The Insider: The art of display


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I love Sarah Bagner's innovative shop She sells wares via creatively curated wall displays, each a work of art itself. Now Bagner has an excellent book out, Wonder Walls: Supermarket Sarah's Guide to Display (£19.99, Cico Books), on imaginative ways to show off your stuff. Here's what she learnt writing it…

Numbers game

The book includes a look at menswear designer Christopher Kelly's place: "His way is 'more is more'; why have one lamp when you can have 12?" says Bagner. Chinese lanterns cluster over his dining table to create "one enormous chandelier."

Space oddities

Bjorn Springfeldt, former curator of Stockholm's Museum of Modern Art, shows how "just enough nonsense makes sense". Two stuffed dogs strain on ropes tied to his sofa, while a grand glass display case houses cheese. "Friction creates humour."

Toilet humour

"The bathroom is a great place to create friction – you have a captive audience," says Bagner. "At mine, we began with a badly painted Churchill – then wanted lots of badly painted great men, but instead found a bad copy of Van Gogh's Sunflowers. So it evolved, which becomes part of the story."

Now you sea it

"Recycling also creates stories." In Wayne and Gerardine Hemingway's home, sofas are made from the designers' former boat – first restored for sailing, then shipwrecked, then repurposed into furniture.

Cloth up

"Tokyo button designer Hiroyo Suzuki pinned scraps of collected fabric to walls instead of wallpapering. It looks beautiful."

Time flies…

"Rather than do a place up in one go, go slowly. You don't need to be a stylist – it's just about developing that confidence to play."

Find Kate's blog on affordable interiors at