Laura Ashley

The Insider: How to do 1970s chic (minus the lava lamp)

I fell for the 1970s when I moved into a 1968-built house. Now, accidentally, I'm fashionable – the look is everywhere. But it's a fine line between a well-edited revival and the garish, suburban set of Abigail's Party... So what to choose?

Well hung: There's nothing cosy about this wallpaper

Who says the humble wall can't be a talking point? A new show called Walls are Talking: Wallpaper, Art and Culture, at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester, is the first major UK exhibition of wallpaper by artists. It transports domestic wallpaper design far from the world of the cosy sprigged Laura Ashley pattern and into an altogether darker place, where themes of warfare, racism and sexuality often take centre stage.

Sitting pretty: The idea that sent Cath Kidson from one shop to a

Today, Cath Kidston's iconic floral prints and affordable household items, that lend more than a nod to the trend for vintage chic, appear in must-have lists and households across the world. Her empire spans 28 shops and concessions in the UK, two shops in the Republic of Ireland and five in Japan. The brand has beaten the odds in the economic downturn with profits rising in the past year from £2.9m to £4.6m. And with sales now reaching £31.3m, she clearly has a head for retail. These figures belie the brand's humble beginnings in a small shop in London's Holland Park.

The 50 best lights

From chic shades to garden globes, Kate Watson-Smyth selects the most desirable designs to brighten up your home this autumn

Westfield: the verdict

Europe's biggest urban shopping centre opened in London yesterday. But is it any good? We asked the experts

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