Furniture Industry Guide

Chairs and a table

Here you will find sources of information such as market research (statistics, trends and developments), key companies, trade magazines, newsletters, and Internet sources.

This guide will be useful to anyone starting a business within the furniture industry and also for those wanting to further their knowledge within this area.

Start-Up Information

COBRA logo
accessible via electronic databases
The Cobra database contains practical fact-sheets on all aspects of starting, running and managing a small business – including information on writing business plans, marketing, company structures etc.

It also covers the practical aspects of how to start and run particular types of businesses – outlining necessary skills, regulations, licences and legislation etc. and highlights other sources of information and advice available.

Business Opportunity Profiles (BOP) 

Antique Furniture Restorer  BOP028 
Curtain and Soft Furnishings Maker  BOP059 
Handmade Furniture Maker  BOP013 
Interior Designer  BOP154 
Removal Firm  BOP036 
Second-hand Furniture Retailer  BOP572 
Upholstery Service  BOP148 

Mini BOP

Architectural Salvage Dealer  MBP293 
Bedroom Designer  MBP183 
Cabinet Maker  MBP426 
Furniture Stripper   MBP345 
Garden Furniture designer and Manufacturer  MBP357 
Temporary Furniture Rental  MBP314 

Small Business Help Books 

This is a collection of books with practical information for those starting and running a business. Located in the Business & IP Centre.

Boss Life: Surviving My Own Business by Paul Downs [SBH.STAR.18]
A Forbes Best Business Book of the Year, 2015. Paul Downs has been running his custom furniture business for twenty-four years and paints an honest portrait of a real business, with a real boss, a real set of employees, and the real challenges they face.

Interior Design: A Professional Guide by Jenny Grove [SBH.BT.162]
A “benchmark book” which encourages interior designers to raise their professional status and offers their clients an insight into the complex profession of modern interior design. It demystifies what an interior designer does, and showcases the range of skills that interior designers can bring to a project to help achieve a successful outcome.

Other books within the British Library’s collection

These books can be ordered via Explore the British Library.

Interior Design Business Handbook by Mary V Knackstedt [YK.2002.B.5105]
Discover how you can run the practical side of your practice more profitably. This comprehensive guide to managing an interior design business gives you an arsenal of proven procedures and practical tools and techniques perfected over the course of some thirty years. 

Professional Practice for Interior Designers by Christine M. Piotrowski [93/05308 DSC]
The text of choice for professional interior design practice and a leading choice for educators for teaching interior design business practice. This book covers skills needed for planning and maintaining a thriving interior design business, presented in the clear, easy–to–follow style.

A HouseBeautiful Home Business by Emma Jones [YK.2014.A.11771]
With clear steps, useful links and expert advice A House Beautiful Home Business is an essential guide for anyone who has a passion, skill or hobby for interiors and an interest in turning this into a business. 

Market Research & Statistics 

If you are planning on starting a business you will need to be aware of the latest trends, developments and opportunities within your industry which can all be found from market research.

Market research also covers market size and forecasts, consumer demographics and attitudes, the key players and products and will often include SWOT and PEST analysis showing areas of strength, weakness, opportunities etc. 

GlobalData logo

  • Bedroom Furniture
  • Dining Room Furniture
  • Furniture and Floor Coverings 2019 – 2024
  • Home Décor and Accessories 2019 – 2024
  • Kitchen Furniture
  • Living Room Furniture

IBISWorld logo

  • Carpet Rug and Curtain
  • Carpet & Rug Manufacturing
  • Furniture, Carpet & Lighting Wholesaling
  • Furniture & Home Furnishings Repair
  • Furniture, Lighting & Home ware Retailers
  • Household Textile & Soft Furnishings Manufacturing
  • Kitchen Furniture Manufacturing
  • Mattress Manufacturing
  • Office Furniture Wholesaling
  • Office & Shop Furniture Manufacturing
  • Online Home Furnishing Retailing
  • Other Furniture Manufacturing

Mintel logo

  • Accessorising the Home
  • Bathroom And Bathroom Accessories
  • Buying for the Home Online
  • Bedrooms and Bedroom Furniture
  • Carpets and Floor Coverings
  • Consumer Trends, Attitudes and Spending Habits for the Home
  • Customer Journey for the Home
  • Furniture Retailing
  • Homewares
  • Kitchens & Kitchen Furniture
  • Living & Dining Room Furniture 
  • Shopping for the Home at Christmas
  • Small Domestic Appliances

Passport logo

  • Home and Garden in the United Kingdom (reports also available for other countries)
  • Home Furnishings in the United Kingdom (reports also available for other countries)

Business News & Journals

In order to find the latest news on your topic it is always worth searching Factiva, Business Source Complete and EMIS.

You will find articles from specialist business and academic journals, as well as newspapers and magazines. You may also find market research reports and case studies. As well as profiles of leading industry figures.

You will also find articles covering recent developments, and predicting future trends in your industry.

Trade Magazines and Newsletters

Useful for gaining inside knowledge, recent trends, industry news, company profiles, reviews of new products and services. Some contain annual reviews and company contact lists. Ordered via Explore the British Library (please ask for help).

Bed Times (International Sleep Products Association, monthly) [(P) WL 87 – E(1)] (available in the Social Sciences Reading Room) 
A Global business journal for the sleep products industry since 1917. 

Bathroom & Kitchen Update (Datateam, monthly) [(P) WK 21 – E(6)] (available in the Social Sciences Reading Room) 
Contains news and articles on the kitchen and appliances industry in the UK.

Cabinet Maker (Manning Publishing Ltd, weekly) [available onsite via the Business Source Complete electronic resource] 
Trade publication aimed at small cabinet manufacturer. Covers the kitchen and commercial market.

Furniture and Cabinetmaking (GMC Publications Ltd, monthly) [ZK.9.b.10338] (must be ordered using Explore the British Library).
Includes news and features as well as equipment test reports. Includes up-and-coming designers and the latest trends. 

Furniture Production (Nigel Gearing, monthly) [(P) WL 00 - E(19)] (available in the Social Sciences Reading Room)
Includes news and features on different aspects of the industry. Includes websites relevant to the industry and British-made machinery.

Furniture World (Towse Publishing Co., monthly) [(P) WL 00 – E (13)] (available in the Social Sciences Reading Room) 
US-based trade magazine aimed at furniture and home furnishings retailers. Features industry news and articles on sales, marketing and operations.

In. Design Magazine (Corporate Image Media, monthly) [(P) 338.761729 - E (1) BUS] (available in the Business & IP Centre) 
Buyers’ magazine for interior design products including luxury items, lighting, kitchens, furniture windows and bathrooms. 

Interiors Monthly (Interiors Media Ltd.) [(P) 338.45645094105 - E (1) BUS] (available in the Business & IP Centre) 
UK business to business magazine for the residential interiors market. Includes market updates, industry events, trends and advice on the furniture and flooring industry.


Contain lists of companies and industry contacts. Some have annual industry reviews, and specialist articles.
Bathroom & Kitchens Update: Handbook & Buyers Guide (Datateam) [(B) DIR 643.3 BUS] (available in the Business & IP Centre)
Includes listing of kitchen and bathroom furniture suppliers as well as heating, tiling, sanitary ware and related products and services.

Blinds & Shutters: Buyers Guide (Turret Group) [(B) DIR 690.18202541 BUS] (available in the Business & IP Centre)
Reference source for buyers of blinds, shutters, awnings and grilles, finished products, components and the machinery used in manufacturing.

Department Store Yearbook (Hollis) [(B) DIR 381.141102541 BUS] (available in the Business & IP Centre) 
Essential guide for department store buyers and decision makers.

Design Insider: Official Directory of the BCFA and the IDA (Agency Publicom) [ZK.9.b.32108] (must be ordered using Explore the British Library) 
Annual publication showcasing work by members of the British Contract Furnishing Association and the Interior Design Association. 

Interior Design Yearbook (Onecoms)[(B) DIR 729.014797103 BUS] (Available in the Business & IP Centre) 
Interior design yearbook for designers and other interior professionals.

Internet Sources

Websites containing free sources of industry statistics, information and contacts.


Lists antique dealers and fairs. Searchable by region. 

Association of Art and Antique Dealers

Includes lists of members in the UK and overseas, advice on the care of antique furniture and links to related sites. 

Association of Master Upholsterers & Soft Furnishers

Includes directory of association members and details of professional seminars and training. Also provides consumer advice and a section on the job market. 

British Antiques Dealers Association (BADA) 

Includes lists of BADA members (mostly UK) who deal in antique furniture.  

British Antiques Furniture Restorers’ Association (BAFRA) 

Includes list of BAFRA members with contact details.  

British Contract Furnishing Association (BCFA) 

Provides news and reports for the furniture industry. Includes searchable database of manufacturers.  

British furniture Manufacturers (BFM)

Website of the largest trade association for furniture manufacturers in the UK. Includes a directory which can be searched by style of furniture, materials used, market sectors and target markets.

British Woodworking Federation (BWF)

Trade body for the woodworking sector. Offers advice, support & information to members as well as guidance for end customers.  

Chartered Society of Designers (CSD) 

World’s largest chartered body of professional designers with members in 33 companies. Represents designers in all disciplines and is the leading authority on professional design practice.  


A popular architecture and design magazine, attracting over 3 million visitors a month. It curates the best architecture, design and interiors projects and news from around the world. It also contains information about jobs and internship opportunities within design and architecture.  

The Furniture Industry Research Association (FIRA)

Furniture industry association which provides information and support to the entire furniture supply chain, across all sectors. Website includes Knowledge hub which includes news and industry standards information.  

Furniture Makers Company 

Long-established craft guild whose mission is to promote and develop the design, making and selling of furniture in the United Kingdom, and its global marketing.  

Furniture World Magazine

Website of Furniture World Magazine Designed for furniture world retailers, the site includes lists of manufacturers (with an American and Canadian bias) and links to exhibition websites worldwide.  

The Guild of Master Craftsmen

UK trade association which aims to ensure the safeguarding of interests of both craftsmen and the public - ensuring the public receive a premium service from recommended tradesmen.
Website includes business advice for craftsmen as well as advice for consumers and list of members.

Please note that every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, however some recently acquired items may since have been added to the collection. Please ask for help at the enquiry desk or check the online catalogue Explore the British Library for more details.

Images by All Day Kenny K and Eero Saarinen under a Creative Commons license