An interiors shopping weekend in London

By Kate O'Donnell, a Travel Enthusiast

Read more on London.

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Recommended for:
Shopping, Short Break, Mid-range, Expensive

If you only have a weekend to shop for an interior design project in London, read my guide on where to find the best boutiques and specialist stores. Make sure that you eat and stay in style too

Britain’s home-grown fashion designers may get most of the column inches but, when it comes to interior design, London’s myriad specialist stores, boutiques and designers easily rival those of New York, Los Angeles and Milan.

Whether you’re looking for a present for that hard-to-please person or are planning to redecorate your house entirely from scratch, London’s top shops can provide endless ideas and inspiration, from finely wrought antiques worthy of a museum to minimalist, conceptualist pieces straight off a contemporary-designer’s drawing board.

As a general guide, interiors shops in London move in a style arc from the traditional and classical in South West London, via groovy, more-boho finds in Central London and West London, on to ultra-contemporary design in East London. Just choose which area suits your style and start exploring.

South West London - the traditional and classical

Where to shop

Get your eye in at the Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour (Chelsea Harbour, SW10; 020 7225 9101; www.designcentrechelseaharbour.co.uk). Once open only to the interior design trade, now, from Mondays to Fridays, anyone can browse its 81 showrooms showcasing 360 top fabric, wallpaper and furniture brands such as Brunschwig & Fils, Cole & Son and Lelièvre. From there, explore the bottom half of the King’s Road, a strip of outstanding fine furniture and accessories stores such as Guinevere (574-580 King’s Rd, SW6; 020 7736 2917; www.guinevere.co.uk) for antique monogrammed linens, and cult sofa specialists George Smith (587-589 King’s Rd, SW6; 020 7384 1004; www.georgesmith.co.uk).

From there it’s an easy walk to Valerie Wade (108 Fulham Rd, SW3; 020 7225 1414; www.valeriewade.com), whose divine early-20th century boudoir furniture and lighting would make any woman swoon. Men might prefer the more masculine 20th century equivalents at Hemisphere (173 Fulham Rd, SW3; 020 7581 9800) or the angular lines of Christian Liaigre (68-70 Fulham Rd, SW3; 020 7584 5848; www.christian-liaigre.co.uk), the man behind the chic Mercer hotel in New York and Le Sereno in St Barths. Traditionalists should not miss trawling Pimlico Road, the home of numerous society favourites, including Appley Hoare Antiques (22 Pimlico Rd, SW1; 020 7730 7070; www.appleyhoare.com) and Nicholas Haslam (12-14 Holbein Pl, SW1; 020 7730 8623; www.nicholashaslam.com).

Where to stay

San Domenico House (29-31 Draycott Pl), close to Sloane Square, is decorated with fine-quality antiques that will have you dreaming of commodes, miroirs and girandoles.

Where to eat

Break your shopping at The Botanist (7 Sloane Sq, SW1; 020 7730 0077; www.thebotanistsloanesquare.com), whose relatively pared-down, but still classical interior makes a relaxing spot to reflect on your purchases.

Where to drink

This is luxe publand rather than an area for style bars so head for one of London’s most beloved. The Admiral Codrington (17 Mossop St, SW3; 020 7581 0005; www.theadmiralcodrington.co.uk) shows how grown-up a classic pub can look when it’s had love and money lavished on it.

Central and West London - groovy, more-boho finds

Where to shop

I always see what’s new at Nicole Farhi Home (17 Clifford St, W1; 020 7494 9051; www.nicolefarhi.com) whose ever-changing stock is a flawlessly edited mix of vintage furniture and new, high design accessories. Not far away is the new London outpost of Anthropologie (158 Regent St, W1; 020 7529 9800; www.anthropologie.com) which sells highly exotic (to British eyes) modern American-designed homewares.

Other reliable central pit stops include V V Rouleaux (102 Marylebone Lane, W1; 020 7730 3125; www.vvrouleaux.com) for ribbons and beads with which to customise one’s vintage finds; and Cologne & Cotton (88 Marylebone High St, W1; 020 7486 0595; www.cologneandcotton.com) for outstanding French and Italian bedlinen at moderate prices. Further west, B&T Antiques (47 Ledbury Rd, W11; 020 7229 7001; www.bntantiques.co.uk) is the go-to destination for Art Deco and vintage mirrored furniture; The Cross (141 Portland Rd, W11; 020 7727 6760; www.thecrossshop.co.uk) for unashamedly colourful and highly decorated haute-ethnic home accessories; Summerill & Bishop (100 Portland Rd, W11; 020 7221 4566; www.summerillandbishop.com) for beautiful French, Belgian and Lebanese dinnerwares that are generally impossible to find in Britain; and The Rug Company (124 Holland Park Avenue, W11; 020 7229 5148; www.therugcompany.info) for offbeat rug designs by, inter alia, Matthew Williamson and Vivienne Westwood.

My favourite markets include Alfie’s Antique Market (13-25 Church St, NW8; 020 7723 6066; www.alfiesantiques.com) for brilliant vintage 20th century furniture and accessories. And on Fridays (Saturdays are too crowded) every self-respecting boho London girl is rummaging around the antiques shops and second-hand stalls at Portobello Market (Portobello Rd, W10 and W11; www.portobellomarket.org).

Where to stay

The Charlotte Street Hotel (15-17 Charlotte St) has an arty, slightly eccentric vibe, which befits its Bloomsbury setting. Adventurous types can head for Rough Luxe (1 Birkenhead St) where bare plaster walls, silk damask cushions and vintage treasures are expertly blended by owner/interior designer Rabih Hage.

Where to eat

Yes, its location is clichéd but there is no more inspiring dining room in London than the Criterion (224 Piccadilly, W1; 020 7930 0488; www.criterionrestaurant.com). It’s not about the food here (though that’s perfectly good) but glorying in the lavish, neo-Byzantine gilded mosaic interior.

Where to drink

Interior designer David Collins is the genius behind The Connaught Bar and The Blue Bar at The Berkeley. To my mind just as lovely (and much easier to get in to) is his heliotrope-painted interior at Artesian at The Langham Hotel (1c Portland Pl, W1; 020 7636 1000; www.langhamhotels.com).

East London - ultra-contemporary design

Where to shop

Cheshire Street is to East London what Clarendon Cross is to West London, a hub of funky interiors shops but with a grittier edge. Weekends are the best time to go to be sure of a successful visit (some designers have day jobs). Highlights include Mar Mar Co (16 Cheshire St, E2; 020 7729 1494; www.marmarco.com), whose stock has a singularly strong, graphical feel. And Labour and Wait (18 Cheshire St, E2; 020 7729 6253; www.labourandwait.co.uk), which sells honest-to-goodness traditionally made tools and hardware, some vintage, most new, all designed to last for decades. Other eastern favourites include Caravan (3 Redchurch St, E2; 020 7033 3532; www.caravanstyle.com), which is owned by stylist Emily Chalmers, who has a magpie eye for unusual but always desirable finds; and Squint (178 Shoreditch High St, E1; 020 7739 9275; www.squintlimited.com), strictly speaking a showroom rather than a shop, but call ahead and designer Lisa Whatmough might let you look close up at her signature, patchwork fabric-embellished furniture and accessories. For the big names in modern design like Tom Dixon, Matthew Hilton and Jasper Morrison you can’t go wrong at SCP (135-139 Curtain Rd, EC2; 020 7749 7398; www.scp.co.uk), or at Viaduct (1-10 Summers St, EC1; 020 7278 8456; www.viaduct.co.uk), the sole UK agents for Driade, e15 and Maarten Van Severen.

Where to stay

Terence Conran’s new hotel Boundary (2-4 Boundary St, E2; 020 7729 1051; www.theboundary.co.uk) isn’t just a place to rest your head but an outstanding showcase of 20th century design, with each room and suite named after significant designers or movements such as Andrée Putman, Le Corbusier and Bauhaus. Its David Tang suite is a particular beauty.

Where to eat

Pizza East (Tea Building, 56 Shoreditch High St, E1; 020 7729 1888; www.pizzaeast.com) is the new eatery from Nick Jones of Soho House fame, which unlike his clubs, is open to all comers. The interior combines industrial fittings, exposed bricks and bare floorboards with rather handsome button-back, tobacco brown-leather seating.

Where to drink

It’s not new but Loungelover (1 Whitby St, E1; 020 7012 1234; www.loungelover.co.uk), tucked down a nondescript side street, is a must for design fans. From its palm-tree shaped vintage chandeliers to the found objets rescued from French churchyards, no two items are the same, which makes for a gloriously over-the-top but inspiring experience. And the cocktails aren’t bad either.

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More information on An interiors shopping weekend in London:

Author:
Kate O'Donnell
Traveller type:
Travel Enthusiast
Guide rating:
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
Total views:
2780
First uploaded:
7 December 2009
Last updated:
3 years 41 weeks 4 days 15 hours 2 min 55 sec ago
Destinations featured:
Trip types:
Shopping, Short Break
Budget level:
Mid-range, Expensive
Free tags / Keywords:
boutiques, style, interior design

Kate recommends

Hotels

Price from Rating
(out of 5)
1. Charlotte Street Hotel
£268
4.8
2. The Boundary
£235
4.6
3. Rough Luxe
£177
4.0
4. San Domenico House
£240
N/A

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Community comments (1)

Rating:
5
1 of 2 people found the following comment helpful.

Wow! Kate, this guide is crammed with recommendations and your descriptions of each shop and hotel really show that you know your stuff. This is a well structured guide and I am sure that any reader on an interior design shopping trip in London will refer to this. Themed guides, especially on bigger cities like London, work well on the site so thank you for your valuable contribution.

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