This week the nation’s favourite bargain home store IKEA launched a new app. The app allows customers to pick an item from their catalogue and see how it will look in their very own homes, using a smart phone’s camera. The app works by placing an IKEA catalogue in the place they want the piece of furniture to go, this catalogue then acts as a scaling device before presenting the item in the room, true to scale, through the camera.
As well as IKEA, the high street has many other fantastic bargain home stores on offer and our Homes Editor, Alison Davidson is w&h’s very own thrifty interior shopper. Here’s a selection of some of her other personal favourites…
A relative newcomer to the UK, this wonderful store has beautiful bed linen, lights, lamps, vases and is generally awash with home wares you will want instantly to brighten and liven up your home. Their kitchen section is also very good as is their instore cafe. In their Tottenham Court Road branch, West Elm offer services where customers can partner on complimentary design consultations and space planning sessions. They also host regular workshops and classes to take your interior skills to the next level.
This place is a complete treasure trove of interior delights that you won’t find anywhere else, mostly because the people here spend a lot of time uncovering new and established artisans around the world. Be warned that anthropologie stores are highly addictive and you need lots of time to devour all the wonderful things encased in their beautifully styled shops. They also sell lots of clothes, shoes and jewellery so you will need to be strict with your budget.
Did you know that French Connection make amazing home and interior products? It’s often not even visible in their high street shops but homewares are wonderful and available online. Check out their beautiful gold, origami lightshade and smoky looking ‘Married bookshelf’ now reduced in the sale. Time to grab a very stylish bargain!
Sometimes hard to find, but definitely worth nipping in when you find a store with homewares. If you can get past all the great fashion that is! They are always on trend, with lots of great pieces that don’t cost the earth, so you can update your home cheaply with a vase, cushion, bath mat or shower curtain. Worth checking out at sale times too, I bought a fab Santa cushion for a £1 last year, that I will bring out year after year.
Heavy on the soft furnishings and with a big Dorma bedlinen presence in most stores. Ready-made curtains, curtain poles, artwork, duvets and pillows, china, glassware, vases, lighting and a huge range of cookshop and laundry items. If they don’t stock it, it probably doesn’t exist. They are now also selling great furniture in stylish designs in current colours. Good coffee shops to take a breather in between browsing too.
Once you have been, you won’t be able to stop! Imagine TK Maxx but for homeware. Designer brands at knock-down prices such as Donna Karan towels, Gordon Ramsay china and Le Crueset cookware. Harlequin and Christy towels and bedlinen, so if you are short of sheets or bath mats, its the place to go. They also have glassware, vases, candles, lighting, artwork, rugs, furniture, even garden pieces and some toiletries. I guarantee you will come out with something!
The warehouse-style look of these stores might put you off, but they have a huge range including paint, faux flowers, picture frames, artwork, home accessories, lighting, vases and even stationery. hey sell garden furniture and accessories, mirrors, arts and crafts materials and even wedding bits and pieces. They tend to be out of town, so it might take a special trip, but worth the effort. Great at Christmas time too for those finishing touches.
These stores seemed to pop up out of nowhere! If you have a teenager, you are bound to have been in one. A mix of IKEA and Muji with a huge range of stationery, picture frames, and fun little things that kids love. And if you need a present for someone and don’t want to spend a fortune, its a great place to go. Office stuff, personal care, kitchen stuff, a good range of coloured candles, small storage pieces, notebooks, cheap reading glasses. You are bound to find something you like.
Sometimes you just can’t beat something that you know delivers everytime you go there. IKEA has always aspired to be the one-stop shop for home essentials and has earned a place in the nation’s hearts with its simple products.
Want more advice from Alison? Pick up w&h September now. She’s sharing her best ever homes tips, plus enjoy 25% at the Holding Company.