DESIGN: TIPS ON BUYING HOMEWARES FROM THE HIGH STREET AND MY CURRENT EDIT
HIGH STREET & DESIGNER BUYING HABITS
It's nothing new and I know loads of you will be the same, when buying things for my house and my wardrobe I'm a big believer in mixing up high end pieces with low cost but snazzy items. I've bagged some absolutely gorgeous inexpensive homewares on the high street which look a million dollars but costed nothing of the sort and you can too if you're willing to spend the time hunting them out. Having said that I equally love the feeling of spending bigger on certain items that will stand the test of time, can be passed down and become the next wave of granny chic in years to come. It's all about mixing it up...
THE HIGH STREET FOR HOMEWARES
I generally tend to avoid the high street homeware collections (I'm certainly not a snob) but instead prefer to buy from independent shops and designers (which I believe is really important). The reality is though, some of the time, I end up reaching for high street options to satisfy my quest for a quick fix, low cost solution to cheer up or change the look of a room or shelf in an instant. Without spending too much money this can easily result in buying say a pretty jug from Marks and Spencer that I can snap up online with my 20% offer code.
The accessability and affordability of homewares from the big high street players ultimately serves our demands for instant gratification. I totally get it too; the products look good, they're easy to purchase and they don't cost the earth.
Just watch you don't get burnt though; it's easy to get caught up with that impulse feeling of "I've got to have it, it's only a tenner" mentality which can result in wasting money and putting up with something you like but don't love. I remember having a serious Dunelm binge last year. I spent £100 on cushions, a vase, and a candle. All of which I took back because when I got them home they looked awful. I reckon there is a bit of knack to spotting the goodies and spending your money wisely so here are my top 5 tips which I've used since, as a guide when on the hunt for a high street interior quick fix.
5 TIPS FOR BUYING SMART ON THE HIGH STREET FOR YOUR HOME
1. COLOUR, COLOUR, COLOUR - Manufacturers of cheaper products often use cheap colour pigments (I'm not saying this is the case for all non-designer retailers but it's a fact for lots). This goes un-noticed when everything looks great and colour consistent on the shelves but when you get your product home the colour can often look dull or garish. Take a photo of the room you're buying for as a guide to make sure the colours will tie in at home.
2. A QUIRKY DETAIL - Primark is a good example here. Like lots of the high street retailers, they work incredibly well to trends but also add weird little details that are a bit different (believe it or not). Sometimes they look terrible and tacky but other times the quirky details can look amazing so keep an eye out for them, a good example is the cushion below.
3. MIX IT UP -Don't limit yourself to just one or two high street stores. Pay a visit to the out of town stores like Home Sense and Dunelm. You'll have to (in my opinion) spend a bit more time wading through the products but sometime you'll find the odd golden nugget. I recently attended an Interiors Masterclass with Daniel Hopwood (top interior designer and TV presenter) who surprisingly isn't shy of a visit to Dunelm too. Mix up your shopping between the general high street shops like M&S, the out of towners mentioned above and the slightly more "high end" shops like Anthropologie (my fave).
4. AVOID FIXTURES & FITTINGS - It's worth spending more on better quality products like curtain poles, light fittings, and big ticket items like sofas and beds - pay more now but nine times out of ten you'll love them for longer and they won't fall apart. Mix in high street accessories which compliment but don't take over from these key investments.
5. KEEP IT CLASSIC - OK, so I'm slightly contradicting myself here with the cushion choice below in particular, but I tend to stick to products that are on the classic side of the fence. Sure the world of interiors is catching up with the seasonal trends we see in fashion and this breads more of a throw away culture, but I like to stick to classic colours, textures and details that have always had style and always will.
MY RECENT HIGH STREET PURCHASES
So let me show you my little high street haul I bagged a few days ago. If I had the choice nearby I prefer the homeware collections at Zara, French Connection and Anthropology but I live in the sticks so I kind of had to rely on my local "Primani" and Tiger stores.
I bought these super duper cute coffee cups from TIGER for £1.00 each. I love the speckled detail, the quirky wonky edge and the colours are gorgeous too (pattern backgrounds are fabric designs I'm working on). Of course I had to buy the pink version too below.
I bought these cute mini faux greenery planters which will look great on my shelves once I get to the point of styling them properly for the living room makeover. The gold effect is a little bit tacky looking so the aim is to dampen the shine down a bit with some dark paint or wax.
Again from Primark I could't resist these leafy print cushions. Anything slightly "has been" in the interiors world will be on the high street shelves, but who cares, greenery is still big this year and a future classic so I'm sold. I also love the cushion piping detail which I've not seen on other cushions of this design before, its a rough grey hessian jute fabric which you could pick out and match to a neutral sofa or wall colour.