The fashion world has long been mixing Prada with Primark and Gucci with Gap, so why not do the same with your home?
A sprinkling of high-end items is enough to add interest and a touch of class to a room that is otherwise packed with High Street accessories you may have found when buying a new plant or pair of jeans.
‘Mixing designer and High Street brands will give you a layered and interesting interior,’ says Andrew Dunning, design director at London Contemporary. ‘The key thing is making sure you choose which end of the price scale is right for which products.’
Coveted: Andrew Martin designer furniture is on offer at its Wimbledon outlet. A sprinkling of high-end items is enough to add interest and a touch of class to a room
There’s an art to mixing High Street and designer pieces. So before embarking on your shopping quest, you’ll want to plan what to splurge on, and what to save on.
‘For some items, you really get what you pay for,’ says Dunning. ‘A cheap sofa might look nice but how comfortable is it? How long will it last? Splash the cash on seating, save on accessories.
‘Using the High Street for decorative accessories in your interior is an affordable way to keep your home looking fresh.
‘It means you can update your accessories more frequently if you’re buying from inexpensive High Street brands.’ But when it comes to buying those big designer items, where should you look? Here’s our guide . . .
Head to an outlet
You might think that designer pieces are out of your price range. But thanks to little-known outlet stores, savvy shoppers have been able to bag designer items with more affordable price tags.
In fact, some brands are reporting a boost in sales compared with pre-pandemic shopping habits, as people look to improve their homes, but are mindful to spend wisely.
The highly coveted label Andrew Martin reported a 68 per cent rise in the sales from its South West London outlet, compared to the same period in 2019.
In its showroom in Wimbledon, the Andrew Martin outlet is crammed with thousands of ex-display items, end of line products, old collection pieces and photoshoot samples. These include sofas, consoles, home furnishings, artworks and lighting with discounts of up to 70 per cent off.
There are outlet stores dotted all over the country. The Neptune outlet in Swindon offers discounts on furniture and accessories. For example, a loveseat in old rose fabric is reduced from £2,585 to £1,500.
Jodie Charles, outlet store leader at Neptune, says: ‘We have noticed consistent sales over the past year, with availability and sustainability playing a huge part in the appeal of outlet shopping.
‘We have a fast-fix approach to helping customers with stocked pieces on hand at a time when there are limitations and challenges for most retailers around availability of some items.
‘The outlet gives us an opportunity to sell previous season’s stock at reduced prices, as well as items that have been on display in our stores. We do this in an inspiring environment, with the same service that you would receive at any of our stores.’
Swindon is also home to the only John Lewis outlet in the UK. It sells furniture, lighting and rugs as well as large and small electrical items and mattresses. Discounts are up to 70 per cent.
Premium brand Oka has two outlet stores, one in South Godstone, Surrey, and the other in Didcot, Oxfordshire. On sale now is a Chester three-seater sofa in natural linen with 50 per cent off, priced £1,100.
While many outlets operate a ‘sold as seen and no returns’ policy, some including Neptune and Andrew Martin, offer a 14-day returns policy on all purchases.
Many retailers have online clearance areas, with products not available in the physical stores. While this means you can’t touch and feel before you buy, there are often extensive photos and even videos online.
Absolutely Fabulous fans will be thrilled by the bargains from the Christian Lacroix home range on the Designers Guild clearance section of its website. A striking kaleidoscopic rug is half price at £647.50.
High-end brands such as Eichholtz and Jonathan Adler are on offer at Sweetpea & Willow’s clearance site. It offers discounts up to 50 per cent on ex-display and clearance items.
At Heal’s, the furniture, lighting and home accessories in the clearance outlet are all in pristine condition, in stock and ready to be delivered. Items are up to 50 per cent off and new ones are added every week, so it’s worth checking regularly if there’s something you have your eye on.
West Elm has furniture and accessories offered at more than 50 per cent discount on the website including armchairs, a dining table and lighting.
High Street tie-ups
There’s another way to find high quality, branded items at a lower price than you might normally expect to pay.
Look out for designers which are collaborating with High Street brands. H&M Home are regularly doing this, with its latest collaboration offering pieces from U.S. fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg for as little as £17.99. Best sellers include a glass vase flecked with orange streaks at £79.99.
Plans for future tie-ups are under wraps, but customers can sign up to H&M membership on the mobile app to receive all the latest collaboration news.
What your home needs is… linen cushions
Dunelm’s Cartmel cushion, pictured, is available in two sizes, 43×43 cm (£14) and 55×55 cm (£20)
The understated aesthetic of beach houses in the rich New Yorker summer haunts of the Hamptons and Martha’s Vineyard are the inspiration for the Coastal Modern decor look, which is now crossing to our shores.
Key to this style are linen cushions — in the colours of the waves, the sky and the beach — and your home needs some to remind you of the sea in all weathers and seasons.
Some of the best examples are on offer from the homeware divisions of fashion brands, who are adept at supplying items for a quick revamp.
H&M Home has simple 50×50 cm cushion covers in white, beige, lavender, ochre and grey for £8.99 each.
Zara Home has covers in a creamy-white shade in two sizes, 45×45 cm or 50×75 cm, at £19.99 to £29.99.
Arket has a £35 cushion in two colour options and a pattern that evokes pebbles on the shore.
Dunelm offers the Cartmel cushion, pictured, in two sizes, 43×43 cm (£14) and 55×55 cm (£20), in neutral shades, and in apricot which will remind you of the sun setting over your favourite place by the sea.