Innovation in surface materials is the focus of the Surface Design Show 2024, with this year’s theme centring on Mindful Living. Its chosen charity partner for this year is Furnishing Futures, an innovative charity founded by interior stylist, writer, and social worker Emily Wheeler.

Furnishing Futures focuses on creating beautifully designed, fully furnished healing homes for women and children who have suffered from Domestic Abuse. After escaping domestic abuse these individuals often find themselves in social housing without basic amenities, such as flooring or white goods. The charity addresses this critical gap by partnering with the interiors industry to repurpose good quality ex-display items, returns, props, or donated furnishings. Through this sustainable approach, the charity transforms empty spaces with these items into beautiful, fully furnished homes that help people heal.

Based in Leyton in East London, Furnishing Futures works closely with specialist domestic abuse services and grassroots organisations, taking referrals to ensure their support reaches those who need it the most.

Furnishing Futures is proud to claim that it is the only furnishing project in the UK to create trauma-informed healing homes, fully furnishing and decorating homes at no cost to their beneficiaries. This includes flooring, painting and white goods.

Trauma-informed design is used to create healing, restorative spaces that nurture and uplift women and children who have experienced domestic abuse or the impact of poverty. Biophilic, evidence-based design principles are also used to harness the healing power of natural light, shapes and materials to create healthy, healing homes, centred on beneficiaries' needs. The charity work in partnership with the beneficiaries to give them choices about the furniture they have and the way their home is decorated. Having a beautifully furnished home raises self-esteem, alleviates stress and can help break the cycle of poverty for the most vulnerable women and children as well as increasing their safety.

“Through our partnership with Surface Design Show we hope to strengthen our industry partnerships, enabling us to support more families with comfortable homes, while protecting the environment," says Emily Wheeler. "We're really looking forward to seeing how our partnership develops."