If you are on the look out for some distinctive new design pieces, then you’ll struggle to find anywhere better than the bustling northern city of Liverpool. Not only is it famous for being home of the Beatles, it’s also packed with designer shops, the only Harvey Nichols Beauty Bazaar in the country and more high street names than you’ll be able to handle! Like many towns, Liverpool lost its Habitat a few years back, but it has a huge new John Lewis carrying a wide range of furniture and accessories and an IKEA down the road in Warrington. But, we at The Idealist are more interested in quirky independent shops where you can pick up something distinctive, so we set off on an alternative hunt around the city.
Starting off in the Bluecoat area of the city (not far from Liverpool Central), you’ll find three great shops: The Bluecoat Display Centre, “MYNE” and “The Painted Chair”.
The Bluecoat Display Centre, housed in the same development as the Gallery, a former school and the oldest building in central Liverpool showcases work from over 350 artists in the form of ceramics, glassware and other art pieces. It’s a real treasure trove of examples of modern craft and design.
Just outside the Gallery itself in the initial courtyard is MYNE. As you might have guessed from the name, MYNE not only sells a wide range of quirky designer gifts but also offers in-house design services where you can quite literally … make it MYNE! You only have to speak to their friendly team and you’ll be able to have your gift custom designed in no time at all. Find them in Unit 5 of Bluecoat Chambers, L1 3BX. It’s a true shopping experience!
For the more ‘hands-on’ and creative shopper it’s certainly worth taking a look in The Painted Chair, who pride themselves on being the city’s only stockists of Chalk PaintTM decorative paint by Annie Sloan. The shop also run a series of fantastic courses ranging from chalk painting right through to upholstering chairs and it goes without saying that the staff really know their stuff!
Another great store for the more creative among us is REX – the city’s first ever concept store and home to a wide mix of retailers. Here you can expect a little bit of everything from a coffee shop, hat shop (with celebrity fan Paloma Faith), right through to a design lab! In fact they not only provide the perfect environment for everything creative but they also host various events throughout the year which can quite literally range from baking to music events! They have lots of urban/graffiti style art pieces and local prints, upcycled furniture and a range of accessories.
Moving over into Bold Street (although they also have a Store in Liverpool One) is Utility, who offer an extensive range of products from independent designers. Whether its furniture or gifts you’re after, you’ll find them all here and if there’s simply too much to carry home then fear not. The style here is a mix of cutting-edge design and midcentury classics, featuring an abundance of Eames pieces, scandi style designs, Arne Jacobsen, Tom Dixon, Verner Panton, Philippe Starck and others.
They offer a great online service with free delivery across the UK and next day despatch. Visit Utility Design and take a look at some of the great product ranges on offer from designers such as Alessi, E15, Carl Hansen and Daniel Wellington. The store simply oozes style and true to form, the staff are really friendly too!
If it’s more traditional furniture that you’re after then you’d do well to take a look in the city’s largest independent retailer, George F Knowles. Established as a cabinet maker in 1903, George F Knowles still supplies and produces some of the city’s finest furniture pieces and in fact has become one of the most respected businesses in Merseyside.
Spread over three floors their fantastic showroom features a huge variety of furniture and styles with all the traditional names such as G-Plan, Parker Knoll, Alstons and Tetrad. You’ll find their friendly and experienced team on St Anne Street.
Finally – and for something completely different – you’d be hard pressed to find anything more unique than Retro Interiors based in Waterloo. This amazing shop specialises in both new and second-hand items including Eames, French Louis style furniture, shabby chic, antiques, art, paintings and sculptures to name but a few. Stock can also be viewed on their website, and viewings outside their normal opening hours are always welcomed by contacting Sue. Definitely worth a look!
- Harvey Nichols Beauty Bazaar
- The Bluecoat Display Centre – 51, 50 College Ln, Liverpool L1 3BZ, 0151 709 4014
- George Knowles – 50 St Anne St, Liverpool L3 3EA, 0151 207 1311
- Myne Boutique – Liverpool ONE, Retail Unit 5, Bluecoat Chambers, School Ln, Liverpool L1 3BX, 0151 556 0059
- The Painted Chair – The Bluecoat, Liverpool ONE, School Ln, Liverpool L1 3BX, 07890 468667
- Retro Interiors, Waterloo. 91 Oxford Rd, Waterloo, Liverpool L22 7RE, 07932 581281
- Rex The Concept Store, Address: 24-26 Bold St, Liverpool L1 4DS, 0333 500 5522
- Utility, 60 Bold Street, Liverpool, L1 4EA, 0151 708 4192 and Gift stores on 86 Bold Street, Liverpool, L1 4HY, 8 Paradise Place, Liverpool, L1 8BQ, and 282 Pentonville Road, London, N1 9NR