oct 2009), Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester. A look at glamorous wallcoverings from the 18th century to today: decorated leather, metallic finishes, gold and silver leaf and jewelled patterns. For more info call 0161-275 7450 or look up www.manchester.ac.uk

‘Give Me Shelter’ (until Sept 2009), Attingham Park, Shropshire. The stunning Repton landscape park at this National Trust property is hosting an unusual outdoor exhibition of contemporary art. Nine artists have been invited to create a work which explores man’s changing relationship to the natural world. Visitors to the park will come across over-sized bird houses, a Rapunzle-esque tower, a mysterious hide-away in the woods, hundreds of monopoly houses floating on the lake, and more. Call 01743-708162 or visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk

Date in your diary

Watercolours & Drawings Fair (4-8 Feb)
, The Flower Cellars, 4-6 Russell Street, Covent Garden, London WC2 . Several thousand pictures will be for sale, spanning every style and period from the 17th century to the present. Prices from £100 to £100,000. www.watercoloursfair.com

Sales Round Up

This is the month to pick up a bargain from many of the companies on our website. Here are some to check out:

Interior Design Sale (12-16 Jan)
, Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour, London SW10. Up to 80% off selected fabrics and wallcoverings, furniture, lighting, accessories, carpets and rugs. Entry is free. For more information call 020-7225 9101 or www.designcentrechelseaharbour.co.uk

www.andsotobed.co.uk up to 20% off bedsteads, up to 25% off mattresses, up to 50% off discontinued linens and ex-display items.
www.bebitalia.it (until end Jan) up to 15% off new orders and 25% off ex-display furniture in their London showroom
www.thebohemiancompany.com is collecting offers from all parties interested in their sale items until 21 Jan when they will sell the item to the highest bidder to date and deliver it free (to mainland England and Wales).
www.beaumontandfletcher.com (10-31 Jan) 25% to 50% off showroom stock and 20% off new orders of handmade sofas, fabrics and wallpapers, lights and mirrors.
www.buyersandsellersonline.co.uk (until 19 Jan) savings in store on leading brands of household appliances.
www.christopherwray.com (until late Jan) up to 50% off selected lighting and furniture
www.cphart.co.uk (until 31 Jan) up to 40% off Duravit bathroom products and other listed items
www.davidlinley.com (8-31 Jan) up to 50% off selected furniture, sofas, chairs and accessories, up to 30% off ex-display items and 20% off upholstery orders.
www.georgesmith.co.uk (17 Jan-7 Feb) up to 50% off showroom stock, 20% off new furniture orders, 25% off George Smith fabrics
www.kellyhoppen.com up to 75% off selected accessories and up to 60% off selected furniture
www.ligne-roset.co.uk 10% off most of the collection and 15% off all upholstery in Alcantara.
www.okadirect.com (until 22 Jan) online and mail order savings of up to 70% on selected furniture and accessories.
www.ripples.ltd.uk (until 31 Jan) 15% off all products.
www.rogeroates.com (14-31 Jan) online sale with over 50% off selected runners, rugs, fabrics and cushions
www.smallbone.co.uk (until end Jan) savings on new commissions of certain kitchen ranges.
www.sweetpeaandwillow.com special Jan offers on French furniture and lighting
www.walcot.com discounts on all sorts of reclaimed architectural antiques
www.elemental.uk.com lots of reclaimed pieces and antiques reduced by up to 50%, plus a further 5% off online sales using code WS0509

Ask the Experts

Selected from our free Q&A service.

Q. I've been trawling the internet for hours searching for a trompe l'oeil panel. I can’t afford to have one painted specially by a trompe l’oeil artist, but I don’t want a cheap-looking mass produced one.

There’s an innovative young company called Illusions of Grandeur which specialises in digital trompe l’oeil wall and ceiling coverings. They do wall patterns, ceiling roses & borders, and rococo panelling as well as trompe l'oeil murals in a wide variety of period styles. Sizes and colours can be tailored to your requirements. Tel:01483-205007 www.illusionsofgrandeur.co.uk

Sources of the month

Traditional Building Skills Hands-on Courses, Cressing Temple, Braintree, Essex. Essex County Council run a great series of practical courses. Lined up for early 2009 are: Building Recording (28 Jan); Historic Lead (11 Feb), Thatch (18 Feb); Joinery Repair (11 March); Lime Specification (25 March). To book one call 01245-437672 or email Traditional.BuildingSkills@essexcc.gov.uk

New Books

New year, new chapter. For inspiration, look no further than Stafford Cliff’s 1000 Home Ideas, and its companion volume, 1000 Garden Ideas (Quadrille Publishing,). They are packed with inspiring photographs and solutions to almost every decorating/garden dilemma.

To order them at a special price of £16 plus free p&p (usual price £20) please call 01256 302692 and quote ref 1QD  (for Home Ideas or 1QE for Garden Ideas)

Also from Quadrille is a new range of stationery (address book, notebook and cards) in some of Cole & Sons’ famous wallpaper designs. Call 01256 329242 for stockists.