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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Note: My living room is only 6 weeks old and still in progress so this is not the final view of the space.
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.
19. Wooden cabinets in white or black with glass doors. I have one in white.
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. 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)
Welcome to a brand new weekly feature called Get Real. This will be a post for readers to jump in and voice opinions on topics relating to decorating, blogging, small business, and the design world in general. I’ll post a new topic and a few questions to get you started weekly on Thursdays. Then everyone is free to jump in and participate. If you have any questions that you would like addressed, please email your suggested topic to me and I’ll consider it for Get Real. This week we’re talking about trends…
Zig zags are hot, silhouettes remain strong, birds are big, what would you like to see become a more common design motif? An octopus? Seahorse? Fox? How about a shape? Maybe some polka dots? Nesting dolls? Deer? Please don’t say Spread legs!
Go ahead, throw some ideas out, maybe it will inspire the many lovely artists and designers who stop by and read this post. You never know who is reading, your idea may kick off the next big thing. This is also your space to vent about the motifs you can’t stand and why. It’s important to be honest about design because let’s face, everyone isn’t loving the exact same things and it’s okay to admit it!
I hope you enjoy Get Real!
I’ve been watching the sly little mustache sweep through the indie design world for at least a year now which leads me to wondering how this whole ‘disguise’ trend got started as a design motif in the first place? Anyone know?
I’ve seen it used on pocket mirrors and buttons, wallets and art. Also necklaces, sticker packs and even on posters, throw pillows, rubber stamps and silver stud earrings. This crafty man knitted and framed his own and Mr. Octopus seems to be enjoying his immensely.
Marcel Duchamp drew one on a copy of the Mona Lisa once so is this some kind of modern day take on that? Hmmm. Anyone know?
(images from elephantine and horrah)
I spotted Malinki Design in the February issue of LivingEtc and had to learn more. Seems they are in the business of creating elegant mannequins out of funky florals and feminine silks, including custom designs (bespoke). I like the idea of owning a lovely French mannequin and though the intention I assume is to use it for tailoring, they also make a great accent in the home because you can drape them with accessories (handbags, brooches, a scarf, etc.) so that they’re functional. You can even use them as an inspiration spot for pinning fabric swatches, magazine clippings, etc.
Lucy though LivingEtc tells us that these start at around $1,300 USD.
On a budget? If you’re feeling creative you can buy a dress form with a wooden base for only $60 from vendors like Only Mannequins and customize it yourself. Try a patchwork technique or decoupage if you cannot sew. Paint the base in a fun color or hand paint it with a motif you love. You can also find vintage dress forms on sites like Craigslist and eBay. Search: mannequin, vintage dress form, dress form, it’s super easy to find these things on the web.
remix queen herself, Tricia Royal aka BitsandBobbins on Flickr.
An Anthropologie store window photographed by Skitzo Leezra. By the way, when is Anthropologie going to give us a book? I mean seriously. I think about this all the time, why don’t they have a book compiling images of their store displays with how-to’s on exactly the materials used to make each display? They pull together some of the best DIY projects and then, a few weeks later, they disappear forever. They need a book. I digress…
Click here for some more dress form inspiration. Do you decorate using a mannequin? Do you sew or just use it to display things? Care to send in any photos? :)
(images linked to sources above)