After a 2020 hiatus courtesy of COVID-19, the Colorado Garden Foundation’s Colorado Fall Home Show is back with a three-day event (September 17–19) at the Colorado Convention Center—the venue’s first consumer show since the pandemic began. Celebrating its 12th year, the show will feature more than 200 exhibitors with design ideas for every space in the house. Here, Jim Fricke, the Colorado Garden Foundation’s executive director, shares four reasons to turn off Pinterest and head downtown this weekend:

Your house needs help. At each year’s show, Fricke spots attendees strolling the aisles with house plans in hand, sourcing products and services for new homes. But the majority of visitors, he says, are looking to improve the place they’re in. And this year should be no exception. “After spending a lot more time at home than usual, you certainly start to see things that you want to be different,” he says, noting that home offices, space-maximizing solutions, and sustainability have been top of mind for consumers over the past 18 months.

But 2020 ushered in another trend that’s affecting home design in Denver: a hot real-estate market marked by low inventory and rising prices. “People aren’t selling their homes and moving because it’s very difficult to do in Denver at this point in time,” Fricke says. “Instead, they’re saying, ‘Let’s get this update done for us because we could potentially be here for three to five years or even longer.’”

Whether your update is a new kitchen countertop, solar panels, or synthetic turf, this year’s show has it covered, with more than 200 vendors and exhibitors offering solutions for every space in, on, and around the house.

The show provides a wealth of fresh design ideas—and the opportunity to touch and feel products from local sources. Photo courtesy of the Colorado Garden Foundation

You’ve got ideas, but you need advice. Houzz, Pinterest, and Instagram are great sources of renovation inspiration, but it takes in-person connections to bring those visions to life. “Use the show as an opportunity to bring those ideas with you and say, ‘This is what I’m thinking, is it feasible in my home?’ ” Fricke recommends. “The show provides an experience where homeowners can get out there and comparison shop. You can visit four different companies in an hour and touch and feel the product itself.” Fricke recommends bringing plans or even photos of a space or problem area so you can get the solutions you need.

At the American Society of Interior Designers’ booth (#629), local design pros will be on hand to answer questions and talk trends. “To be able to bounce your questions off of them and get some free advice is a great opportunity,” Fricke says. “And maybe it goes beyond that: If their ideas resonate, you can say, ‘Let’s take this further and have you come out to see my house.’ ”

More than 200 interactive booths will line the Colorado Convention Center’s aisles. Photo courtesy of the Colorado Garden Foundation

Winter is coming. It’s hard to think about winterizing your home with temperatures hovering around 90 degrees, but many of this year’s exhibitors are planning ahead—with roofing, window, HVAC, and even fireplace and spa solutions for the cold-weather months—and you should be too, Fricke says. “Companies are busier than ever, so if you want to get something done in time for winter, you had better start planning now,” he says. “If you come down and meet four or five companies and you want to get several bids, that process takes time, as does ordering products to do the job, waiting for delivery, and finally, getting the work done.”

You like giving back. It’s a little-known fact that all the money the Colorado Garden Foundation makes from its home shows—the Colorado Garden & Home Show will return in February 2022—goes right back to the state in the form of scholarships and grants. “The two shows are our fundraisers, which allow us to provide about $750,000 per year in horticulture scholarships and grants,” Fricke says. Approximately $200,000 goes to scholarships, including four, four-year, full-ride scholarships at Colorado State University. The remainder goes to grants for projects statewide, including school greenhouses, community gardens, and horticulture-therapy projects with Craig Hospital. To date, the shows have generated more than $11 million in scholarships and grants—“so not only are you finding what you need for your house,” Fricke says, “but you’re also assured that the money you pay for admission is going right back into the State of Colorado.”

The 2021 Colorado Fall Home Show runs Friday, September 17 through Sunday, September 19. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $10 per adult and $8 per senior. Kids 12 and younger are free. The show is located at the Colorado Convention Center, 700 14th Street, Denver; for more information and tickets, visit