The 50 best interiors shops
'A visit to Oka will leave even the pokiest bedsit decked out like a comfortable Cotswold pile'
3 October 2014 12:00pm
AG Hendy & Co Home Store
Ever fancied stepping downstairs at Downton? With brushes, enamelware and china in the kitchen, and vintage tools in the utility area, this outfit apes prewar hardware-store style.
36 High Street, Hastings, East Sussex
Alfies Antique Market
Set aside a full day to browse the four floors of this central London stalwart. It is strong on 20th-century design, and there is a haphazard, car-boot-sale feel to the place, as if you might stumble upon a gem and often you do.
13-25 Church Street, London NW8
Dont panic, Alternative Flooring isnt too alternative. Stocked nationwide, including at John Lewis stores, it is particularly good for natural floor coverings. Sisal, jute and seagrass matting are on offer, at reasonable prices.
Mark and Sally Bailey say they love things that are well designed, well made and not too complicated or fussy old or new, which sums up the look of their ever-evolving stock of apple crates, recycled-wood bath trays and distressed metal furniture. Its a rustic, eco affair
Whitecross Farm, Bridstow, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire
Bert & May
We adore this tile shop, which runs the gamut from reclaimed Victorian to a modern twist on Moroccan encaustic tiles. Theres a good eye at work in this east London space, with no dud designs among the stacks of tiles, and if you cant find an old design you like, they can distress brand-new tiles for you.
67 Vyner Street, London E2
Bert & May splashback
Blodwens General Stores
Theres no smarter way to stay warm in the winter months than under a traditional Welsh blanket. The bold, geometric patterns might look modern, but theyre based on designs woven in the valleys since the 18th
The simple lines and solid craftsmanship of a Plain English kitchen are what those in the know hanker after, but they dont come cheap. Thats where its sister company, British Standard, comes in. Simple instructions walk you through how to measure up, design, order, collect and fit its no-frills wooden cupboards and worktops.
41 Hoxton Square, London N1
Ready-made curtains sound like a disaster, but Caravanes are both understated and chic. As you might expect from the London outpost of a hit Parisian store.
38-40 New Cavendish Street, London W1
Caravane Sagar fabric
The megalith of kitsch homeware needs no introduction. Some might argue that its ubiquitous, and theres no doubt Cath K has conquered the world. We say theres nothing wrong with that when the bright oilcloths pack a punch.
Branches nationwide, and a factory shop at 1A Alpha Drive, Eaton Socon, Cambridgeshire
Youll keep a rug with you forever, however many times you move, so its a good investment. Christopher Farrs collection with Gary Hume is the closest most of us will come to owning a piece of YBA art.
6 Burnsall Street, London SW3
Christopher Farr Platonism rug
The Cloth Shop
The new collection of washed linens in 10 spot-on, low-key colours is reason enough to visit this temple to cloth. Cotton prints, wools, muslins and, crucially, double-width fabrics for curtains can be found here, as well as a selection of blankets and pots.
290 Portobello Road, London W10
Cole & Son
Paint dominates over wallpaper these days, but for a small space, such as an understairs loo, something bold and colourful from Cole is a realistic option. Try Macchine Volanti, a riot of hot-air balloons from its Fornasetti collection, or Vivienne Westwoods Squiggle.
Unit 10G, Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, London SW10
The Conran Shop
Conrans position in postwar design cant be overestimated. Where others might have run out of steam after so long, it powers on under Sir Terences son Jasper, who has injected new life into the stores since taking charge in 2012. Its still the place to go for modern furniture but its the kitchenware we lust after.
81 Fulham Road, London SW3, and 55 Marylebone High Street, London W1
David Village Lighting
Sheffield shoppers are spoiled for choice at this showroom of ultra-modern lighting, including Foscarini and Artemide. It also offers a full home-lighting design service.
180 West Street, Sheffield
Design Centre Chelsea Harbour
A Mecca for interior designers, the 100 showrooms at DCCH also welcome the general public. Fabrics are a particular strength. Our favourite is Tissus dHlne, but other options include Colefax and Fowler, Lewis & Wood and Turnell & Gigon.
Lots Road, London SW10
Dickinsons Period House Shops
Sticklers for period detail will appreciate the Bakelite light switches and replica Victorian airing racks at these two Shropshire shops. If they havent got what youre after, their experienced restorers will help you hunt it down.
141 Corve Street, Ludlow, and 65 Wyle Cop, Shrewsbury
Rock-bottom prices for salvage before it gets cleaned up for the urban market lure intrepid shoppers to this reclamation yard. Subscribers to its mailing list receive notice of the best finds before theyve even been removed from demolition sites.
Station Goods Yard, Station Road, Burgess Hill, West Sussex
Fired Earth Factory Shop
Sort your bathroom and kitchen in one fell swoop at this factory shop. Lavatories, basins, baths, taps and tiles are stylish and well made rather than revolutionary. Modish metro tiles abound.
Twyford Mill, Oxford Road, Adderbury, Oxfordshire
Dont let the name fool you into thinking that this online shop caters only for outdoors. As well as smart garden furniture and tools, there are simple items for stylish indoor organisation in natural colours and materials. Think wooden drying racks and powder-coated steel storage bins for every conceivable domestic need. Warehouse sales take place three times a year.
Mahogany furniture is deeply unfashionable at the moment, so invest now in solidly built pieces in mint condition at this 50,000sq ft former whisky bond in Leith.
10 Pattison Street, Leith Links, Edinburgh
Gods Own Junkyard
If its neon, lights up and looks quirky, chances are its the work of Chris Bracey, whos been in the neon sign business for 37 years. Long enough to have changed a lot of flashing lightbulbs.
Unit 12 Ravenswood Industrial Estate, London E17
Of the furniture chains, Habitat carries the largest stock, and with concessions in Homebase is hugely accessible. Classic stackable dining-chairs and clever storage options have a Scandi feel.
Ultra cool Danish design brand HAY has a pop-up store in Bath. Currently in collaboration with cool Scandi clothes store COS, its design philosophy is rooted in democracy. You can kit out every inch of your house with HAY - from kitchen bits and bobs to storage solutions and you can even customize your own lamps.
36-37 Milsom St, Bath BA1 1DN,
We get the feeling that the Heals design team has thought about how most of us actually live, assembling pieces that they themselves want. The result is an intelligently curated collection, cleverly displayed.
Six branches nationwide and online.
Whats not to love about lights that look far more expensive than they are? Kit your house out at this endlessly inspiring shop, with the sort of pieces your friend with the impeccably interior-designed house might find, from lanterns to picture lights to table lamps.
90 Wandsworth Bridge Road, London SW6
Bargain-bucket prices for colourful, well-designed basics from this Holland-based megalith.
Branches in London, Bromley and Kingston upon Thames.
Ten thousand stalls selling every type of antique under the sun, at 29 events each year. Newark and Ardingly are our pick of the five locations, though Shepton Mallet has the advantage of being at the weekend.
Were convinced that food tastes better eaten off one of Julian Sainsburys handmade classical dinner plates with their smart cobalt-blue line around the rim. Guest artists are invited to produce distinctive one-off collections.
By combining showroom with restaurant, the Oxfordshire outpost of this architectural-salvage outfit repeats the trick of its Vauxhall location. It is also the place to find unusual items, such as a Victorian pulpit, among the fittings, fixtures and furniture.
London Road, Milton Common, Oxfordshire
Looking Glass of Bath
Thirty-five years and still going strong Mirrors large and small, old and new are what this Bath institution, with its bright-blue faade, does best. It will also make pieces to commission and can antique a piece of new mirror glass cut to fit a particular spot.
96 Walcot Street, Bath
The Lollipop Shoppe
Find big names at this big-hitter on the design-shop scene, which now has a brand-new space on Brighton seafront. Lighting and table settings with a strong modern aesthetic rub shoulders with Danish mid-century chairs from the likes of Carl Hansen. The whole lot is simply but beautifully curated.
54-55 Kings Road Arches, Brighton
Marks & Spencer
It might be best known for being the nations underwear provider, but lets not forget that M&S is also pretty strong on the furniture front. From the new autumn collection, we have our eye on the Marcel Mona dressing-table and stool, and the Padstow larder, which is as smart as its green paint.
Simply the best selection of terracotta, limestone, marble, granite etc. You name it, theyve got it. And at prices that wont leave you reeling.
10 showrooms nationwide
Proof positive that its better to do a few things well, Marianna Kennedys shop in the heart of Huguenot Spitalfields sells mirrors, resin lamps, bronze sconces and round-top tables. Theyre pricey, but just one of these items will make a room.
3 Fournier Street, London E1
Keep an eye on the website for up-to-date information on these fairs in Dulwich and Haggerston in London (with additional pop-ups), which bring together mid-century modern dealers for one day only, four times a year. Disciples of mid-century modern design (and their numbers are ever growing) know to arrive early for the best pieces.
Miles and Wilde
Ceiling moulds and cornices for our Victorian and Georgian housing stock are what these plaster perfectionists do best. Visitors to the monumental dining-room at Berners Street Hotel in London will have seen their work in all its glory.
Unit A, Arch 110, Astbury Business Park, London SE15
The New England Shutter Company
Does exactly what it says on the tin. Five styles of shutter, both solid and tilting, made from wood from environmentally responsible suppliers. You cant go wrong.
16 Jaggard Way, London SW12
A visit to one of the 11 Oka showrooms nationwide will leave even the pokiest bedsit decked out like a comfortable Cotswold pile. The signature look is slightly Sloaney furnishings that might have been handed down through the generations. Would make a great alternative to a department-store wedding list.
Handmade in Oxford, these table, floor, pendant and wall lights in metal, bone china and prismatic glass are a modern take on elegantly curvy 20th-century designs, at reasonable prices.
Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, London SW10
Pentreath & Hall
Ben Pentreath and Bridie Halls bijou shop is so elegantly kitted out in their twist on the traditional English look that wed happily move in. Theres upholstered furniture, but its the finishing touches vases, trays, linen napkins and the like that are the real draw. Those unable to visit can follow Pentreath on his blog.
17 Rugby Street, London WC1
Pick up a coffee and a slice of cake at the caf on one side of this treasure-trove of vases, candlesticks, teapots and tankards. The buyers clever clustering of objects makes for a visual feast. Leave one hand free to grab a bunch from the florist just outside.
31-35 Pitfield Street, London N1
Quite simply the best all-round interiors destination outside London, with four floors of the best in the business: sofas from Conran and made.com, Feather & Black beds and Calligaris tables. Theres also a spa for the end of a long days shopping.
218 Bradford Road, Batley, West Yorkshire
A number of textile tastemakers show their collections in this mews house tucked away behind the Kings Road, from Vanderhurd to Jennifer Shorto to Bird in the Hand. Good for prints-piration.
The Old Gasworks, 2 Michael Road, London SW6
Wooden worktops, windows, slabs of marble and furniture theyre all to be found in this cavernous warehouse of modish salvage. Look out for hand-dyed velvet cushions by Kirsten Hecktermann.
1,016 Harrow Road, London NW10
Tim Page Carpets
Anyone traumatised by 1970s carpet squares will be reassured by the tasteful carpets, rugs and runners to be found here. A full installation service will take away headaches, or have the company make something to the correct size for you and lay it yourself.
Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, London SW10
Ticking stripes? Check. Checks? Er, check. Sturdy fabrics and Irish linens for smart curtains and upholstery abound here. Lighting and artists prints complete the line-up.
Tinsmiths Alley, 8A High Street, Ledbury, Herefordshire
High-end New York style at reasonable prices. The rugs and dhurries are particularly good value compared with similar styles elsewhere. Think wood and steel finishes for furniture and neutral textiles.
209 Tottenham Court Road, London W1
Willow & Stone
Once youve covered the glamorous bits ( sofas , rugs, dining-table) youre still going to need the less sexy stuff door knobs, hooks, towel runners and the like. This shop should furnish you with the lot.
18 Arwenack Street, Falmouth, Cornwall