The 50 Best homewares

When it comes to interiors, details matter... So from sturdy shelves to lights that make the mood just right, Kate Watson-Smyth chooses the most stylish accessories

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The Independent Online

Sitting Room

Mr and Mrs Smith

anthonyhartley, £3,500

No, not Brangelina. Chairs. I know they're incredibly expensive but these are real one offs, handmade in Yorkshire. Each has its own colour sequence which is registered to the new owner. Try not to think about the price, just admire the beauty.

Hendrix skull cushion

made, £39

Skulls have been a popular motif for a while now so perhaps it's time to take the plunge with this woven pink version. The pink stops it from looking too "metal".

Sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll

quirkandrescue, £675

And now for something completely different. Quirk and Rescue salvages old furniture and updates it with a twist. This is perhaps not quite suitable for granny's teacup but it's probably more fun than the nest of tables she usually uses.

Conran balance shelving

conranshop, £595

Sir Terence keeps on churning out the classics. This shelf fits beautifully into an alcove and is just a little bit more interesting that the usual row of shelves without losing any storage space.

Cut-away cabinet

monoqi, £820

Perfect for storing the board-games, DVDs or any of the other clutter than seems to accumulate in the sitting room but that you don't necessarily want on show. It's very plain and simple and no less stunning for that.

Arissa turned-oak candlestick

rowenandwren, £88

This candlestick will add an elegant finishing touch. This is a statement even when it's not lit. One is beautiful, two either side of the fireplace would be stunning (if pricey). Choose from putty, ebony or oak finishes.

Paper carriage clock

moska, £48

A room is never finished until it has a clock in it and this is a witty take on the rather staid old carriage clock. Made from paper with an embossed pattern concealing a standard clock mechanism. Everything on this site is made by British designers.

Guinea fowl lampshade

atelier-home, £89.95

They make great eating but who knew they made such great accessories as well? This lampshade will really finish off a room and in such fashionable monochrome colours too.

Felt rug

feltrugs, £300

These felt rugs (shyrdaks) are made by nomads from Central Asia's Tien Shan mountains. There's a huge collection in this company's showroom – open by appointment – or browse the website, fill in your requirements and get emailed suggestions.

Home Office

Retro rainbow chair

derynrelph, £1,250

Deryn Relph salvages old office furniture and brings it back to life in a fabulously zany fashion. This is a proper office chair so it will be comfortable and just looking at it should cheer you up when you have a boring report to write.

Scrubbed-pine cupboard

roseandgrey, £350

Perfect for the industrial-chic vibe that lends itself to the home office, where it may have to fit in with the decor of the rest of a room. This is actually a cupboard with one drawer and a larger area with a shelf.

Fiona magazine file

theholdingcompany, £11

Most of us haven't got a dedicated space for a home office so anything that's in there has to look good as well as being practical. These white files will go with everything and rows of shelves of them look great.

Free bird clock

designshopuk, £123

Every home office needs a good wall clock and this just makes me smile, which is also important when you're working. A witty take on the cuckoo clock – the bird has escaped and is just lounging about too lazy to tweet.

Task floor lamp

eastlondonfurniture, £250

A task lamp that can stand on the floor and not take up desk space. Made from a reclaimed door frame it has a fashionable, industrial look. Everything this company makes uses salvaged materials.

Custom name chalkboard

spincollective, £20

You can personalise this either with names or days of the week and use it as a giant diary or at least put the most urgent reminders on it so that forgetting to open your desk diary won't be a problem any more.

Old zinc storage box

rockettstgeorge, £14.95

This will stand on its own or you can save space and stick it on the wall. I have four in the kitchen, one for each person's post/homework/stuff and they are brilliant for filing.

Industrial table lamp

bodieandfou, £195

A perfect example of Scandi chic with its mix of wood and metal. It's Danish too, which unless you've had the telly turned off for the past year, you will know makes it screamingly fashionable.


Lustre lamp

debenhams, £45

A minimalistic lamp that will work perfectly by the bed giving enough light to read by without the office feel of a task lamp. Part of the Designers at Debenhams range, this is Betty Jackson's work.

Capri side table

lauraashley, £192.50

Laura Ashley has been rocking the mirrored furniture vibe for a little while but this is perhaps the best piece to date. A small bedside table (or side table in the sitting room) with dark stained walnut legs and bevelled edges.

Black & Twisted

johnnyegg, £1,200

Not just a chest of drawers, this is glossy, sleek and witty all at the same time. Choose from satin black with a pink flock interior or white with lime green. These are the heirlooms of the future.

Silver-leaf bowl

roostliving, from £15

These pretty bowls are perfect for a dressing table/shelf/wherever you put your stuff at night – earrings, rings, trinkets would all sit in here. Made from porcelain, lined with silver leaf, which tarnishes to leave a gentle gold lustre.

Aluminium trunk

bouf, £59.95

Hands up who's got enough storage in their bedroom? If you've filled the wardrobe and stuffed everything under the bed, try putting things in these trunks. They can always double as bedside tables or even impromptu seats.

Reindeer skin rug

sparrowandco, £120

Now this is what you want to put your feet on of a chilly morning. Natural reindeer skin that is just as good over the end of the bed or by the fire. Each one is slightly different. Obviously.

Love letter throw

ektakaul, £450

Ekta Kaul makes beautiful, luxurious textiles for the home. They are made from silk and linen and she uses really bold colours in simple graphic designs. The love letters printed on this throw are real – donated by friends or found in flea markets.

Kartell storage unit

madeindesign, £91

Designed in 1968 by Anna Castelli, this is now a modern classic so beware, there are a lot of knock-offs about and they won't be as good quality. Makes a great bedside table as the drawers slide shut to hide all the tat.

Charleston Freestanding floor mirror

grahamandgreen, £135

All right, so not everyone has room for a free-standing mirror, but if you have got the space, it adds a real boutique-hotel feel to a room. Made from wood and finished in silver leaf.


Glass storage jar

lifestylebazaar, £3.95

Very simple and good-looking in a retro kind of way. They come in different sizes and with clips and rubber seals to be fully airtight. Perfect to put on open shelves to house everything from spices to couscous.

French glass carafe

worm, £26.95

This is a neat idea; the glasses stack into the top of the carafe so you can carry that in one hand and the olives or whatever in the other. Of course, it's not just for wine – works just as well for water too. Apparently.

Canteen chair

hollys-house, £250

A modern take on the old school chair, these are more comfortable now you're not listening to irregular French verbs. You can match them, but why not mix up the colours to create a more subtle mismatching look?

John Derian carnation picture plate

benpentreath, £38

This plate is so pretty it's almost a shame to put food on it but it would look great with a slice of chocolate cake. There are others in the set, but they don't have this amazing 3D quality.

Lace stripe coasters

lucentia-design, £30

Sometimes you need a mat for a sticky jar or a hot drink and these are so pretty. Made from recycled plastic with lace embedded to create the design. Lampshades are also available.

Hoganas teapot

royaldesign, £75

Every home in Britain must surely need a teapot and this is a beauty that retains the heat really well. It has a built-in strainer and is dishwasher safe.

Blue fish tray

coastalhome, £15

Here's a stylish tray from textile designer Asta Barrington. In addition to this version, there is a round one as well as a blue one with white fish on. They are made from Scandinavian birch and are dishwasher proof.

Silver-plated jug

handpickedcollection, £60

Fill this jug full of roses and stick it in the middle of the table to brighten up a weekday supper or decant the wine into it to give your vin de table a bit of a continental feel.

Zinc tray table

coxandcox, £90

This butler's table is great for a kitchen if you don't have enough cupboard space. It folds flat for storage and can be easily moved to the side of the room and out of the way when not needed.


Bullrush laundry basket

toast, £69

Large and with a lid, which is a nice touch and one that more laundry basket manufacturers would do well to consider. It will last really well too. I have one that has been hefted up and downstairs for years and is still going strong.

Harry stool

moletamunro, £422

If you've got the space it's really useful to have a little stool in the bathroom for draping clothes, towels, sitting on to do up shoes or painting toenails. And if you haven't got the space, it would be great to have one in another room in the house.

Glass sweet jars

notonthehighstreet, £7

Great bathroom storage for those bits of cotton wool, cotton buds and all that sort of thing that bathrooms seem to get awfully cluttered with. They come in a range of sizes and will pretty up the place a treat.

Stripey black and white double hook

bombayduck, £12.50

Bathrooms need hooks and these are good ones. Classic black and white stripes will go with any colour scheme and be a handy place for a dressing gown, yesterday's clothes or a towel. The company has a vast range.

Porte Savon

objectofuse, £24

My grandfather had one of these in the cloakroom and I have always loved them. So much better than a messy soap dish and doesn't take up precious space or keep falling off the side of the basin. Supplied with one soap, which should last for ages.

Eygptian Towels

habitat, £10

It's no good having a beautiful bathroom if the towels are all scratchy. Habitat's are made from Eygptian cotton, are soft, large and come in modern colours such as graphite, mist and cerise.

Kong box cabinet

theoriginalmetalbox, £150

For passing time during tooth-brushing, this is the perfect bathroom unit. The magnets – King Kong, clouds and planes, can be moved and used to stick messages on the door. This will help you wake up with a smile.



dutchbydesign, £30

A small shelf that looks like a book whose title is Ceci n'est pas un livre. So once we've finished with the references, this is great for an older child's room as it holds several books and also acts as decoration for the walls.

Keith Haring Dog Stickers

amazon, £22

Wall decals are a great way to decorate a kid's room as their tastes evolve and those teddy bears will be naffer than a naff thing before you realise. Buy stickers and you can change them as they change their minds.

Antique school desk

homebarnshop, £625

If you like rummaging around in vintage shops then this place is for you. These old school desks are brilliantly nostalgic and, if you buy one with a sloping top they can't clutter it with rubbish as it will all slide off.

Cashmere blanket

notonthehighstreet, £199

Everyone loves a throw or a blanket to cuddle under and this one is a) cashmere and b) personalised so they will love it for ever. Makes a great present and a wonderful finishing touch to a bedroom.

Night night children's lights

magmabooks, £28

None of that cutsey fairy stuff here, these lights were made from recycled steel by Sixties designer Clifford Richards. They are solar-powered and give off just a warm back glow making the animal a silhouette.

Canvas storage tub

notonthehighstreet, £18

Having experimented with most forms of toy storage, I have come to the conclusion that large and open, so that you can just chuck everything in, is the way forward. You can label these so you know roughly where to find things.

Tree shelf

destes, £190

There is also a cloud version which would be great in a bathroom. Inspired by Mondrian, Icelandic designer Thorunn Arnadottir's fabulous shelf is perfect for all those little ornaments that children collect.

Junior living wall desk

funktionalley, £352

Stylish yet useful. A wall-mounted desk unit that takes up no floor space, has shelving and space for a laptop. It can be locked shut to hide the clutter too. All the corners are rounded to protect little heads.

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