As a proud Mancunian, and self-proclaimed interiors obsessive, it’s so wonderful to see that the design industry is booming here ‘oop north’. And whilst Manchester has always been a creative bunch, it’s not until I bought my first house in 2011 and adopted a love of independent design that I truly discovered how much we have on our doorstep.
I tried and tried to narrow down this list to a few favourites or a “Top 10” but the fact is, I want to shout about all the talent we have up here, and create a real resource for some serious home shopping. What can I say, I’m an enabler! Whether you’re a new homeowner and want some inspiration from independent stockists, are visiting Manchester from afar and want to see what our buzzy bees have on offer, or if you simply want to sit down for a coffee in a badass interior space (many of these shops serve a great brew!), then take a look at my ultimate guide to design shopping in Manchester.
Tell me which you’ve visited. Tell me of those I’m yet to discover so I can add them to my list! And spread the word. Let’s put Manchester on the interiors map.
Specialists in reclaimed furniture and lighting (including chandeliers which are hard to come by in Manchester), Agapanthus is hidden away a few minutes’ walk from Stockport’s historic Old Town. I discovered the store when I bought my first tin of Annie Sloan paint (they’re an official stockist) and the store was full to the brim with unique pieces. A real treasure trove.
77 Wellington St, Stockport SK1 1FE
[Image Credit: Annie Sloan]
Fig & Sparrow
A Northern Quarter favourite for a great ‘coffee & cake’ date, but it also happens to supply a number of homeware pieces from local designers. Fun fact, they used to have have an Airbnb upstairs too, designed beautifully in the same style as their stock. I wish more lifestyle stores would do this!
20 Oldham Street, Manchester, M1 1JA
[Image Credit: thingstodo]
A truly Instagrammable spot, and a belting example of red-bricked Manchester. This lifestyle store supports independent design and is fairly new to our Northern Quarter but already very much loved. Form plays host to brush lettering and terrarium workshops from Artsynibs and GeoFleur respectively; a great gift idea for those who are tricky to buy for.
6 Bradley St, Manchester M1 1EH
[Image Credit: Form]
A cherished shop of Mancunians (since 1886!) which supplies materials for basically any creative. It’s a great place for art supplies, office stationery, home ornaments and even has a photography studio for hire if you need a space for shooting! Don’t leave without using the photo booth or admiring the infamous art of Stephenson Square outside. If you pass by this store outside of opening hours, you’ll notice the shutters are covered in street art by local artists.
37 Lever St, Manchester M1 1LW
I feel like the website summary says it better than I ever could. Idaho sells “design led homewares, gifts, cards, stationery, jewellery + all things lovely jubbly”. And it really does. Idaho sits right at the entrance of South Manchester-favourite Altrincham Markets, so you can really make it a day of retail therapy. You pop in for a cute greeting card and end up leaving with a hanging planter and a set of gold serving spoons. We’ve all been there.
56 Greenwood St, Altrincham WA14 1RZ
Specialists in architectural salvage and antiques, with a particular focus on reclaimed doors, stained glass and fireplaces. Perfect if you’re restoring an older property and want to keep the character or enhance original period features. Situated in a Victorian pub building, it’s a gorgeous step back in time through interiors. Oh, and they’ve now got a photo studio space upstairs!
252 Chester Rd, Manchester M15 4EX
If soft tones and refined, minimalist design are your thing then I think you’ll really love Moth. The lifestyle concept store modestly labels themselves as effortless everyday living, but it’s such a beautifully curated store, it feels like that doesn’t do it justice. Visit and see for yourself.
154 Burton Rd, Manchester M20 1LH
[Image Credit: Moth]
Just north of Manchester in Prestwich, accessible via the tram, Nonsense is a concept store focused on design with a seriously good plant selection. I wrote a full blog post on my visit here, but this is a brilliant choice if, like me, you love shopping for design but also have a toddler who likes to “test how well it works” (Parents you know what I’m talking about). Nonsense has a kiddy corner complete with a blackboard, reading nook, and pop up coffee shop meaning you can swoon over interiors hassle-free. Bliss.
424 Bury New Road, Prestwich, Manchester, M25 1BD
A few miles outside of the city centre in hipster favourite Chorlton, Object Style specialises in brands built on craftsmanship, quality and simplicity, supporting small independents in homeware and fashion alike. A beautiful deep green backdrop and ply pegboard interior is the perfect setting for their range.
519 Barlow Moor Rd, Manchester M21 8QA
[Image Credit: Trouva]
An assault of colour welcomes you to this arty boutique right besides the Manchester Arndale and on the egde of the Northern Quarter. Selling everything from unique housewares (think dinosaur shaped lamps and vinyl record coasters), handmade jewellery and plenty of kitsch, Oklahoma is my go-to place for quirky gifts. You’ll know it’s open when you see the Penguin outside. Keep an eye out on their amazing window displays throughout the year.
74-76 High St, Manchester M4 1ES
The only non-independent on my list I think! This design-led brand covers both furniture and fashion, and whilst well-known around the UK, it’s still relatively new to our beloved Manchester. Forget the Manchester Piccadilly version and opt for the 3-story store on St. Mary’s Gate if you want more interiors over gifts. I went to the store launch which you can see more of here.
13-14 St Mary’s Gate, Manchester M1 1PX
Porter & Cole
Named after the owners’ two dogs, Porter & Cole, this coffee lounge & lifestyle store is such a stunning addition to the Northern Quarter. With really reasonably priced lunches, a friendly wag of a tail upon arrival and luxe interiors on a budget, this is a must-see especially if you like to do a bit of people watching with a cuppa.
124 High St, Manchester M4 5JY
[Image credit: allthatshecraves]
RifRaf Furniture supplies unique and hand finished furniture, tucked away behind Urmston market. Don’t be deceived by its small location outside of Manchester. With chairs on the wall and items hung from the ceiling, they sure make the most of the space! And if you visit on the first Sunday of the month, Urmston’s Artisan Market will be in full swing next door with music and food – it’s a great day out. Don’t miss: The Manchester bee mural outside. Perfect Manc photo opportunity, as my little lady is showing off below.
2B Railway Road Manchester, United Kingdom M41 0XL
Slightly further out from Manchester but a beautiful shop worth the trip. Room 356 is an understated boutique, offering the best homeware and lifestyle products with a pared-back aesthetic. If you don’t fancy the trek to Bolton though, Room 356 products can often be found at the Altrincham Markets at weekend, right next to Idaho!
356 Chorley Old Rd, Bolton BL1 6AG
Rose & Grey
A great mix of contemporary and boutique, for luxury furniture or quirky homeware pieces. I covered the opening of their showroom here and have been a regular customer ever since. As a family business, they get bonus points for being so child-friendly in store – and trust me, my daughter has tested all the velvet couches! Don’t forget to snap a picture of the Insta-famous paneled wall if you’re an interiors nerd like me.
31 Atlantic Street, Altrincham, Cheshire, WA14 5FA
Stockyard North Salvage
You’d never know this place exists unless it’s for word of mouth, which makes it all the more special when you stumble inside! Situated in a warehouse in industrial Trafford Park, you’ll probably need to drive here (although the Metrolink will be there in a year or so). Stockyard North Salvage stock items with stories. They’re antiques. One of a kinds. Pieces of nostalgia. Items that have previously been featured as props in film and/or television! It’s a wonderful place and the team are so happy to help if you’re hunting for something specific.
Praed Road, Trafford Park, Stretford, Manchester M17 1SJ
[Image credit: Stockyard]
If you’re wondering where I get my dinosaur dungarees from, this is the place. As well as stocking rockabilly/nerdy clothing though, they also have plenty of kitsch in the homewares department. Playing up to the colourful and playful aesthetic, you can pick up reasonably priced items from animal-themed lights to cloud shelving or cactus piggy banks. If you’re after something a little off the beaten track, you can find it here.
22 Oldham Street, Manchester M1 1JN