The Interior Shopper’s Best Kept Secret

I think I might be one of the last people left who hasn’t done it. I know I should have done but somehow I’d just never got round to it. And then, last week, I did it. Armed with lots of advice from those who had done it before me.

“You’ll love it,” they said.

“Oh, it’s wonderful,” they said.

“I only wish I’d done  it sooner,” they said.

Homesense Autumn Lighting

“Take water,” said one.

“Sensible shoes,” said another.

“You never know what you might find,” was the consensus. Yes, dear reader, I have been to Homesense.

Now, given that everyone was incredulous that I hadn’t been before, I’m assuming many of you are too but for the others – it’s the  sister of TK Maxx but for interiors. Yes that’s it – designer labels at up to 60 per cent off. Why are we not all stampeding?

Now, like TX Maxx, you might not have heard of all the labels but you can’t argue with the prices. Of the designers I have heard of though I saw Designers Guild, Orla Kiely, House of Holland, DKNY, Slumberdown and more.

Homesense Autumn Bathroom

I should have bought some duck down pillows for £19 but I didn’t for some reason. I think it was all a little overwhelming. And that’s where the helpful advice comes in. You do need to systematically go up and down the isles because you never know what treasures are lurking at the back of the shelf.

It’s brilliant for all sorts of bedding – very high thread counts galore. One friend told me her mother buys all her Sheridan bedding there (one of the top Australian companies). Another that it’s good for cushions – Edinburgh Weavers and Bluebell Gray were just two of the names mentioned as well as Stelton and Normann Copenhagen for kitchenware and, of course, masses of Le Creuset.

But much of the stuff isn’t named unless it is in a box like the Joseph Joseph kitchenware for example. I’m sure I saw a cabinet that could have come from OKA and they’re rumoured to stock Jonathan Adler and Frette sheets too.

Homesense Autumn Floral Bedroom

Another tip I received is that shoppers can have sharp elbows as there is often only one of an item, although there are daily deliveries. If you are buying furniture – and I could have bought a fabulous sofa for £599 reduced from £1500 but sadly I have no space for it – ask the staff to put a sold sticker on it as you continue round the store. Although tales abound of people removing stickers as soon as your back is turned. Otherwise, if you can carry it round then do.

So what did I buy? Well I could have bought about 15 cushions but I was mindful of The Mad Husband so I think I might save that for next time. As I said, I should have bought the pillows. I will definitely go back for bedding. I bought small things including a gorgeous wooden handled ostrich feather duster and a long handled dustpan and brush which I have wanted for ages. Which has led to a complete redesign of my tiny laundry room/cupboard – mainly as a place to hang said fancy duster but also gives me an excuse to return and buy lots of fabulous storage for the new shelves which will be going in there. Not entirely sure that the 60 per cent discount on the duster is going to cover the cost of the fabulous space to hang it in but hey, swings and roundabouts.


Now getting to these stores can be a trek as they tend to be located in retail parks and they don’t exist online. But for those of you in south London, there is a new one opening on Thursday in Greenwich so there will be one in north London and one in south as well as spread fairly evenly all over the rest of the country.

It does come with a caveat though  – there will be times when you visit and you find nothing. And times when you spend far too much. My tip? You have to have enough time for a good rummage, you have to be in the mood and you have to be prepared to come back another day.

So if you haven’t done it before either then get yourself off to Greenwich. It’s new so they’re bound to cram with all the good stuff and, as another friend said to me: ” I treat an hour in Homesense as an hour of therapy.”

And, given that we’re in the thick of the school holidays who wouldn’t want that?



This is a sponsored post for Homesense who asked me to go and investigate but I heard so many good things from interior designers and stylists and friends that I was happy to go along and check it out. If anyone has found any great bargains then do let us know in the comments below. I sense that won’t be my last visit. 

Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.


  1. I once bought a Frette duvet set after a tip off my the lovely Erica Davies. Lately bought some faux flowers, they have an amazing range. Love Homesense Tunbridge Wells.

  2. I’m a 23 year old that have been scouting for an extra large circular mirror for what seemed like forever (I mean what 20 something year old home isn’t complete without this statement piece?) Anyway, after Target refused to ship to the UK and Oliver Bonas is clearly out of my budget Homesence pulled through with the perfect extra large circular mirror with a thin brass trim. The best £50.00 I have ever spent.

  3. I get the feeling that your HomeSense is our HomeGoods in the US. It’s a great place for “unique” treasures that won’t land you in the poor house. Show us pic of your finds.

  4. *plans trip to Greenwich immediately*

    Any tips on what to look for when buying bedding? I get so overwhelmed by the selection and never know what’s good value for what you get or a rip off because of the brand name? Thanks!

  5. Sebastian Conran Beep light. I think I paid £40. Just wish I had bought the other one at the time! Still love it.

  6. I’m ashamed to say I’ve never heard of HomeSense but since it’s arriving in South London imminently, I shall remedy that promptly. You’ve made me keen to go, armed with flat shoes and lots of time to wander the aisles.

  7. I love going to home sense and do make sure to check out every aisle. I particularly like the kids items. I found a beautiful red domed lamp there which was exactly what I had in mind for my youngest son. It has a mushroom feel to it without literally being a mushroom so won’t be outgrown so soon. Also recently found a rice storage box with embroidery (they come in the shape of houses and buildings) heavily discounted with no damage. Loads of boho style floor cushions etc. I always look there for presents for young children, it’s a good place to go for toys, books and craft items that are a little different.

  8. I fall into the incredulous category that you have never been before, as I have probably spent several weeks of my life in Homesense if you added it all up 😀 The stand out item for me was a cushion by the artist Joseph Alexander Goode, I had been drooling over them online and trying to justify paying £80 for one and low and behold I found one for £20! I ran to the cash desk with it like a Welsh rugby player heading for the goal in a match against the All Blacks. I’ve bought bedding, mirrors, cookware, horses heads, drawer knobs – you name it. The only slight caveat I would make is that some of the items are reduced for a reason, if you are happy/able to fix things it’s not a problem but furniture, in particular, should be thoroughly inspected and anything that has been ‘reduced to clear’ will usually have some damage. I imagine this may not be so much the case in the London stores, but elsewhere I have found its easy to get so carried away by your enthusiasm that you don’t notice the wonky leg until you get home!

  9. Such a pity there is not a website. Their sister TK Maxx is indispensable to me, the online shopper. Recently bought French 100% white linen duvet cover, King Size for £89.99 so beautiful, I purchased another. Also comes in grey. Bargain! Thanks for the heads up on Homesense.

  10. Homesense is a Interior Designer and stylist dream, I have bought anything from coasters to sofas. I am a big fan of their throw and glassware selection! I treat it like going to an Antiques fair, you just don’t know what’s going to be there, you have to enjoy the hunt!

  11. Came across the Chichester branch and found a set of beautiful Margot Selby bedding.

  12. I recently bought a whole set of Royal Doulton white bone china tableware that was so reasonable (cheaper than buying supermarket basic items) that I use it for every day use. It doesn’t chip or scratch like the cheap stuff and feels lovely to handle. Will be heading back for spares soon.

    I also bought a huge faux dinosaur egg in the sale for £4. I have no idea why but it looked cool and was so cheap. I’ll find a use for it someday (probably in the garden) or it will go to the charity shop. In the meantime, Hubbie finds great pleasure in reminding me about it – I thought I’d hidden it better!!

    In the past I virtually dressed a whole holiday home from Homesense for a fraction of what it would have cost elsewhere. All gorgeous stuff that doesn’t shout high street brands.

    I agree that like TK Maxx you really need to go with an open mind and plenty of time but not so open that you end up with a dinosaur egg.

  13. I’m a big fan of HomeSense, it’s ideal. The candles and bodycare are brilliant, the food aisle is gift heaven and then there’s the rest of the shop. I can often be found in Merthyr Tydfil, Reading and Taploe stores making a bee line for the trolley.

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