Treats in Store
As the new spring/summer ranges arrive in our supermarkets, Gabrielle Fagan makes a trolley dash for the hottest trends...
If you go down to the supermarket today you're sure of a big surprise - a trolley full of designer-style homewares at purse-friendly prices.
In the past five years, supermarkets have raised their interiors game, stocking furniture and accessories any high street store would be proud of - at prices many retailers cannot match.
It gets especially hard to keep focused on the weekly food shop in March, when the new spring and summer collections hit the stores. Hot off the conveyor belt for this year are ranges inspired by the most fashionable looks - Wild West, romantic, coastal, floral, cool retro and country.
Here's how to find style in the aisles ...
Homewares have played a role in Sainsbury's stores for 12 years, with online shopping available since 2008. The brand has steadily established a reputation for impressive ranges that don't easily date.
"We're inspired by developments across the interiors market, fabric trends, the latest catwalk shows and wider global aesthetic influences," says James Brown, general merchandise director.
"By offering on-trend ranges, it means our customers can welcome the changes for the season ahead affordably - and with minimum effort. This season, we believe we've got fresh, vibrant, stylish collections from rustic Country Fair and graphic Monochrome, to romantic In Bloom and vivid Aqua."
WHAT'S ON OFFER: Sainsbury's has four easy-to-live-with decor styles for transforming a setting or providing essential ingredients to refresh a room. Monochrome's graphic black and white designs are partnered with fashionable brass and copper detailing, while the gentler Country Fair is inspired by farmers' markets and features floral, fruit and vegetable motifs and craft-style embroidery. Bold florals are an essential this season and In Bloom's watercolour effect with soft, splashy prints in a pink, plum and aqua palette is an elegant interpretation.
SUPERMARKET STAR: I love the Aqua range, which showcases shades of blue and super patterns from fish motifs through to Eastern prints and tropical palms. Checkout snips: by Sainsbury's Fish Print Napkins, £5 for a set of two; Fish Print Table Runner, £12; Aqua Print Jug, £12; and Cobalt Blue Glass Jug, £15.
TROLLEY TREATS: Smarten a sofa with a Black Knitted Throw, £25 and Monochrome Cushion, £15. If you feel colour-starved after winter, plump for the charming Country Fair Floral Print Bed Linen, £16 for a double set, a Wild Flowers Embroidered Cushion, £15, and Tree Scene Cushion, £8. Create a pretty Easter table with a 12-piece In Bloom Dinner Set, £40. Items available in stores throughout March (sainsburys.co.uk or tel: 0800 328 1700).
The George home brand, which launched at Asda in May 2014, is the new kid on the block. It's brought an imaginative, bang-on-trend range to the high street.
"This season, we are offering a truly exciting and diverse seasonal range, with gorgeous collections incorporating distinctive trends," says Fiona Lambert, vice president of George and George Home.
WHAT'S ON OFFER: Take your pick from five looks: Meadow's fresh-as-a-daisy digital prints mimic a flower-strewn meadow enlivened by woodland animals, while Eden shows off full-on florals in orchid-purple. Shore's a cheeky 'hello sailor' interpretation of the perennially popular coastal style and Farm Fresh will appeal to retro fans with bouncy, bright shades, polka dots and Fifties-style slogans.
SUPERMARKET STAR: Don't miss George's Desert decor, all dusky soft sands, burnished reds and Wild West touches. Checkout snip: a Tufted Arrow Cushion, £15.
TROLLEY TREATS: Meadow's pin-sharp Daisy Photographic Double Duvet Set, £12, or the more delicate Eden Watercolour Floral Double Duvet Set, single £12, double £15. There's a saucy seaside-postcard feel to the Sailor Girl Bedding Set, single £10, double £12, and country-girl style is evoked with a Farm Fresh Cockerel Tray, £5 (george.com or tel: 0800 952 3003).
After a re-launch and expansion of the homeware range last spring, this brand's gone from strength to strength. Buyers now travel the world sourcing new pieces and the collections consistently score highly for both design and detail.
"It's been developed to offer a complete range of stylish and affordable products to all of our customers," says Julie Reynolds-Smith, head of buying for home and furniture. Our Mid Century collection is already proving extremely popular, with the Marseille metal dining chairs, only £49 each, a real hit."
WHAT'S ON OFFER: New West is the brand's interpretation of the emerging desert ranch style, with burnished leather, patchwork prints and cactus print accessories. If that's too rugged, flirt with Modern Romance's photographic floral prints and chalk tones - perfect for conjuring sophisticated and feminine decor. Splash out on Oceanic, with a palette of glistening turquoise, cobalt and sea foam white, and pair it with the handsome contemporary indoor and outdoor furniture.
SUPERMARKET STAR: Don't miss the retro-inspired Mid Century collection with a colour palette of zesty lemon, pops of blue and red, and pale wood furniture. Check out snips: Julianne Felt Effect Loveseat in Pebble, £449; Triangle Pattern Rug, £90.
TROLLEY TREATS: Turn up the heat with a New West Cactus Print Cushion, £8, and a Lausanne Armchair, £399, upholstered in antique saddle leather. A few touches may be all that's needed to soften a setting - a Rose Pink Cushion, £8, from the Modern Romance range is ultra-feminine. Finally, fish for compliments with a photo-print Turtle Cushion, £8, and a Chunky Ombre Knit Blue Throw, £25, from the Oceanic collection (tesco.com/direct tel: 0800 323 4050).