Decorating secrets: Where interior designers shop

Ever wondered where interior designers shop for furniture, art and antiques? We asked them. They shared. Add these to your little black book.

From high-street favourites sprinkled with little-known and under-the-radar gems, to flea markets, graduate shows and even eBay, these 30 shops, websites and brands are in every interior designer’s little black book.

1ST DIBS

Visit: 1stDibs

Looking for something completely unique, that you won’t find anywhere else? One visit to the 1stDibs website and if you’re anything like us you’ll soon have about a million tabs open and it’ll suddenly be five hours later. You’ve been warned. With usual lighting and sculptural furniture , it’s no wonder the website is praised by the likes of Peter Mikic (a self-confessed addict) and Sophie Ashby. Ashby’s favourite chair, the Mario Milana’s M Lounge chair, can be found in her bedroom corner and ‘it sings for itself’. Available from 1stdibs, of course. Where else.

Mario Milana M Leather Lounge Chair-Les Ateliers Courbet Brass Collection
£4,488.11 per item

AMARA

Visit: AMARA

Whether it’s for striking rugs by Seletti Wears Toilet Paper or Fornasetti vases, AMARA is a treasure trove for modern homeware and accessories. Designer Sally Mackereth uses AMARA’s witty Architettonico table, by Fornasetti, to create interiors that feel ‘exciting’, and to ‘feel as if they’ve evolved naturally over time’. In Mackereth’s own home, a former Victorian stables, she mixes pieces like these with flea-market finds. Also a fan is John Hitchcox, who loves Fornasetti’s ‘graphic hit of black and white’. “Even just one plate or candle can transform a room with an element of wit, humour and surprise”, Hitchcox adds.

Architettonico table, £1,300, Fornasetti at Amara

ANTHROPOLOGIE

Visit: Anthropologie

Not just for covetable crockery and glassware, high-street Anthropologie has a rather fabulous range of rugs and furniture, too. They’ve partnered with Kit Kemp to create a colourful range of seating, like the Rhino Chair in bright orange with royal blue piping, and a  a flying rhino motif on the back. “it looked so at home in the beigest of settings and cheered up even the gloomiest of rooms”, Kemp explains.

The Rhino chair, approx £883, formed part of Kemp’s 2015 Folkthread collection for Anthropologie

BLITHFIELD

Visit: Blithfield

For handcrafted textiles, Blithfield is Kit Kemp‘s go-to. “One of my greatest loves is finding handcrafted textiles,” Kit Kemp explains. “They can be woven or hand-blocked, silk screened or digitally printed – all can inspire a palette and when hung, they become the centre of attention.”

Striking patterns made by prison inmates – Blithefield Linwood cushion, £95

eBAY

Visit: eBay

eBay needs no introduction, although you might not have guessed that it’s where many interior designers shop. Sophie Ashby snaps up her large palms from eBay: “Better than buying them new and scraggly from a nursery – because they instantly soften a man-made environment, they help purify the air in the city and they make me happy every day to see them.” Simon Rawlings is also a fan: “One of my favourites is a £20, 1m-wide Japanese paper lantern bought on eBay – it looks so dramatic over the dining table, with such a beautiful glow.”

A bedroom designed by Simon Rawlings

ESTABLISHED AND SONS

Visit: Established & Sons

For totally off-the-wall uber-designer furniture, with eye-catching lighting and furniture designs from Zaha Hadid, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Michael Young and Nao Tamura, Established & Sons is an interior designer’s go-to paradise. Designer Sally Mackereth has used their Jaime Hayon chairs for a recent project, to fabulous effect.

Bespoke pieces, such as this table by George Nakashima, chairs by Jaime Hayon for Established & Sons and chandelier by Studio Mackereth, lend a unique finish to each of Sally Mackereth’s projects

FINE CELL WORK

Visit: Fine Cell Work

For fabrics with the feel-good-factor, Fine Cell Work is a charity that trains prisoners to do highly skilled needlework, giving them something to do in the long hours they spend in a cell. The fabrics are surprisingly beautiful and very detailed. Kit Kemp uses their fabrics to create interesting lamp shades: “Interesting lamp bases with patterned shades, such as the ones I designed for Fine Cell Work, creates interest, while contrast piping, trims and handles lend a sense of the unexpected.”

Blithfield Rossmore mirror, £850; and lamp shade, £250, all Kit Kemp, Blithfield and Melissa Wyndham for Fine Cell Work

FIONA MCDONALD

Visit: Fiona McDonald

If you love Mid-Century Modern style furniture, you’ll love Fiona McDonald‘s eclectic mix of retro tables, consoles and cabinets. Martin Brudnizki is known to use Fiona McDonald’s vintage pieces as the key features in a room. “I don’t believe a bedroom should have anything more than a bed and bedside table – I’ve turned the second bedroom into a study-cum-dressing room with a vintage table from Fiona McDonald, armchairs for sitting in and a chaise for laying out clothes.”

This is the Audrey sideboard, from £6,750 from Fiona McDonald

FRATELLI BOFFI

Visit: Fratelli Boffi

For statement chairs, Fratelli Boffi hits the spot. Tom Barlett uses the Lui5 chair to draw the eye and give a room impact. “I like to keep things loose – unfitted furniture helps to make a room feel relaxed,” Barlett explains of his love for the eye-catching chair design.

This is the Lui5 chair by Fratelli Boffi

GEORGE SMITH

Visit: George Smith

Interior design firm And Objects, headed up by Martin Brudnizki, has collaborated with furniture favourite George Smith to create the coveted Cocktail collection. The stylish, low-level seating looks great when mixed and matched in a plush bar or lounging space, and are rather perfect for perching with a Martini or two.

The Hogarth chairs from the cocktail collection at George Smith

GRADUATE SHOWS

Where do designers go to find art? Graduate shows. “Graduate shows at the main art colleges are a great way to get in with rising stars before their careers take off, buying straight from artists, often for just a few hundred pounds,” explains designer Francis Sultana.

Francis Sultana uses artwork in all of his projects, many of which are sourced directly from graduate shows.

HABITAT

Visit: Habitat

A high-street hero that offers sleek designs on a more relatable budget, perennial favourite Habitat never goes out of fashion. Uber-designer Tom Dixon was their head of design for ten years,   and design-duo Turner Pocock incorporate classics like the smart ladder-back Talia chairs into their residential design projects.

This is the Talia dining chair, £85.50 from Habitat

HEAL’S

Visit: Heal’s

With a super modern (and somewhat affordable) collection of own brand furniture and lighting as well as a few classics thrown in the mix, like Kartell’s Masters Chair – a favourite of John HitchcoxHeal’s ticks all the boxes when it comes to home staples.

IRVING & MORRISON

Irving & Morrison is a hot-spot for cushions and unusual bases – designer Tiffany Duggan finds their accessories from founder Penny Morrison, and also from Lorfords Antiques.

Room design by Tiffany Duggan, who sources many of her cushions from Irving & Morrison

JAMES WORRALL

Visit: James Worrall

James Worrall takes the work out of scouring flea markets, auctions and shops for collectors items, and is one of the port of calls for designer Peter Mikic when he’s on the hunt for something unusual.

A room design by Peter Mikic, showcasing vintage finds

KATHARINE MORLING

Visit: Katharine Morling

For ceramics, Katharine Morling is known (by those in the know) for her sculptures. “Her work is like sketches in 3-D”, says designer Simon Rawlings, a collector of her unusual pieces.

A piece by Katharine Morling

KEMPTON PARK

A fabulous flea market for one-off vintage finds, Kempton Park in Sunbury  is where Peter Mikic hunts for bits and bobs like shelves and details.

A room design by Peter Mikic, showcasing vintage finds

LUKE EDWARD HALL

Visit: Luke Edward Hall

One of the hottest up-and-coming designers of right now, Luke Edward Hall has already acquired quite the following in the interior design world, with his Picasso-style artworks popping up in more and more in design projects by the likes of Francis Sultana.

Francis Sultana is a big fan of Luke Edward Hall’s artworks

NEST

Visit: Nest

A go-to for many interior designers, Nest offers lots of design classics – such as Eero Aarnio’s Magis Puppy, which is one of John Hitchcox’ favourite ways of injecting some fun in a space, along with Jasper Morrison’s Superloon floor lamp for Flos and Philippe’s Masters Chair for Kartell (both available from Nest) which Hitchcox uses for both indoors and out.

RALPH PUCCI

Visit: Ralph Pucci

To bring texture into a space, the designer behind Sketch Restaurant’s fabulously pink interiors, India Mahdavi, has collaborated with Ralph Pucci to create a fabulously textured furniture range. The Stromboli rattan tables are a favourite of Sophie Ashby, who’s used them in some of her interior projects. We also love Mahdavi’s other designs – like the curved Jelly Pea sofa.

Jelly Pea by India for Ralph Pucci

ROSE AND GREY

Visit: Rose & Grey

One of Alexander Waterworth‘s go-to shops is Rose & Grey – the ‘lived in feel’ of their leather Chesterfields are particular favourites of his.

A room design by Alexander Waterworth

ROYAL DRAWING SCHOOL

Visit: Royal Drawing School

Want to snap up a bargain? Who doesn’t. The Royal Drawing School’s end-of-year show is where designers like Peter Mikic go to find artworks by artists that are still to be discovered.

This space was designed by Peter Mikic

SCARAMANGA

Visit: Scaramanga

For one-off unusual pieces, Scaramanga is a designer’s first port of call. It’s where interior designer Jo Berryman finds the wooden chests, tables and chairs she uses for her projects.

One of Jo Berryman’s designed bedrooms, featuring gorgeous vintage pieces

SVENSKT TENN

Visit: Svenskt Tenn

A favourite with uber-designer Martin Brudnizki, Swedish brand Svenskt Tenn is bursting with colourful and unusual designs, and is praised for mixing modern and classic together in a way that isn’t too hard or unfeeling.

This is the Celotocaulis cabinet by Svenskt Tenn, from 8,200 EUR

THE CONRAN SHOP

Visit: The Conran Shop

Housing countless design classics like the Series 7 chairArco lamp, Saarinen Tulip Table and Panton chair, not to mention bringing out modern takes on old classic like the new Swan and Egg chairs and the limited-edition Wishbone Chair, it’s no surprise The Conran Shop is regarded as a design favourite. The sleek Saarinen table is a favourite of Jo Berryman, who uses the table to create interest in a dining room, while designer Sally Mackereth has often spoken of her love for the Harry Bertoia Bird chair, her favourite chair of all time. “I decorate the same way I dress. I’ll wear a great fashion piece with old jeans – it’s exactly how I like to furnish a space. A few fab pieces, such as a Harry Bertoia Bird chair  – my favourite of all time – next to a chair I found at a market that I’ve repainted”, she explains.

The statement Harry Bertoia Bird chair, £3,300, The Conran Shop

THE DECORATIVE COLLECTIVE

Visit: The Decorative Collective

Looking for that carved hand chair, a set of antique barber chairs or maybe a Sputnik chandelier? You’ll find it all on The Decorative Collective‘s website. With everything from taxidermy to teacups and from Mid-Century Modern style furniture to random oddities (a post-war miniature caravan dolls house or a palace made out of shells, anyone?), you’ll find it all here. One of Peter Mikic‘s worst-kept secrets.

Peter Mikic sources a lot from Dorian Caffot de Fawes Antiques via The Decorative Collective website.

A room design by Peter Mikic, showcasing vintage finds

THE FRENCH HOUSE

Visit: The French House

Another great place for sourcing retro and vintage pieces, The French House is full of interesting finds, from Mid-Century Modern style tables to upholstered chaise longues and oddities. It’s one of Jo Berryman‘s go-to’s for interesting furniture.

One of Jo Berryman’s design projects, featuring gorgeous vintage pieces

THE INVISIBLE COLLECTION

Visit: The Invisible Collection

Fairly under-the-radar until their recent collaboration with Sophie Ashby, The Invisible Collection offers all those striking one-off pieces that you’d never otherwise find, at the click of a button. The Studio Ashby furniture collection is their first partnership with a British designer, and we’ve fallen head over heels for all of it. Designer Tiffany Duggan was already a fan, snapping up armchairs and side tables for bathrooms to make them feel like a bigger suit – like Reda Amalou’s Dot tables from The Invisible Collection, which are ‘perfect for perching a book or glass of wine on’.

 

This is the Stumpy coffee table, POA, by Studio Ashby for The Invisible Collection

THE NEW CRAFTSMEN

Visit: The New Craftsmen

Kate Hume heads to the The New Craftsmen for accessories which “really exude the touch of the human hand”, like Nicola Tassie’s jugs and Joe Hogan’s baskets. She particularly loves pieces like Feldspar’s hand-dimpled porcelain, from mugs to candles. “A sensual, sculptural feel, with a bit of a curve, lends softness to a room without being too stuffy or feminine”, Hume adds. She’s a fan of The New Craftsmen as Hume is “always drawn to pieces with a sense of story and a handmade feel – pieces that will age with you.”

Design by Kate Hume

WEST ELM

Visit: West Elm

For mirrors and Mid-Century style sideboards, Alexander Waterworth recommends West Elm.

Room design by Alexander Waterworth

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