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  • Gina Everett

John Lewis Residence - The Ultimate try before you buy

John Lewis in store apartment

When choosing furniture and home decor you always want to try things out and really get a feel for the products.

At the end of last week this news story caught my eye so I decided to find out more. We’re used to interiors shopping being an immersive experience. For years furniture displayed in room sets has allowed us to imagine the products in our homes, test them out and then recreate the look at home.

John Lewis has gone one step further this Autumn with the launch of The Residence. The first ever fully furnished in-store apartment, offering customers the ultimate-try-before-you-buy experience.

Just like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory a chosen few will win a golden ticket to spend a night in the store after the doors have closed to the public.

Open in London, Liverpool and Cambridge stores each Residence includes an expansive living and dining area, a fully furnished bedroom. The Oxford Street flagship store will also feature a fitted kitchen, a study and indoor terrace overlooking Cavendish Square. Everything in The Residence will be for sale exclusively through John Lewis.

A Home from Home

John Lewis Bedroom

You can visit each Residence in the day time testing the furniture and browsing through the products on offer. A home from home, however here is where the fun starts.

Customers can apply to stay at The Residence overnight. Enjoy an hour’s private shopping with a personal shopper followed by an evening sleepover in the apartment. You get to try a wardrobe full of the latest Autumn Winter fashions as well as the latest beauty products. There's even a choice of scented pillow sprays for a dreamy sleep in this gorgeous room.

That’s not all. If you're not brave enough to spend the night in the big department store all by yourself (anyone remember Night at the Museum) share the experience with friends. How about a hosting a dinner party, privately catered for with a resident mixologist to serve up your favourite drinks. Set the party atmosphere with your pre-selected playlist and your choice of table setting from the John Lewis collection.

It's not a completely unique idea to to sell homewares through a leisure experience such as a hotel, spa or restaurant. When you think about it we've all experienced this countless times. Those posh toiletries in a boutique hotel. The fact that they tell you what brand of luxury linen is on the bed. Classy product placement so you can test drive products as you'd use them in your own home.

It's not just the luxury end of the market either. Enter the lobby of a Citizen M hotel anywhere in the world and you'll immediately recognise the modern classic furniture brands sold through Vitra stores. Relax in the lobby on these covetable modern furniture icons.

So whilst hotels are becoming living furniture showrooms, why shouldn't furniture stores become hotels, if only for the odd night or two.

Whilst it sounds like a fun experience I don’t think you could ever persuade anyone to buy everything they own in their home from one store - in one season!

I'm thinking of my last visit to Jamie's Italian. A great night out but no, I didn't come home with the serving board, cook book and a full set of terracotta dishes.

That said it is a different approach. John Lewis are really thinking out of the box to bring life back to high street shopping through great customer experiences.

Earlier this month head of design Philippa Prinsloo used Facebook live video to showcase an entire house they'd rented and furnished with products exclusively from John Lewis. I loved this!! I sat at home and looked around this gorgeous home knowing I could get any of these products with a visit to the store or a click onto the website.

It's certainly a different way to shop and I'm looking forward to more furniture brands getting on board with some try before you buy ideas.

So how do you get to stay at The Residence? visit the Oxford Street, Cambridge and Liverpool stores on the 23rd and 24th September and enter into a ballot. Customers will be randomly selected to either sleepover or dine. Good Luck!


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