Thursday, 22 June 2017

Three Great Interiors Outlet Stores

There's a certain irony to writing a blog post about outlet stores when the summer sales are about to kick off, but bear with me - these three places are good to keep on your radar whenever, and can be combined with other activities if your children simply won't countenance a whole day looking at discount furniture. 

It's important to note that each of these places should be visited with an open mind - you can't go expecting to find any one specific item, but if you have more general requirements and like the idea of finding an unexpected bargain these places are worth the trip out of town (they are all within an hour of Bristol.)

 John Lewis Outlet, Swindon

If I was being mean, I might say that this place is perhaps the only reason to visit Swindon. But actually, the John Lewis outlet is right next to a rather good train museum, STEAM, which is most useful if you have children who are into that kind of thing - ie: you can shop, they can play trains for the afternoon. 

There are some serious bargains to be had at this outlet, from discounted white goods to end of line home accessories. Again, you can't come expecting to find a Miele dishwasher on display, but if you're thinking of updating your washing machine, TV or bed there's usually plenty on offer to tempt you.

Items are returned goods, end of lines or ex shop display and as such they may have the odd scratch or mark. When our washing machine conked out we rang the shop ahead and found that there was and identical one on sale - it just had a slight dent on one side. We took a chance on it and got it delivered by John Lewis without having to visit in person. 

The highlight of our shopping adventures at the outlet has to be our Halo Groucho leather sofa which to buy new comes in at a hefty £1299. The slightly scratched (but all the better for it) sofa we picked up cost just £600 and is a perfect addition to our compact living room.

The store is part of the larger Swindon Designer Outlet where you'll also find bargains from the likes of M&S, Next and Reiss.

Find out more here

Kilver Court Designer Village

I hadn't expected to find so many nice things for the home at Kilver Court, an upmarket retail village in Shepton Mallet. Synonymous with discounted Mulberry goods, we visited on a recommendation from a friend who'd had a lovely afternoon at the adjoining secret gardens. While not free to enjoy, the gardens here are absolutely stunning and a good place for shopping weary kids to let off some steam. They're tranquil and beautifully framed by an aqueduct, with a central lake and pretty rockery to complete the picture. 

Quite a different experience to other designer outlets, Kilver is a much more relaxed shopping experience, with a selection of old mill buildings housing a variety of different departments. One side is dedicated to clothing with high-end brands such as Toast, Joseph and Whistles on offer.

But the highlight for me was the charming three storey section filled with homeware, next to the Harlequin Cafe. This isn't the place to come looking for big-ticket items, but if you're after accessories, towels or kitchen ware, it's a real treasure trove of lovely stuff. 

On my visit I picked up an amazing bargain - a glass cabinet identical to one I'd seen in Graham & Green - that weekend it was reduced from £100 to £50 (the Graham & Green version costs £300.) It's a little bit scratched and a tad flimsy but it makes an ideal TV stand and receptacle for the kids' playstation and Wii games. 

Kilver is also brilliant for bargain buys for your garden. As well as stunning flowers and plants to buy, the brilliantly-named Wiggly Shed shop is a cornucopia of pretty things for your garden - pots, vases, bee houses and much more. 

Find out more here

Graham & Green Outlet Store

Located in a non-descript trading estate on the outskirts of Chippenham, this place is worth a detour if you happen to be spending a day in Wiltshire. You could combine a visit with a morning at the lovely Castle Combe or Lacock - both are within easy distances of the store. 

Very much a factory space filled with discounted and damaged stock, this is a place for people who like to rummage and can see the potential in pieces that might need a bit of TLC. We spotted a lovely large size copper floor lamp, normally £175. But it had been used for a photo shoot and was, rather inconveniently, missing its springs. 

After negotiating the price down from £100 to £80, we decided to take a punt on it (the sales assistant assured us we could find the right springs online; in actual fact, we contacted a Graham & Green store in London who very kindly sent us replacement springs free of charge - major customer service brownie points!)

I also spotted some gorgeous chandeliers, cushions and bedding - items I've often lusted over when their catalogue pops through my door, but which I didn't - on this occasion - have a requirement for. I did buy some cute pineapple candle holders (a couple of quid each instead of £8, slightly damaged), though. Bigger furniture items are available too - I spotted some lovely sofas and those stunning mother of pearl pieces that make my heart beat a bit faster every time I see them. 

Find out more here

Top photo courtesy of Kilver Court. 



  1. Your home is beautiful! I've had great luck in the John Lewis returns section of my local branch, and usually haggle a little bit further off the retail price.

    Our living room is extremely frugal. I'm sitting on a sofa I got free from Freecycle (Laura Ashley, I dyed the covers a deep petrol blue), next to a G plan nest of teak drawers (also free...) looking at a mid-century modern sewing table I got for £5 from eBay. In fact, the most expensive bit of furniture in our living room is our rocking chair which was £10 from *drumroll please*...the dump! We will be staining it to match the teak furniture.

    1. Hi Mina, thanks so much for your comment! Totally agree that haggling is the way forward, even though it doesn't really come naturally to me. But once you get into the flow, it's amazing how people can be receptive to taking an offer! I love the sound of your upcycling projects - do you have a blog at all which feaures your interiors projects? I love getting inspiration from other bloggers!


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