The pandemic has turned us into a nation of online shoppers.
Whether it’s a spot of retail therapy as a pick-me-up, or the need to buy a new desk or a better bed to cope with the realities of 24 hours at home, seven days a week, we are having to use the internet to buy everything from candlesticks to carpets.
But, paradoxically, as the shops increase their online offering, it has become harder to find what you want.
In a real-life shop you could see how staff had curated and arranged items to their best advantage, discover new trends and see how you might use something in your own home. It was all designed to be tempting and encouraging.
Now, however, we’re ploughing through ” pages of online search results showing us stuff we don’t like or want. We daren’t stop — the perfect item will surely be on the next page. Except it isn’t.
That frustration was the spur for Design Storey, an online interiors store with a curated edit of the best of the high street as well as great pieces from small businesses that you might not know.
It’s a one-stop shop for hidden gems, arranged in collections of 50, with categories ranging from table lamps to task lights, sofas and beds to children’s rooms.
Each piece will have notes on why it made the cut, where you might use it and how to style it. Ten products per page, five pages per collection, that’s it. Browse the 50 best of everything and then get on with your day; scrolling through 147 pages of black sweaters.
Kate’s five hero products
1. Wireworks magnify mirror, Heal’s, £86
In the same way that a new pair of earrings or a T-shirt can make you feel like your whole wardrobe has been rejuvenated, so the power of a new household item shouldn’t be underestimated. This pretty wooden mirror, made from sustainable oak in either light or dark, is fully rotatable, magnifying (maybe less of that) and has a tray for your hand sanitiser and other accessories.
2. Haller storage with built-in desk, USM, £1,264 as shown
Founded in Switzerland in 1885, this family-owned company began making modular furniture in the Sixties. Start with a cupboard which you can extend into a sideboard, a media unit, or a full set of shelves simply by buying more parts as you require. The USM Haller system is a modern design classic with a place in the permanent collection of MOMA and it’s perfect for the WFH situation. You can create exactly what you need to suit you ? and change it when you need to.
3. Sofa covers, Caravane, from £160
If you are living and working in the same space it can be hard to change the mood from work to play at the end of the day and we can’t all start moving furniture around. Switch up the look of your sofa with one of these padded throws and go from office chair to cocktail lounge in a trice.
4. Leaf-shaped glass serving dish, Zara Home, £11.99
Now we are all eating at home all the time, making an effort to cheer up the table might lift the spirits a little, too. In the same way that a beautifully wrapped gift makes even the humblest of items look exciting, so some pretty serving dishes will elevate Monday night’s pasta.
5. Hector 30 floor lamp, Original BTC, £255
For those of you who are struggling to find space to work from home, one way of saving desk space is to position a thin floor lamp which angles next to the desk rather than using a task light. This classic style has a bone china shade which gives off the most wonderful soft glow.