To walk around a shop, browsing each and every product while internally designing your next interior project, feels like a luxury I never want to take for granted again. Seeing the high street disappear in front of our eyes over the last 18 months has been unnerving to say the least for those in retail, but if lockdown showed us anything, it is the resilience of those independent retailers trying to weather the storm.
One of those independents is Housing Units – a favourite homeware shop of mine located in Manchester, just an hour from Leeds. Not content with just reopening to welcome both new faces and old, the store has undergone a brand new refurbishment with the introduction of the Modern Living department.
It was this area that I travelled to see; not only because Housing Units never fails to inspire me with their room settings, but because of the spotlight on accessories and smaller homeware that enables shoppers to get that luxe look the brand is known for, on a modest budget.
As you walk into the main building, you’re greeted with a wall of scents to your right, shelves upon shelves layered with candles, room sprays and diffusers. As someone with a slight addiction to buying candles for the house, it was hard to tear myself away.
While the space doesn’t feel overwhelming in size, there is still décor inspiration at every turn. The beauty of Housing Units that I’ve found each time I’ve visited (discover my previous blog posts here, here and here), is that the trends that are featured feel aspirational yet still accessible.
Yes, the design ethos of the store is still very much luxury – to cater for the market of Manchester’s more affluent shopper – but Modern Living definitely offers alternatives to get that signature look with small accessories, soft furnishings and lighting.
Lighting, which I might add, creates the perfect statement. I’ve included some of my favourite pieces, including these oil effect coated glass shades to give that iridescent finish.
Throughout the store, it was clear to see that artisan finishes and natural textures remain a focus for the new season, with organic shapes and wood standing out as one of the key ss21 trends.
A continuation of autumn, decorative animal sculptures brought a touch of the jungle, alongside leaf prints and a tropical colour palette of dark green and rich blues – all complimented by pops of brushed gold.
Moving into the bedding department within Modern Living, there was one trend prevalent throughout – glamour. From the embellished and sequined detailing on the Rita Ora collection, to the mirrored furniture reminiscent of the art deco era, if sleeping in a 5-star inspired bed each night, then this is worth the visit alone.
For those looking for a more simplistic modern style of interior, away from bedding you’ll find curves in all the right places in a muted colour palette of black, white and transparent. Plastic was a huge trend within interiors last year, moving into the more mainstream of designs in Housing Units, across furniture, lighting, decorative additions and more.
Finally, a favourite of mine in the new Modern Living department – the Orla Kiely collection. Renowned for her use of 70s inspired prints and a tonal colour palette of orange, yellow, greens and brown, this collection features not only statement furniture but lighting, soft furnishings and accessories, all within the signature style of Kiely.
While the Modern Living department is just a small part of Housing Units, I would recommend making a day of it and grabbing lunch upstairs in The Wickentree Restaurant. The food was incredibly tasty and homemade (I had the roast chicken sandwich which came with roast potatoes nearly as good as mum’s, gravy, cranberry sauce and a pot of stuffing for extra flavour), while the service was top notch.
If you’re interested in visiting Housing Units, you can find directions and more information on opening times etc over on the website.
Have you visited Housing Units before or is it a new discovery for you?