Store Tour: B&Q’ing It

As I have spent most weekends (and several late-night evening dashes) at DIY monolith B&Q since purchasing Le House, it seemed only apt that their lovely PR team should invite me to the opening of their newest store, set to become a flagship for the brand. Tucked just off the north circular in Friern Barnet, north London, it showcased several new display concepts which will eventually be rolled out nationwide.


On entering, there is a far more trend-focussed display of their current homeware grouped into themes, showcasing how to pull each look together with fabrics, paints, wallpaper and accessories – think John Lewis, with a touch of warehouse racking thrown in for good measure. Wallpapers, too, have their own dedicated super-long aisle which is helpfully grouped into colours, and is much easier to browse than the papered panels of yore (each paper has a dedicated lifestyle shot previewing the pattern in situ, as well as an open roll to tear samples from). Keep an eye out for their monochrome papers in particular, featuring an oh-so-2012 bus roller destination print (which would work well on a flat-panelled door for added interest) plus newsprint and even Manga cartoon creations.

Christmas has its own little dedicated grotto and a vast array of decs, showcasing the main Crimbo trends for this year – kitsch brights, woodland, monochrome city slicker and soft pastels.


Lighting is particularly strong this season with a mixture of unexpected metals (think beaten copper and soft sheen slate) along with budget-friendly versions of classics like the Anglepoise, and a great range of neutral-hued ceiling shades.

Sample boards throughout have been more carefully curated, with chunky paint swatch panels and large display boards showcasing all-new ranges of wooden and laminate flooring plus a redesigned range of wall tiles, which are now also available to buy as individual tiles and boards to try out at home – a supremely useful service which has been woefully lacking in most DIY sheds. The laminates in particular deserves a mention – as I recently spent about 7,000 man-hours restoring my Victorian floorboards this isn’t something I’ll be buying for my own home anytime soon, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a distinct lack of fake-tan-toned flooring and a rather sophisticated palette of both pale, raw and natural dark woods in its place, many with a slightly rough, sawn-wood texture which is both practical as well as visually pleasing.

Also worth a shout-out is their fab new range of ‘You Can Do It’ DIY classes – on offer at 14 stores nationwide, classes range from basic workshops on best practice for painting your walls and woodwork to tiling floors, patch plastering and replumbing a tap, and cost from £10 each. I recently attended a ‘Raised Beds and Planters’ workshop where I learnt to make this rather natty square planter, which I plan to revisit in the spring and adapt to make longer raised beds for my concrete jungle back garden.

So thanks for the tour, guys – and I’ll see you this weekend in the bits-for-fixing-a-dodgy-radiator section…

{Images} All copyright Joanna Thornhill.


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About Joanna Thornhill

Freelance Interior Stylist, Author, Writer and Crafter working for a range of magazine titles and commercial clients. Author of Home for Now (CICO Books 2014)

One response to “Store Tour: B&Q’ing It”

  1. Redlilocks {Swoon Worthy} says :

    I’m in my local B&Q far more than I should be with our home renovations and have been pleasantly surprised with some of their latest offerings. In fact, last I was there, many a busy employee was scurrying about, creating their homewares displays and I keep thinking I need to return to see everything in situ. In fact, I just got a large black barrel shade from there for my bedroom that I love 🙂 x

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