26 Decorating Objects I’m Digging

September 15, 2008

Good morning! Many of you asked if I would share some of the home products that I’m finding here in Germany as I furnish my apartment, so this post will introduce you to some that I frequently find in local shops. Of course, this isn’t to say that this is ‘the’ style in Germany, it’s not, but it is pretty common to find the items on the below list in small design shops or even larger department stores in northern Germany.

If you are interested in learning about where you can find these products in your country, please visit the websites linked below and click around… you are sure to find a store locator on each site. Here’s a quick list of what I’m seeing in shops and what is inspiring me right now. I think these things are also hot in Sweden, Denmark, Holland, and Norway too as I read design magazines from all of these countries and have noticed some or all of these things contained within their pages.

26 Decorating Objects I'm Digging

1. Aluminum or hand painted boxes (with lids) from India. My aluminum ones are from a little shop near my house for only 20- Euros each but they can go as high up as 100- Euros elsewhere.

26 Decorating Objects I'm Digging

2. Poufs. Very popular. In all sizes and shapes, leather, fabric, you name it.

3. Lampions and rice paper pendants (round). P.S. Someone in the U.S. seriously needs to order and sell the Orike Muth collection of lights and pillows, she is a local designer from Hannover and is hugely popular. If you are a shop owner you have to check her out and bring her goods to America.
4. Colors: Berry tones and gray. White and black. Lots of lilac, fuchsia, and gray.

26 Decorating Objects I'm Digging

5. Folksy design (see the box I found in Amsterdam above for an example) and Asian motifs (lotus flowers for example). Lots of Russian nesting dolls too.
6. Wallpaper is still pretty hot here.

26 Decorating Objects I'm Digging

7. Ethnic inspired lighting, especially pendants with cut out patterns.
8. White porcelain also with cut out motifs. See my Pol’s Potten lamp below from Le Souk as an example of this.
9. Roman blinds and white sheer curtains or brightly colored gauze or cotton curtains with tie or tab tops. Think Morocco or India. Relaxed but vibrant. Little pattern on the windows, solid hues are in.
10. Wood floors kept natural or painted in a bold color or white. I don’t see a lot of high gloss black floors here. Lots of pergo (affordable and durable).
11. Wall decals, mostly florals.

26 Decorating Objects I'm Digging

12. Baskets, like these from Rice via Car Mobel, in bold berry tones.
13. Tin mirrors.

14. Party lights around mirrors or windows, no party necessary. :) I put mine around a simple mirror from IKEA in my living room.
15. Mid century modern furniture paired with modern or ‘country’ style. IKEA is everywhere, but mixed in with vintage flea market finds or Jugenstil-inspired furniture.
16. Topiary trees on windowsills. I see this fairly often when I’m walking around my neighborhood. I have a small Myrtle Tree myself. Rosemary is another good one to use.

17. “Cute” design, like Barbapapa, colorful accents from RICE, crochet coasters, plastic lace placemats, fun magnets, small toys on shelves, plastic deer toys, items with personality. I picked up this Barbapapa in Amsterdam and placed in my cabinet until I find a better home for him.
18. Natural minimalism with lots of wood, white, silver. I usually see lilac as the accent color or medium gray.

26 Decorating Objects I'm Digging26 Decorating Objects I'm Digging26 Decorating Objects I'm Digging

19. Wooden cabinets in white or black with glass doors. I have one in white.

26 Decorating Objects I'm Digging

20. Plastic floor mats, usually found in the hallway or kids room. Rugs from RICE are very popular. Cotton stripe rugs are also popular. I like the one shown above with the cutie squirrel trim. :)
21. Plastic melamine trays for serving guests.
22. Moroccan tea trays as coffee tables like these from Le Souk or small round wood tables of varying heights arranged in front of the sofa painted in gray, white, black, etc.
23. Natural wood stools placed near the bathtub for stacking towels.
24. Orchids as houseplants. I see them everywhere!
25. Moroccan lanterns in white, black, or silver metal.

26 Decorating Objects I'm Digging

26. Turkish towels with tassels. I love them! Le Souk has them (where I purchased mine) but you can also find them at shops like Zara Home or in this Dutch shop called Zester.

Now for some popular brands that I find in small shops locally:

  • Rice. Not the kind you eat, rather the Danish company that you wish you could eat as everything is so sweet looking. I find their products in many shops here in northern Germany and on various German online shops. They’re a real hit here.
  • Sia. When I first saw their label I thought of one of my favorite singers from Australia but this Sia is different, it’s a home fashion brand based out of Trier, Germany. I find many of their products locally, too. Pillows, dishware, etc.
  • Kokon. This is a company based in Munich with a large store there as well, but I am finding their products in shops around here too. I just picked up a gorgeous embroidered floor pillow from them last week at a local shop called Looms. I like the Kokon aesthetic very much.
  • TAJ Wood & Scherer is another shop with goods all over Germany, found mostly in fine home shops. The pillow on my sofa is from TAJ. I find their products very colorful, detailed, and unique — I don’t know of any U.S. based companies with similar wares, which is nice! I especially love their They happen to have an online shop and it’s in English in case you’d like to purchase some things for your home. They ship worldwide, too!
  • UK designer Cath Kidston and her romantic girly prints and patterns.
  • House Doctor – I’m truly in love with this company. Flip through their online catalog to see what I mean.
  • Green Gate – More feminine florals and bright colors. Browse their online catalog for Fall/Winter 2008/09 here.
  • Nordal – Lots of ethnic inspired design, another brand I love.
  • Lisbeth Dahl
  • …and if you’re shopping here for baby you’ll go crazy! Things here for children are SO DARN CUTE. You’ll want babies if you don’t already have them when you come to northern Europe. I love how kids dress here and absolutely adore all of the Anne-Claire Petit stuff I see in stores.

Of course, these brands above are not the only ones around! They are many more but my focus above is on what I’m finding in the smallish boutiques that I shop at.

(images from vtwonen, rice, and of course my own photos taken at home)


  • Reply Nina September 15, 2008 at 6:19 am

    So much fun to read your view on how we decorate our homes in this part of the world (western Europe)! I think many people here are indeed inspired by oriental/world decoration, combined with basics and white/natural colors. By the way I’d love to see you comparing european/american decorating styles some time! It’s my impression that in the US everything is much larger: the rooms and houses, the (kingsize!) beds, the kitchens, the sofas… I think in general we live in smaller places here, and maybe that also defines our decorating style. But I’m really curious how you see this subject, as you can probably compare much better.

    These are a few shops that I think are more or less influential on ‘modern style’ in the Netherlands: (I believe you were there if I saw it correctly on your photos from Amsterdam!)

  • Reply Di Overton September 15, 2008 at 6:33 am

    Your are invited to spend a weekend, with me, traveling around my home in the beautiful Tyne Valley, Northumberland. Enjoy!
    Sorry I couldn’t make Amsterdam – the Paris trip was manic and exhausting but fun. You look as though you had fun without me though.

    Di Overtons last blog post: Spend The Weekend With Me, Around My Home

  • Reply Claudia September 15, 2008 at 6:54 am

    Great post! When I visited the Decorate Life in Frankfurt the style your describing was all over the place. Their the ethno-style accessories were combined with lots and lots of wood. I guess it reflects the longing for nature and a simple lifestyle.

    Claudias last blog post: Sch?ner Tablett-Tisch

  • Reply Rebee September 15, 2008 at 8:32 am

    Wow, this is fantastic! I really like what Nina said about how Americans live larger than Europeans. I bet that’s true – I bet Americans have more stuff, too, which causes them to get bigger places. I live in a cozy quaint apartment in Austin and everyone who’s seen it has told me it’s too small. But it’s perfect for me!

    Rebees last blog post: A little bit of nature

  • Reply Diana September 15, 2008 at 8:50 am

    I really enjoyed this post. My in-laws took a long trip through Europe when they were newly married, and their experiences really helped define their decor style. It’s great to get a similar peek today, especially since a long trip through Europe isn’t in our time budget, yet!

    Dianas last blog post: Paaaawtucket!

  • Reply Ellen Crimi-Trent September 15, 2008 at 8:52 am

    wow lots of info, I love those aluminum boxes!!

    Ellen Crimi-Trents last blog post: IF- Clutter

  • Reply Raised In Cotton September 15, 2008 at 9:18 am

    Hi Holly,

    I have been a huge House Doctor fan for the last 2 years. Even trying to see if I could carry their products in my shop and website. House Doctors flavor is one that I adore, mixing just the right amount of modern with vintage.


    Raised In Cottons last blog post: Three Years!

  • Reply Tracey September 15, 2008 at 9:38 am

    Love all of the looks- especially the pretty storage items, baskets, covered boxes. Germany, perhaps all of Europe, is not big on closets, so storage for Americans is always a issue! Gray and lilac- I like the color scheme, very soothing.

    Traceys last blog post: Pumpkin Bread- a Favorite Autumn Treat

  • Reply Elisabet September 15, 2008 at 10:50 am

    Wow, j’adore j’adore j’adore !!! :)

    This is exactly my kind of style and I just love everything you’ve posted here :)

    I have been looking for a pouf (the white leather one!!!) for ages here in Paris but I cannot seem to find one…

    As I’ve got friends pretty much throughout Europe I might be able to get them to buy me one ;) but where?
    Would you mind sharing from where the white leather pouf came from your photo in your post ?? Or if you know of another shop who sells them ? Thanks !

    Also, love your blog(s) – you inspire and drive!

  • Reply Sam September 15, 2008 at 11:37 am

    Such a beautiful post this morning. I love all the natural colors and simplicity.

    Sams last blog post: New in The Shop – Yarn Keep

  • Reply Jean September 15, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    Your gestalt-type post makes for a terrific read. Would love to see some images of the windowsill topiaries you describe, as well as doorways and windows of neighborhood houses.

  • Reply Denise Smith September 15, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    What a fantastic post!! Thank you so much, Holly! I feel like I have really “been there!” Interesting that in this global world, design trends are still regional. For some reason, that makes me really happy.

  • Reply decor8 September 15, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    Elisabet – Try this link for your poufs, she ships to France.

    Jean – Check out Haus Maus, I blogged yesterday showing my topiary tree. You can find other photos of my house there as well.

    Di – Hi! I was thinking about you while I was Am’dam. Wondering if you and the Bodie & Fou ladies would arrive or not. You were missed!


  • Reply Office With a View September 15, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    Wow! Thanks for the amazing post- love it all! I so covet the berry tone baskets and aluminum boxes!

    Office With a Views last blog post: * ?Leaving on a Jet Plane? With Pottery Barn Travel*

  • Reply Jana Souza September 15, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    I love your post and yes, Sia is really good music; just had to chime in on that note :)


  • Reply Amanda September 15, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    Ooh, looks like my taste is in style in Germany! I’ve been in the process of re-doing my apartment in berries and greys (loving deep amethyst, raspberry, sapphire colors with layers of greys and silver), and dark woods.
    And here I thought I was being original, haha.
    I feel freshly inspired, thanks!

  • Reply Gurvan Quelo September 15, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    Really like the colourful vintage type ceramics from Scandinavia and Germany -also glass from Finland with clean modern shapes. Check out sites like http://www.anseta and hi and lo

  • Reply elizabeth September 15, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    I love the aluminum boxes too! Any idea if they are available in the US? Or at least on a website that is in english? I knew I should have taken German instead of Spanish!

  • Reply Celia September 15, 2008 at 11:15 pm

    Great post Holly! I really enjoyed this trend piece. Especially love all the poufs. So casual and chic!

  • Reply alis September 16, 2008 at 4:00 am

    Holly, what a great post! I will bookmark this for further study :D

    aliss last blog post: Holding On Tight

  • Leave a Reply

    Scroll Up