Our DÉCOR Picks: Top 20 Design and Homewares Stores

By Michelle Hespe

Our DÉCOR Picks: Top 20 Design and Homewares Stores
Reimagine your living spaces with our favourite homeware styles.

After searching the world for the most inspiring homewares and design stores, we’ve chosen these gems – iconic institutions, designer studios, upcycling champions and more – to give you the guidance you need to reimagine your living spaces.

Hermès, Paris

Hermès is famous for its handbags and silk scarves, but if you love sculpture and architecture, the three nine-metre-high wooden pavilions made of ash laths, each housing new Hermès collections, are just the beginning. At the jaw-droppingly impressive Rue de Sèvres store, these hut-like structures allude to ‘a home within a home’, or ‘a store within a store’, concept. One hut, which appears to be lying down, is the entrance to the former grand 1930s swimming pool, which was once on this site. The mosaic tile walls, columns and floors have been faithfully restored to remain an integral part of this masterpiece. Hermès launched its first furniture collection in 2011, and the wallpapers, tableware and fabrics are as beautiful as its highly coveted handbags. hermes.com

House of Hackney, London

You can clash – you just have to know how to do it well, as the House of Hackney will show you. An exciting den of patterned delights, this groovy business in London was launched in 2011 by a husband-and-wife team. They create wallpaper, fabric, home accessories and fashion. Textile designer William Morris is a big inspiration, and the brand is all about promoting British designers and artisans, and supporting UK manufacturers. houseofhackney.com

Normann Copenhagen, Copenhagen

This super-cool, light-filled 1700 square metre room is both Normann Copenhagen’s flagship store and its showroom. The bold design, use of contrasting and reflective textures, and the liberal allocation of space captures the essence of this iconic brand. Experimental and uber-modern, the startling colourful yet paired back constellations of style are enough to make any design lover’s heart sing. Sleek furniture, innovative lighting, funky textiles and the best of the best home accessories sit alongside hand-picked clothing and fashion items in carefully curated displays. normann-copenhagen.com

Illums bolighus, Copenhagen

Located on Strøget, Copenhagen’s main shopping strip, Illums Bolighus is an elegant, sophisticated world where design is celebrated, Nordic style. Having the right stool, lamp, wooden toy or coffee mug is as critical to a Dane’s existence as cheese and wine is to the French. You’ll burn a hole in your pocket here, as every single object is worth gushing over, but it’s a blessing that the best of Danish design has been brought together under one enormous roof. There are locations in Germany, Norway and Sweden too. illumsbolighus.com

Hay Mini Market, Worldwide

Hay Mini Market, which is one element of the Hay design brand, encapsulates the Scando look with a cosy, unpretentious atmosphere. It’s an accessories in-store concept. The calming space is designed to resemble a supermarket, with aisles of shelves laden with merchandise and curated by Danish founders Mette and Rolf Hay. There are locations all over the world. hay.dk

Story, New York

Story is a remarkable 185 square metre shopfront located in Manhattan. It’s a new retail concept modelled on the approach of creating a magazine – there are always fresh stories to tell – and it reinvents itself like a gallery every four to eight weeks, with design and merchandise regularly changed up. Founded by Rachel Shechtman, who was a former brand consultant for Kraft and TOMS shoes, the idea was to create a retail concept that would serve as a matchmaker between brands and consumers, integrating strategies of marketing, merchandising and business development. thisisstory.com

Herman Miller, New York

Herman Miller has been around for more than 110 years. Today, the brand still makes beautiful, functional furnishings. It partners with retailers across the US and Canada, however the flagship store in New York’s Flatiron district is where it all comes together in one building. hermanmiller.com

Atomi, Singapore

There’s so much great, funky design in Japan, it’s tough picking just one but atomi is among the best. Established in 2009 by two self-confessed shopaholics – Singaporean Andrew Tan and his Japanese wife Mitsuko Murano – atomi’s products include homewares, clothing, accessories and furniture, all from Japan. In true Japanese style (think simplicity), the store started out selling only five labels and now stocks about 30. atomi-jp.com

Casa Perfect, Los Angeles

New York-based design and art mecca The Future Project has launched Casa Perfect, a store by appointment only in Beverley Hills. Housed in an unbelievably chic midcentury home designed by architect David Hyun, it’s a design lover’s completely over-the-top version of heaven. It even has a pool and bar that you’ll be dying to hang out at. Look out for Lindsey Adelman and Michael Anastassiades (lighting), De La Espada (furniture) and Eric Roinestad (stoneware). thefutureperfect.com

Varnish + Vine Atlanta

Owned by Will and Shelby Perry, this furniture emporium is for the avid antique hunter. If you can’t find what you’re after, simply sit down with the staff and arrange to have it made. The business works with local craftsman who upcycle pieces or create what’s in your head from scratch. The shop is packed but is beautifully curated so you won’t be overwhelmed. Don’t worry, there’s no dust in this wonderland of treasures. varnishandvine.com

Sam Design St John’s, Newfoundland

As its catchcry says: “Style lives here.” In St John’s – a picturesque Canadian port city – the industrial chic of SAM Design’s showroom, retail space and design studio is an ode to Canadian style. SAM represents some of the top modern furniture and lighting lines in the country, including G. Romano, EQ3, Huppé, Mobican, SOHO Concept, Trica, Zuo Mod and 18Karat. It specialises in bespoke pieces and personal design services for commercial and residential spaces, so it’s a one-stop shop for creating awesome spaces. samdesign.ca

i gigi General Store & Café, East Sussex

The warmth, sense of homeliness and Zen that emanates from this place sums up the relaxed, welcoming attitude of two women who joined forces after realising they had similar taste in homewares, women’s clothing, accessories, and design. Celebrating reclaimed pieces, craftsmanship and textures, i gigi General Store is also a home design consultancy. Enjoy a lovely pot of tea and organic treats in its light-filled café while making some space-changing decisions. igigigeneralstore.com

Galeries Lafayette, Paris

There’s a range of top brands at the Galeries Lafayette flagship department store. In 1895 two cousins opened a small haberdashers, and then rapidly expanded until they’d bought the entire building and the ones around it. Enjoy the Art Nouveau architecture and views of Paris. galerieslafayette.com

14 Green with Envy, Matakana

This store, which was one of five global winners at this year’s Global Innovator Awards (gia), encapsulates the laid-back Kiwi attitude. Green with Envy started out as an online store. It was so popular, owner Nicole Ward set up shop in an old fruit and vegetable barn, which also has a delightful café in the old potting shed. You’ll find items from local and international designers. greenwithenvy.co.nz

Aesop, Worldwide

Great things come in small packages, and this is the case not only with Aesop’s classy products – let’s face it, they’re homewares as well as hair and body products – but in its retail stores that pin down refined, restrained style. The company is more like a philosophy than a shop, and it champions intelligent, sustainable design. Wood, stone and polished concrete take centre stage in terms of aesthetics. aesop.com

Artek, Helsinki

Iconic Finnish furniture company Artek was founded in 1935 by architect Alvar Aalto – you might recognise his furniture and glassware, particularly the cult classic “Aalto” vase – his wife Aino Aalto, visual arts promoter Maire Gullichsen and art historian Nils-Gustav Hahl. The business strategy is “to sell furniture and to promote a modern culture of living by exhibitions and other educational means.” The creative, forward-thinking founders all wanted to make a difference in architecture and design. Artek’s headquarters is in Helsinki, and its flagship store there captures the essence of this iconic Finnish furniture company. artek.fi

Selfridges, London

Selfridges was founded by Harry Gordon Selfridge in 1909, and the flagship store on London’s Oxford Street is the second largest shop in the UK after Harrods. Originally from America, Harry wanted to quash the idea that consumerism was just an American thing, and being way ahead of his time, his goal was to make shopping a fun adventure and a form of leisure instead of a chore. His store quickly became a social and cultural landmark; giving women a public space in which they could be comfortably indulge – what a good man. selfridges.com

Artel Design, Prague

The Artel Design Concept Store in Prague is the latest addition to Artel’s string of shopfronts, which was founded in 1998 by American designer Karen Feldman. Its focus is on mouth-blown and hand-engraved and decorated bohemian crystal for the home and table. The light, bright, white space punctuated with beautiful, colourful works of art make it more a gallery than a store, and a bowerbird’s dream nest. artelglass.com

Casa Palacio, Mexico City

Casa Palacio is an epic 18,000 square metre emporium in Mexico City designed by NYC-based retail architect Jeffrey Hutchison. There’s a European marketplace-like store upon entry, and an outdoor ‘street’ lined with five houses representing Mexico’s colonial and modern architectural styles. Inside the houses (that are more like mansions, really) the rooms are homely so customers feel as though they’re visiting a friend – one with extremely refined taste, of course. casapalacio.com.mx

Top3 by Design, Melbourne

For more than 16 years, top3 by design has been at the forefront of retail innovation. It’s super-trendy store in Richmond, Melbourne, showcases its focus on original design. Their latest innovation is the top3 AR app. It allows you to use augmented reality to visualise furniture or homewares in your living space. While looking through your smartphone camera at your room, you can place the furniture in front of you. You can walk up to it, look at the fabric, reposition it and change colours to see what works best. top3.com.au



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