What to Expect When You Visit Grand Designs Live

A few weeks ago I visited Grand Designs Live at the Birmingham NEC. It’s a show I love, having visited before and always look forward to the innovations, the setup and of course, Kevin McCloud. 

If you’re planning a home renovation or build, or simply want some ideas for your next decorating project, the show is packed with on-trend and up to date inspiration. 

I was particularly keen to see what was being done in the area of sustainability and Kevin McCloud didn’t disappoint me. 

Keep reading to see a few highlights from my day, and take a look at what you might expect from your visit to Grand Designs Live. 

Grand Designs Live Birmingham NEC 2019

My first stop was to see Kevin himself interviewing one of the home owners featured in the tv show, talking through their experiences, their build and what it meant to them. 

I love Kevin’s enthusiasm and charm, his warmth and experience as well as his extensive knowledge of house building and architecture. He makes it accessible to the many, even if we don’t all have the budgets to build our own homes – the programme shows us what could be possible and how innovation and big dreams make it a reality. 

I’ve always been fascinated by the work involved in managing a build and have enormous respect for anyone willing to take it on. The show doesn’t shy away from truthful storytelling making it all the more compelling. 

Seeing Kevin talk about the process with the featured guests was a real thrill. 

If you plan to visit the show, ensure you check out the timetable of talks and workshops before you go, particularly if you want to catch Kevin or anyone else specific. 

Eco-Friendly Home Renovations

It’s important to consider the eco-friendliness and sustainability value of items we put into our homes

I’d already read that Grand Designs Live at Birmingham would feature several eco-friendly products and was very excited to see these. I wasn’t disappointed. 

Kevin McCloud’s Green Heroes celebrates the best conceptual and eco-friendly construction ideas. Kevin personally selects his top heroes for each show, from small-scale start-ups to big businesses setting a green example for the rest of the industry.

Chair Charlie is part of ecoBirdy’s four-piece debut collection entirely made of recycled plastic. Charlie is a vivid eye-catcher as well as being a recognizable product of recycling: a conscious choice of the designers to make waste material look like something beautiful. 

Under The Stairs Decorating Projects:

Several different interior designers were tasked with creating a design which made use of the dead space often found under the stairs in our homes

They were all featured at Grand Designs Live, having a chance to win the Best Designed competition. 

Whilst the rest of the show tends to focus on architecture and exterior design of your home, or the hardware for kitchens and bathrooms, it was great to see some styling and interior design ideas as well. 

With the increasing trend towards smaller homes every bit of space needs to be put to use.  This is a really fun and interesting challenge and I am looking forward to seeing how the entrants solve some of the related practical problems and the creative ideas that emerge. – Jenny Gibbs, KLC School of Design

Here are my favourites:

I’m sure you’ll agree, there’s something here for everyone. From a Gin Bar to stylish shoe storage, to colourful hideaway, there’s so much inspiration for the dark and dismal space under your stairs. I was blown away by these designs. x

So what can you expect if you visit Grand Designs Live in 2020?

From the main exhibition where all the retailers showcase their products to help with your home renovation to the Grand Theatre where you can see Kevin McCloud and a host of industry experts live on stage, and finally to the Ask An Expert area, where you get to speak to one of the GDL experts about your own Grand Design. 

There’s a wealth of knowledge, information and bargains to be had when you visit, so it’s well worth it. 

If you would love to experience the show for yourself, Grand Designs Live will return to London’s ExCeL from 2 – 10 May 2020. Find out more at www.granddesignslive.com

Collaborative Post – thanks for supporting the brands that make the blog possible. 

Jen Stanbrook
Jen Stanbrook

Jen is an award winning digital publisher and has been creating interiors and home decor content for over 10 years.
She has an insatiable love of home interiors, has worked with hundreds of brands, and currently supports many bloggers within the creative industries to share their expertise through writing.
She spends most of her time in her little garden office pod, has 2 daughters and 2 (fighting) cats.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram


  1. Antonia Ludden
    November 4, 2019 / 4:51 pm

    Oh I love the understairs ideas! We’ve got a boring old loo under ours so these are great!

  2. Emily Gilbert
    November 5, 2019 / 5:16 am

    Wow! This looks like a great cosy idea for my house as well!

  3. CER Custom Renovations
    November 6, 2019 / 3:33 pm

    I love this!

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