Friday, 1 March 2013

Bedroom interiors shop report

Today I've ventured into Leeds City Center to gain more inspiration for my print designs and to see what the latest trends for the interior market are. Doing this is so much more beneficial than internet research alone as when out in the shops the most eye catching designs out of the numerous collections stand out instantly. I focused on duvets, cushions and other bedroom accessories.

I began my report focusing on low end high street retailers. Yorkshire Linen had duvet sets, cushions and curtains with prices ranging from £10 to £40. I focused mostly on digital print as this is most relevant to my own work. The designs were simple and didn't use any more than 4 colours. They are decorative, but lack intricate detail which reflects their low cost. The placements are very simple all over repeats which would probably please the mass market seeking a product in the lower cost bracket.

I then looked at Argos, which is a high street low end retailer. These designs break no boundaries and follow simple placement formats which are vertically aligned. I looked at curtains, duvets and chairs, finding that florals are the main subject in very simple colour ways. These items are successful because they will be more applicable for different interior colour scheme ideas and can be selected and bought conveniently in the catalogue manner. Once again they are priced very low and so their design reflects the price. There is definitely a market gap at this price level for richer colours and most prominently, more detail.

TK Maxx was a great place to find many different designers in one place, all at clearance prices. I found the Kirstie Allsop collection to be highly decorative and feature all over small scale prints. This is something I must try in my own designs as I haven't attempted any like this and love how grand and expensive they look as the print is so detailed and pretty. I also saw other more geometric prints, but mostly pretty florals which would suit any bedroom and were all quite expensive. I saw that the backing of the duvets were commonly striped, spotty or just plain with the use of one or two of colours used in the main part of the design.

Marks and Spencers was my next destination where I found many standard floral prints and the kind of subject matter that I expected from a retailer whose main market segment are older and possibly more traditional people. I have been so inspired by the placements of these designs which creep and crawl up, around and across the fabric with so much movement and flow. I also found pastel colours amongst these pieces which solidified my decision to use a pastel colour palette even more.

I then looked to Debenhams who currently have designer collaborations. I was massively inspired by what I saw as it was artistic, creative and challenges the traditions of bedroom decor. The Matthew Williamson collection consists of many interior products and oozes luxury. The colours used in the duvets are deep and feminine as they are brave pieces which could stand alone as statement pieces in a room. Nature features heavily and techniques are both illustrative and photographic.The other accessories in the range are beautiful, highly decorative and intricate, particuarily the cushions and trinket box. The aspect that makes this range look expensive and worth the high price is the deep colour and decoration, as  I did not see anything else on this level elsewhere on the high street.  I'd to achieve in my own designs as obviously everyone wants to create something which can't be sought elsewhere, and adding more texture would be one way to do this.

Yukari Sweeney's range also captivated me as it is based on London and mixes together elements of the city and nature which is my own subject for this brief. The designs are very linear, detailed and quirky. They could influence my own collections as they are all very different and have given me even more ideas about placement and how to incorporate backgrounds into designs, which is something I spend a great deal of time considering as a background can make or break a piece.

Ashley Thomas' interior range caught my eye immediately as it features bold and bright illustration and is something I would definetly have in my own home. The products are incredibly quirky, expressive and would brighten up any bedroom chair or bedspread. They demonstrate well the fact that a cushion doesn't need to have a strict repeat and can be used as more of an artistic canvas. I'd like to use this idea when considering my duvet and cushion prints as there is a gap in the market for statement motifs which are not in repeat, particularly in duvets.

I then looked at various cushions and duvet designs from the Debenhams collection and found it all to be very colourful,  vertically orientated and very 'digital' looking. The cushions boasted brilliant patterns and colours were really bright. Some embroidery was also included which always adds value and the impression of a more 'home made' feel. The designs offer something very different from the designer collaborations, and lack the level of luxury which obviously comes down to price and the consumer being catered for.

I then moved to the higher end retailer, Dwell. The shop is instantly fascinating to explore as all the products are very different and daring- as is the way they have been arranged in the shop, as the goods are obviously intended for very stylish homes.I found the use of colour to be simple but sophisticated and the prints varied with the use of hand drawn effects to more geometric works.  I have drawn inspiration from the manipulation of the decorative imagery.

Finally, Cath Kidson designs take what consumers know and desire and improve things, adding in the essential girly playful style that I have fallen in love with. The floral patterns are not revolutionary but are successful because they are simple in terms of subjects matter and colour. The fabrics are all versatile and could be mixed and matched together in one room and be successful as they all harmonise together so well. The placement used has given me inspiration and the knowledge that something does not always have to be complicated to work.

Looking back over what I saw, similarities across the market seem to be that duvets are double sided with two separate prints and that cushions are more inventive as a structured placement is not so important. The differences between the high and low priced pieces are the intricacy of the design and the evidence of the design being new and different  I saw what I expected in the low end retailers but was much more intrigued by the high end interior products. I have now been lead to the decision that I will create one collection of duvet designs and one collection of cushion designs, ensuring they harmonise together well in the same way that the Cath Kidson designs do. I hope this post was as interesting to read as it was to write, I will definetly be doing more shop reports in future! Thanks ever so much for reading, Stephanie

Products can be purchased from:

(Cath Kidson images taken from


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