Mad About The House to launch Design Storey – an edited interiors shop

I’m so excited to share this news with you today. It has been a long time in the dreaming and even longer in the making but Mad About The House is launching an online shop in January. Read on to find out the story behind Design Storey.

The idea came about after realising that there is such a thing as too much choice. That most of us just want a good lamp or a nice rug, but we don’t want to spend hours trawling through pages of stuff we don’t like or need to find it.

When I first started the blog (an internet century ago in 2012) and began consulting on interior design, I would regularly receive emails from people along the lines of: “I’ve got 3,000 pins on my kitchen board, I went in to look at sofas and I’ve planned a holiday, booked a hair appointment and decided to redo the bathroom .”

If that’s you then Design Storey Shop is for you.

You know when you just want a black t-shirt and the search throws up 47 pages of options and you daren’t skip one as that will be the place where the perfect black t-shirt is hiding? Or you’ve ticked so many filters that the search finds five and you hate them all, so you end up having to plough through those 47 pages after all and become fixated on the trousers the model is wearing on page 7 but which aren’t linked anywhere. Shopping is meant to be fun you wail as you click blindly on through.

If that’s you then Design Storey Shop is for you.

botera modular sofa from oka

I’ve filtered it down to the 50 best. That’s 10 products on each page spread over five pages. You can do five pages. And if you like a product, click on it and you will be taken straight to the original store so you can buy it.

It’s that simple. It’s all about the edit and after more than 20 years writing about interiors and eight of them running the UK’s No 1 ranked interiors blog, I reckon I know what makes a good piece.

But just showing you pictures isn’t enough. You want to know why it has earned a place in the store and I will tell you that too. Whether it’s a classic that will hold its value, or a fun piece that will bring the wow factor, I will explain to you why each item has made the cut and how you might style it in your own place.

The idea for an edited shop came about after one of my earliest regular freelance jobs following the birth of my elder son in 2001. I regularly contributed to the 50 Best section of The Independent which would cover everything from the 50 best armchairs to the 50 best lamps via artisanal sausages and coffee shops. Not only was writing 75-100 words on anything and everything perfect blog training, but it was also an idea that has been knocking around in my head for years. Fifty is enough to make a choice. But if you’ve only got to look at five pages then it doesn’t feel overwhelming. And then you don’t need to bother with glitchy filters – because, if there’s one thing that Phil and Kirsty have proved on Location; it’s that what you think you want and you want actually buy are often two different things so it’s best not to rule anything out on the basis of it being chrome not copper or floral not geometric. Because we can all fall in love with something we weren’t expecting and realise it’s the perfect solution.

Design Storey will help you make those decisions.

And well as providing content, Design Storey will link back here where you will find eight years of tips and advice from how big your rug should be, to what paint goes on which surface and how to buy a sofa (you’ll need that for that Pinterest search). Many of these posts are timeless and their advice still holds true so you can remind yourself as you wander through the shop.

There will also be plenty of tips and tricks dotted throughout and don’t forget there are two books of the same name (with a third on the way to complete the set in March 2021).

Burnley bar stool from wayfair

Design Storey is the online interiors department store for the 21st century. I’ve done the research so your search can be easier. Visit each room or browse through the full curations. Take a wander through to the blog where you can also stroll through beautiful rooms of inspiration with clear explanations of why the décor works and how you might adapt it for your own places and spaces.

As we spend more time at home, we owe it to ourselves to make the right choices of décor and furniture so that our homes support us in all that we do. And if 2020 taught us anything it was that our homes are absolutely key in the promotion and support of our mental well-being.

Faizura rug from anthropologie

How does it work? Well, it’s run on affiliate links*. Basically if you buy via Design Storey (if you click on a product then you will be taken directly to the store) I earn a small commission on the sale. It doesn’t cost you any extra but means I can spend the time researching the best pieces for you to buy. It works for the featured shop as Design Storey functions as a second shop window for them to reach a new, possibly wider, audience. So everyone wins. And after a year that has been so tough for retail everything helps.

One common issue is that many stores now carry less stock and put the bulk of their offering online, which means there’s even more to wade through. That’s where Design Storey comes in.

dexter pendant light from pooky

Finally, and here’s the part I mentioned the other day, you can sign up for the weekly Design Storey newsletter. This will give you design tips and ideas, hook you up with the week’s blog content, as well as reminding you of past pieces, show you what’s new in the shop and bring you reader offers and discounts too. You can subscribe here to be the first to find out when the store will open.

As the tagline says: Interiors Shopping Just Got Edited.

What will your storey say?

*A note on affliliate links (you can read more on that here). Not every item is an affiliate link. This shop is also about small businesses that might not have the capacity to offer them but if you want to be involved and get extra promotion and can offer a link then get in touch.

Sign up for Design Storey updates

Sign up for the weekly newsletter from DESIGN STOREY, Mad about the House’s new website; a curated interiors store for the 21st century, which will feature top picks for your home, design tips, styling advice and reader offers.

    Design Storey uses a respected & secure service for the mailing list, based in the USA, who subscribe to the EU-US Privacy Shield Framework to ensure your data is protected.

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. A fabulous service and I just know it is going to be a huge success! I remember learning in a marketing course that people go into a supermarket to buy a toothbrush and come out without one because there’s too much choice and we’re talking about a n item that costs pennies. So yes, with a sofa …

    Well done, and thank you, for all your clever thinking and hard work to bring this to fruition. You’re a star!

  2. I love this idea, Kate! I could definitely do with fewer evenings scrolling for hours and feeling a bit empty afterwards… Also fab to know that this edit will come from a person who advocates ethical, sustainable pieces from diverse sources. Really looking forward to seeing your site, loads of luck with it!

  3. You read my mind! This will be like having a funny, trusted friend to do the legwork for me. Brill business idea, too. Brava.

  4. Well done Kate. I’ve learned my “go to” shops over the past 20 years but I still remember that dreadful overwhelming feeling whenI started out and I can’t imagine what it must be like for people not in the business. It’s a minefield.
    Tons of Luck to you 👍👍 Trojan work. I’m sure it will be a runaway success. Well deserved success too 👏👏

  5. This is great news, i’m really excited – 2021 is going to be my year of change (new location, being more daring, new life etc.). And selfishly, i’m sure your edit is going to make my choices so much easier, (my Pinterest pages have got to the confusing stage, is my kitchen going to be dark blue, forest green or black?, you get the picture). Very best of luck with this new venture I know it will be a great success. P.S. looking forward to your next book.

  6. Congrats Kate, fabulous idea and wishing you the best of luck with it. We will have to get you on Irish TV talking about it since you played such a blinder the last time!
    Warmest regards from Dublin, Niamh

    1. Interesting. Can’t wait to browse and hopefully shop. Anything that helps to narrow down the dreary filtering and scrolling will be wonderful, and with your eye and knowledge too. Another reason to be impatient for this year to end and get to January.

  7. Clever, clever woman. Best of luck with this project. You have so many things on your plate(s) must look like a dinner party! I always look forward to your charming, inspiring posts (even, once, in the hospital).

  8. Great idea and can completely relate to the ‘too much choice’ conundrum. I want to wallpaper my utility room and don’t know what I want (so I cant even filter the options) so I have been putting it off until I have some idea of a general style I want (ie- botanical, graphic, retro etc)

  9. What a great idea! I always love your shopping picks on your blog posts, and have followed through on a couple, so I trust your taste.
    And you are so right about the oppression of too many choices (I write as one who had to buy a white bath/sink/loo a couple of years back). How much more productive and less stressful to shop in a curated boutique instead of a megastore,

  10. Hi Kate – just wondering if all the items you feature will be from your ‘Do less Harm’ suppliers list? It would be great if they were! Catherine

  11. I really identify with the searching for a black t shirt!! Searching for a sofa (for example) is so much more important and expensive – look forward to seeing these posts Kate

  12. Hi Kate! This is such a brilliant idea. I know I will love your edits just as I already love the screenshot right at the beginning of the article. The colours!

  13. Fantastic idea Kate I can’t wait to take a look……and am now putting some house shopping on hold until Jan!! Best of luck with the new venture!

  14. A great idea and your rationale behind it spot on. Have been and are still renovating and refurbishing this year (after the 4 older ones left for university!) and I have taken on so many of your ideas both from your books and blog. This will be so well received and appreciated by many (says one who last night spent far too long trying to source a specific rug!) Looking forward to it going live.

  15. What a brilliant idea Kate! You have such a good eye, I can’t wait to see your edit. Also, trust is key in this type of venture and I’m sure I’m not alone amongst your readers to say I totally have that in you. I know you’ll love and believe in the products and your selection will be driven by taste, not profit. Good luck, I’m sure it will be a big success for you!

    1. This looks fab! I’m interested to know how the principles of your ‘Design for Diversity’ and ‘Do No Harm’ initiatives will shape what you share on the site?

      1. Well I always try to adhere to those principles as far as I can with the knowledge I have available. Am wondering about a key system so you can know instantly if it’s black owned, eco friendly, small business, ships internationally etc etc…

        1. I think a key system would be a great idea. Also just realised I replied to someone else’s comment instead of posting a fresh one – woops!

  16. Kate……this is so exciting! Congratulations. This makes me happy that I’ve had to be patient about getting cracking with making our house a home. Will you also be featuring vintage items? Much trickier I know but it but I’ve found some wonderful vintage items from Design Vintage and Mosey Home through following your blog and Instagram xx

  17. As someone about to move house and has a lot to buy, I am so blooming excited about this!! Thank you and good luck, I hope it is a huge success for you.

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