A list of my favourite stores on the High Street for homewares: Part 1 (in no particular order)
I have to admit, before I moved into a place of my own (by that I mean somewhere I rent rather than halls of residence or my parents converted garage) I didn't pay much attention to interior design. My student digs were functional but rarely places to try my hand at new ideas. This was mainly because a) they consisted of only a single room in a shared flat b) and more importantly, I was worried about alcohol stains and cigarette burns.
Since I'm now all grown up and stuff, I've been taking it far more seriously (too seriously the boyfriend would say). So what I thought I'd do was compile a list of some of my favourite homeware shores/places to buy home décor. Some I like to visit purely for inspiration (because I can't afford anything in them I'll be honest) others because they're just so damn cheap and/or great.
In the vast majority you can find something that is reasonably priced, in others you have to keep your eyes out for them in the sales.
I don't think this store needs much of an introduction. If you haven't shopped here, then you at least know of it. For me, the Next Home & Furniture department is my second home. When we moved into this house that we're about to say goodbye to, we were lucky enough to do so just after Christmas and my birthday and so we received quite a few Next vouchers (word got around that this was my favourite store) and half the house is kitted out in Next. It also didn't hurt that the Next Bank Holiday sale also happened to be around our moving in date so we managed to pick up more than we could carry in bargains. I'm a particular fan of the 'latest trends' section of their website where I can look for trends that match my own style as well as trying new styles I'd never have considered.
The White Company
Ok so it's not the most reasonably priced store on my list but the reason I've added it is because I love the their simplicity. The great thing about white is that you can use it as a backdrop for just about anything, despite being a bugger to keep clean. I find it's incredibly calming and I only wish I had more of it.
Launched by Chrissie Rucker in 1994 The White Company started out from Rucker's desire to decorate her then boyfriend's bachelor pad. When she couldn't find good quality white bed linen and tableware that didn't come with a designer price tag, she set up her own company. Now known as the Martha Stewart of the UK, this upmarket home and lifestyle company launched its first flagship store in US on 5th Avenue in June. My favourites include their simple duvet covers and scented candles.
TKMaxx was founded in the US and opened its doors here in the UK in 1994 in Bristol. TK Maxx is part of the US retail group TJX Companies. It's essentially an off-price retailer which means that it sells designer items at up to 60% less. They buy from all kinds of vendors, big names and designer labels, top brands, up-and-coming labels and vendors, according to their website. With sometimes daily deliveries to stores, what I love is that every time I go in there, there's something new to discover hence why it's become so popular for bargain hunters.
Of all the homewares stores, this is my absolute favourite (sorry John Lewis). Like TKMaxx, HomeSense sells branded homewares at up to 60% less than the RRP. What I love about Homesense is that every time I go in there I discover something new. It's like an Aladdin's cave of treasures. I always enter just to browse and come away with the most random items, usually things I don't need. Part of its appeal is that I know if I don't buy something there and then, it won't be there when I go back. Not great for my purse but very savvy of the company.
Founder Olly opened his first store in 1993 and now have 63 stores across the UK including two in Manchester city centre alone. Oliver Bonas sells a medley of clothes, quirky jewellery and lovely pieces for the home. I'm a particular fan of Oliver Bonas' dining ware, with their range of unique plates, bowls, cups and glasses that really stand out.
I love giving Oliver Bonas as gifts for my loved ones. My mum received one of their cake stands for Christmas last year from me, my sister their espresso cups and my boyfriends mum a teapot mug. I'll also be gifting a few items from here again this year.
Jumping from the higher budget range to something far more reasonable, George Home is an absolute must if you're on a limited budget. Whenever I'm looking for some new cheap furniture or even just an on-trend piece that I don't need to last for decades, the first place I try is George Home. Their furniture range is so affordable, I know shopping there isn't going to bankrupt me.
What is great about Dunelm is that it's just so damn reasonable. It's my go-to shop when I'm looking for something that's lovely whilst at the same time reasonably priced. I was introduced by Dunelm Mill (as it was once called) by my sister when she moved into her first flat. She was on a tight budget and was looking to decorate her flat without denting her student budget. The store we went to was pretty small but there seemed to be a vast choice and since then it's seemed to have really grown its presence on the High Street. When I moved into my first rented house with the boyfriend this was one of the first places I started looking.
Maisons du Monde
Ok so I've cheated a little with this one. No technically on the High Street, this is for UK shoppers at least, mainly based online but I couldn't not include it because I love, love, love Maisons du Monde. It speaks to my style and taste and they always have something I'm wanting to buy. They're very affordable. What I think is great about theirr website is that you can search by style or by inspiration which many homewares shops are now doing, so you can see what the piece you're after looks like with other similar styles.
As the title suggests they're a French brand who are relatively new to the market. As far as I'm aware, in the UK at least, they don't have any stores, you order all online but their website is easy to navigate and what you lose in not being able to physically see and touch what you're buying, you make up for in having something very few others in the UK have.
So there we have it, 8 of my favourite stores for homewares on the High Street (and online). Next week I'll bring you more of my favourites so stay posted.