Cheap decor? The interior decorator's guilty secret

1/12/2016 11:55:00 am HELEN STILES 1 Comments

On Saturday I had a rare opportunity to indulge in some real-world shopping (the type where you actually visit a physical shop as opposed to a website). With 3 young children, this doesn't happen often, so forgive my excitement! But for one morning Eldest was packed safely off to a party, Middle was cycling with Daddy and Littlest was happily babbling in the buggy with me (for the most part). So I made a furtive trip to a shop that has to be one of the interior decorator's best kept secrets. I say furtive, because you probably wouldn't shout about shopping here...but if you're after cheap decor and some bargain statement pieces, then it is hard to resist.

So where is this mecca of style you might ask? Where do interior decorators and designers secretly source those great finishing touches? The answer – Home Sense. If you're in the know, then you have probably grabbed yourself a bargain or two already. If you've never heard of it, then it is the Home and interiors arm of designer-discount chain, TK Maxx. The model is simple, they buy up retailers'  old stock, ends of line and previous seasons' homewares and sell them on at huge discounts. The downside is that the lay-out is chaotic, there is a lot of poor-quality rubbish, the staff are few and far between and shopping there does make you feel just a little bit dirty!

But...if you want to finish off a room so that it looks like an interior decorator or stylist has worked their magic, then Home Sense is great source for statement finishing touches – think oversized vases, lacquered boxes and quirky table-top paraphernalia (huge horn-handled magnifying glass anyone? Driftwood sculpture? Plaster bust?) These are the things that make a bookshelf, console or coffee table look effortlessly stylish (just go large and go easy is my advice – too many small things looks messy; too many statement pieces will compete with each other). But just check out these bone and wood handles – how cool would they look smartening up an ordinary chest or dresser?

I try to steer clear of the cheap trend-led stuff and only buy things that I know I'll be happy to live with for a long time. I have, in the past, scored a brass Ralph Lauren desk lamp, amazing lava-glaze vase and real mongolian lambs wool cushions – all of which are still very much in use, so I figure I don't have to feel that guilty. Do I?

Here's a selection of some of the pieces that were available on Saturday at my nearest store. I've mixed in a few other items from the Hide & Seek store to finish of the scheme and keep it luxe and natural.
to the mailing list and get an additional 10% off at Hide & Seek until the end of January).

1. Home Sense Velvet tufted sofa in pale beige £299 – this is a classic style which would work in lots of different settings.
2. Graphic Mud cloth cushion £85 , to add a monochrome tribal touch.
3. Black and white cowhide rug £270 because cowhides work with EVERYTHING.
4. Home Sense Industrial cabinet/side table £130 – an unusual side table with storage for all those things you don't want left out on display. You always need storage!
5. Home Sense Industrial-style metal chairs £50 each, these would be useful pretty much anywhere – kitchen, garden, extra seating in the living room...
6. Natural hemp pouffe £99, laid-back, comfy and great for a bit of natural texture to contrast with that velvet and hide.
7. Home Sense set of 6 horn and wood drawer handles, £8. These would spruce up an old chest of drawers beautifully and have a bit of a mid-century vibe
8. Striped tassle cushion £60 because (as I may have mentioned before) a bit of black and white smartens up any scheme
9. Home Sense Leather picture frame with brass details £20, a quality, understated finishing touch.

Things at Home Sense don't tend to hang around, so no promising these items will still be there. (NB, this isn't a sponsored post, just sharing a shopping confession!)

So, do you have a guilty interior design secret? Have you scored a bargain at Home Sense, and, more importantly, did you own up to it??

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