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Set your stall

Looking for Christmas gift inspiration, but fed up of the same old high-street stores. Get yourself along to a design market

If you're looking for unique and affordable designer homewares, either as a gift or for your own space, it's worth checking out one of the many open studio events and design markets that take place across the country at this time of year.

Do a little research before you go to get an idea of which designers are taking part and how much items cost. It's a good idea to have plenty of cash with you, as some of the smaller designers won't be set up for card payments.

If you live in London, you're spoilt for choice. This weekend, 100 designers take part in Craft Central in Clerkenwell (23-25 November, craftcentral.org.uk), which also has a Pop Up Design Shop specifically dedicated to interiors products.

From next weekend, Cockpit Arts Open Studios (Holborn, 30 Nov – 2 Dec; Deptford, 7-9 Dec, cockpitarts.com) showcases the work of 165 designers with prices ranging from £5 to £5,000. Or try Pullen's Yard (30 Nov – 2 Dec, pullensyards.co.uk), or Great Western Studios' Atrium event (7-8 Dec, greatwesternstudios.com/events).

If you're into vintage, pay a visit to Alfies Antiques Market's Christmas Shopping Party (5-9pm, 29 November) and peruse the wares of 75 dealers. Entry is free but you need to RSVP (info@alfiesnatiques.com). The Mid-Century Modern Show (2 Dec, modernshows.com) offers more 20th-century vintage dealers and has contemporary designers thrown into the mix, too.

Gardeners and the eco-friendly should try Diggin Design at the Garden Museum (2 December, 10.30am-6pm, gardenmuseum.org.uk), which has a focus on sustainable and fair-trade products.

prints charming

An original print makes a great gift. Brighton print by Sarah Young, £150, at Brighton Artists Open House or sarah-young.co.uk.


The Christmas Artists' Open Houses event sees 55 artists and design studios open over three weekends selling a wide range of products: 1-2, 8-9 and 15-16 Dec, aoh.org.uk

clock this

Visit a design fair to pick up an original piece by an up-and-coming young designer, such as this cuckoo-less clock by Alternature, from £90 at Krowji or alternature.biz


East Street Arts' Come Find Us event is this weekend. Alongside galleries, studios and workshops, delicatessens and bars are open for a convivial day out 23-25 Nov, eaststreetarts.org.uk

floral palace

Show off your plants in style with this Plantini planter by Another Studio, £24.95 at Cockpit Arts or another-studio.com

vase city

We like these bright and delicate vases by Sophie Cook, from £120 at Cockpit Arts or sophiecook.com.


Avoid the ubiquitous high-street feel and pick up a unique piece direct from the designer. Owl cushion by Camilla Meijer, £75 at Cockpit Arts or camillameijer.com


Ouseburn Open Studios takes place across eight venues with over 200 artists and designers opening their doors to the public. 24-25 November, ouseburnopenstudios.org.


At Krowji's Christmas Open Studios you'll find 50 designers selling everything from illustrations and paintings to surfboards and furniture. 30 November – 2 December, krowji.co.uk

box clever

This colourful wooden birdhouse is just what a winter garden needs. Lotta Cole Wings birdhouse, £88, at Craft Central or lottacoledesign.com