The design bible: The style address book every homeowner needs


SHELF, London

Set up by a jewellery designer and costume maker as a hobby, it's now a destination shop for the most esoteric interiors goods. The place to go for limited prints, interesting cushions and Rob Ryan tiles. (40 Cheshire Street, London E2 8EH)

MARIMEKKO, London and stockists nationwide

We challenge you to find a more colourful shop. Nestled in St Christopher's Place, away from the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street and generica, it's a place for vibrancy. From kitchenware to material, all the prints are bold and bright. (16-17 St Christopher's Place, London W1)

MOTH, Manchester

"Beautiful and simple objects for everyday living". That's how they describe themselves, and it's a perfect summation of this excellent collection of interiors goodies. (154 Burton Road, West Didsbury, Manchester M20 11H)


An enticing shop put together by ex-stylist Emily Chalmers, it's a quirky menagerie of beautiful things. (3 Redchurch Street, London E2)

OWL & LION, Edinburgh

It's not a normal interiors shop – in fact, it's really an artistic space, with a bindery. Want to add some character to your room with hand-made books and prints? This is where you go. Workshops too for a DIY design. (15 Grassmarket, Edinburgh, EH1 HS)


Although it's the archetypal design destination, and very high end, it's not all out of reach if you are saving pennies. The new Well Considered range is still exquisite – note, "Well Considered" is just a nice way of saying "cheap". (55 Marylebone High Street, London W1)

INNERFORM, Manchester

This shop takes what it does very seriously. Housed in the cotton mill where the Macintosh was invented, there are three floors of contemporary furniture, lighting and accessories. (24 Hulme Street, Manchester M1 5BW)


Scandinavian chic in the heart of Bath; as well as modern design classics you'll find a good selection of Marimekko fabrics and well-chosen accessories. (68 Walcot Street, Bath BA1 6BD)

BATIK Belfast

For 25 years its been pulling together design-led, mainly Italian collections of furniture, and is lauded by the industry. No surprise it's so successful: with an architectural division and creative consultancy, its run by people in the know. (The Gasworks, Belfast BT7 JA)


The name was the title of a book written in 1880 urging a return to local craftsmanship. And true to their word, the people behind this shop deliver "local craftsmanship at mass production prices". They do this by using innovative digital tools in their small workshops, rather than expensive heavy industrial processes. The result: beautiful products, simply and expertly crafted.(230 Brick Lane, London E2 7EB)

Blogs and websites

Design*Sponge blog

The New York Times called it "Martha Stewart Living for the Millenials", and the 60,000 daily readers seem to agree. Grace Bonney in Brooklyn blogs up to 10 times a day on DIY, product guides, home makeovers ... you name it.

The Curious Eye blog

Photographer Josh van Gelder is liable to induce extreme envy with the depictions of his spacious, light filled, interior. Too inspiring to miss though. Click on the "design" section for archived posts.

The Fabric of My Life blog

Kate, the author of this blog and a stylist, calls it "a place where I can collate all my design ideas, passions, thoughts and musings into one big magpie's nest". It certainly lives up to the description; a treasure trove of inspirational interiors pictures, thoughts and ideas.

A Blog About Inspiring Design

By a self-professed "online rogue", this blog takes us through design events and the latest publications with an irreverent eye.

Please Sir blog

"Devoted to passions like modern and vintage design", swing by here for daily updates on things of beauty.

Design Museum archive

London's Design Museum has a fantastic online archive of modern and contemporary design. Everything you need to know: names to name drop, people to look out for; archive from Alvar Aalto to Z.

London Design Guide

If there's a sniff of something design related going on in London, this is where you'll hear about it. The site trades in new shops, emerging designers, bright ideas and the very latest in design news.


Trendy alert: for those who want to know what the most cutting edge designers are up to the instant they do it. The furniture may not be comfortable, but it will look good.


Phaidon Design Classics

"Aeroplanes, Ashtrays, Bicycles, Boats, Bottles, Briefcases, Buses, Cars, Chairs, Calculators, Calendars, Cameras, Clocks, Computers, Desks, Door Handles ... " You get the picture. Three books, 999 objects. Design bible.

£100, Phaidon

How To Live In Small Spaces by Terence Conran

To fuel your fantasy of making a tiny home look beautiful, stylish and functional. Packed with practical ideas and clever design.

£25, Octopus

Thrifty Chic by Liz Bauwens and Alexandea Campbell

It's all about interior style on a shoestring - a judicious lick of paint here and there, a cunning find in a junk shop, and hey presto. Plenty of good tips and tricks for vintage style living.

£19.99, CICO Books

The A-Z of Modern Design

If you need to know your Philippe Starck from Frank Lloyd Wright, make this your coffee table book of choice. Colourful and very comprehensive encyclopedia of international product design from the Twentieth and Twenty-first Century.

£19.95, Merrell

The Way We Live by Stafford Cliff and Gilles de Chabaneix

"A treasury of ideas for living", it's an inspirational collection of unique (and doable) thoughts on how to live in the spaces we find ourselves.

£19.99, HarperCollins

British Design by Paola Antonelli

Part of the beautifully presented design series from the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, it features great British design as featured in the museum's remarkable collection and traces its legacy all the way from the Industrial Revolution.

£14.99, Five Continents

Home Made Vintage by Christina Strutt

Not just another vintage bandwagon book: Strutt runs the successful Cabbages & Roses fabric company, has reams of experience, and is happy to share.

£12.99, CICO Books

Wallpaper: The Ultimate Guide, by Charlotte Abrahams

A luxurious journey through 200 different wallpapers, highly researched, with beautiful photography.

£30, Quadrille


100% design

An annual event that does what it says on the tin – contemporary design from new and established artists and makers across the globe. Lots of emerging ideas; this year it'll be from 23-26 September.

The Midcentury Show

This is where you go to get a design classic. Beautifully set up from the people who also put on Midcentury Modern and Kidsmodern, all the big names are here - Eames, Aalto et al - as well as the choicest picks from vintage dealers in the know from around the country. Next one is in the groovy Paintworks in Bristol, 17 October.

Sunbury Antiques Market

The largest bi-monthly antiques market in the UK, it has been going for over 30 years and is a source of many hidden gems. Free entry and parking, just bring stamina: there are 750 stallholders hawking their wares. The next market is 27 April.

East London Design Show

Hipper than hip, the organisers say it's "London's alternative department store". A good selection of independent designers with an array of handmade interiors goods. Next show: 2-5 December, but look on their website for links to the designers in the meantime.

Not so Fast

If you're in the market for some interesting textiles, catch the last few days of this inspiring show in Bath. In the 18th century Octagon building, expect vibrancy and a break from the same old boring interiors products. Until 25 April.