We are very blessed with the variety of shops we have on the British High Street, and though we’re sure to see change happen to our current retail market following the UK’s exit from the EU, I am delighted that we currently have a number of fantastic places to hunt for fabulous treasures for our homes. As an interior designer, I’m often asked by friends and acquaintances about my favourite places to shop for modern home goods, so today I’m sharing six of my current must-visit shopping destinations. They make my heart flutter and are my go-to places when putting together a design scheme for a client. In other words, they all get the Smartstyle seal of approval!
Heal's opened its doors for the very first time way back in 1810 and has been providing beautiful design for the discerning home owner ever since. Despite their legacy, they remain cool and cutting-edge and are a definite go-to for the cream of the crop in furniture and homeware. I’m delighted by the contrast between the slick products and the classic Tottenham Court Road exterior and could spend hours wandering around the expansive space as something special is around every corner. In many ways, visiting Heal's feels like visiting a design museum and I love taking in the layout as much as I love ogling the wonderful products by the likes of Tom Dixon, Vitra and many many more.
West Elm is a US import that sits within the Williams-Sonoma retail family and is still quite new to the UK, with only one location on Tottenham Court Road. Their products are of great quality and are priced really well; this is especially wonderful as West Elm truly nails the cool retro look that everyone is so thirsty for at the moment. Right now, it’s definitely one of my favourite shops to step into and, as it’s full of so many temptations, I find it difficult to not spoil myself a bit every time I visit.
Though West Elm currently only has one location in the UK, you can also purchase through their online store. However, I’d like to note that because West Elm’s customer service is based in the US, fulfilling online orders is sometimes a little bit tricky. If you’re after something specific online and want to make sure your delivery process is as painless as possible, I suggest phoning the store and ordering through them directly.
In the years since the recession, Habitat has been on a bit of a roller coaster. That being said, they’ve recently been gathering the troops and are bouncing back with some amazing collections, including their recent collaboration with Henry Holland which has launched them into a new and exciting time. Earlier this year, I was lucky enough to view their stunningly colourful Autumn/Winter 2016 collection, which will be hitting stores in September. I was especially taken with the ceramics and am finding it difficult to have to wait until the leaves go red and start dropping from the trees to finally get my hands on it. This next collection is a true stunner and I think we’ll be seeing many Habitat pieces again taking an iconic role in the home.
Anthropologie is another American company and, much like it’s parent company, Urban Outfitters, it uniquely– and beautifully– blends fashion and homewares. Anthropologie first hit the UK shores a few years ago and they're just now starting to spread out to more locations outside the capital. I often visit their Kings Road location as it's an absolute haven of fun. Though they don’t have much furniture, Anthropologie is a great place to source vibrant finishings, rugs, and kitchen accessories like coasters and hand towels. I love their bohemian vibe and bold displays and find that I can usually source something special for just about every home when I visit.
This department store often gets overlooked when it comes to interiors, but I beg you to think (and look!) again. Though their website is a bit difficult to navigate, I urge you to step away from the screen and visit them in person. In store, they do a great job of embracing the mood of the home owner and deliver some truly stunning stuff. Yet again, I was lucky to view their Autumn/Winter 2016 collection earlier this year and a great deal of it put a big smile on my face. I especially encourage you to keep an eye out for their Living by Christiana Lemieux brand as it has a very retro vibe that blends really well with West Elm’s offerings.
HAY is a sexy Danish company and has one the coolest collection of furniture and homewares out of anyone at the moment. Though I’ve been aware of the brand through other stores carrying their pieces, actually visiting the shop offers a whole new experience and was one of the design highlights of my year. Their flagship UK store is based in Bath, which wasn’t a particularly easy visit for a Tunbridge Willian like myself, but I’m hoping their popularity will lure them a bit closer to London.
Once I made it to the store, I could have spent hours oohing and ahhing over their gorgeous furniture, beautiful glassware, and eye-catching ceramics. And don’t get me started on their seemingly never-ending accessories! Never before have I seen a pair of scissors that looked so slick! Luckily for those of us in the UK, their products are available from Amara Living, but I can only imagine how much richer my life would be if they found a home on the Tunbridge Wells High Street!
Do you have a favourite High Street destination for home design? I'd love to hear all about it in the comments!