AP Design House
You never know what you'll find inside this interior designer's lair, but it's virtually guaranteed a visit will end with a purchase. Inky black candles from Denmark for $3, and a "Kubus" candleholder to put them in, or a magnetic oak block for kitchen knives and a covetable Ben Blakebrough-crafted cutting saw knife to affix to it. Vintage one-offs and carefully chosen statement objets rub shoulders here in a way that's coolly inspirational. You'll find dramatic lighting, unusual fabrics and wallpapers, lust-worthy cushions and seating - it's like walking into the pages of a designer's notebook. There's also a full design service on tap and the staff are helpful and friendly.
What to buy Those Danish candles are an inexpensive and perfect way to update your dinner table. AP Design House, 15 Latrobe Tce, Paddington, Qld, (07) 3369 7144
Polished concrete floors and white walls (although not much wall is visible) create a gallery-like backdrop for an alluring and constantly changing mix of beautifully arrayed furniture, textiles and collectables. This showroom is the best advertisement for the interior design services available; there's something to catch the eye at every turn - dressers stacked with delicate Limoges teacups, an antique French chaise longue ready to be reupholstered, one-off exquisite silk panels and dramatic wallpaper, and light fittings. From antique plates and chopping boards dating back to the 1880s to Italian and French napery, and a comprehensive range of indoor and outdoor candles, Magnolia is Brisbane's best weapon against blandness.
What to buy Colourful and timeless Limoges porcelain teacups and saucers. Magnolia Interiors, Shop AM3, 46 James St, Fortitude Valley, Qld, (07) 3252 0805
Marcia's on Montague
You'll spot the orange exterior a mile off and you'll need a couple of hours to explore this cavernous West End store. There are several spaces to fossick in, each jam-packed with everything your kitchen and dining table might need. From Global and Shun knives to a covetable range of Mauviel copper pans and Le Creuset cast-iron and stoneware. You'll find enamel bakeware by Falcon, appliances by KitchenAid, Bamix and Magimix et al, plus gadgets by Brisbane's Dreamfarm, as well as Microplane and more. There's tableware, too, Cornish Blue and Denby ceramics, Dunoon, Noritake and many others. There's also an organic supermarket out back stocking edibles and eco-friendly products.
What to buy A Mauviel copper bowl has multiple uses and ages beautifully. Marcia's on Montague, 325 Montague Rd, West End, Qld, (07) 3846 3988
Run by a brother and sister team, this stylishly rustic store specialises in Moroccan wares. Sure, you'll find handcrafted tribal rugs, terracotta tagines, cute tea glasses and hammered-metal sugar bowls, but also more unusual items like hand-carved lemonwood spoons, eye-catching bamboo light shades, walnut-wood bowls and maybe a chic vintage hammam bucket for your next wine cooler. From handpainted, Moorish-inspired "Slimani" tables to gorgeous hand-beaten copper pendant lights, silver trays and small-run ceramics by house brands Nous Nous and Safi, there's always something here to get you reaching for the wallet.
What to buy A trio of hand-beaten copper pendant lights or a beautiful antique silver platter. Hamimi, 895 Stanley St E, East Brisbane, Qld, (07) 3168 1894
Blake & Taylor
There's a bit of a French country theme at work in this pretty heritage-listed building on Paddington's main drag - but not exclusively so. You'll also find glass pendant lights, vintage wicker baskets, black linen napkins, pewter candlesticks, Blake & Taylor's furniture paint range - you can even book an onsite workshop to learn how best to restore your vintage finds. The stock rotates frequently, but on any given visit you might encounter anything from an heirloom Provençal armoire to a church bench seat, decorative La Rochère glassware, revamped antique picture frames, a daybed or vintage garden seat. The owners also offer an interior design service.
What to buy Linen napkins and pewter candlesticks - little details make all the difference. Blake & Taylor, 11 Latrobe Tce, Paddington, Qld, (07) 3369 7255
The contents of this petite and beautiful store, located in front of Paddington Antique Centre (itself a trove of collectables), reflect the obsessions of its owner, interior designer Daryl Wark, an ex-chef and stylist for London hotelier and designer Anouska Hempel. He aptly describes what's on offer as "uncommon luxuries". Expect a mix of handcrafted and more affordable items, all cleverly sourced. Staples include the likes of mouth-blown La Rochère glassware, Laguiole cutlery, French linen napkins and table-runners, and larger pieces like dining chairs and indoor-outdoor floor rugs from Belgium. Assorted one-off vintage items range from chopping boards to oversized ice buckets and quirky coat hooks. You'll also find tables and more from aptly named New Zealand brand Perfect Pieces.
What to buy Inject a little European flair, with an oversized oval pewter Champagne bucket - it fits six bottles easily. Du Monde, 171 Latrobe Tce, Paddington, Qld, (07) 3368 1223
Even on a rare, grey-skied Queensland day it feels sunny at St Barts. As the name implies, there's plenty of breezy Caribbean inspiration to dip into at the James Street store, but also white-painted pieces channelling the Hamptons, tribally influenced African designs, Provençal-style wooden tables and more. This is somewhere you can find unusual one-offs and handcrafted limited editions to lift and personalise interiors. Stock is wide-ranging - from hand-worked copper bowls and engraved platters, to delicate ceramics from Melbourne's Marmoset Found, and meticulously curated plates and vessels. Rustic linen napkins, tablecloths, candlesticks, flamboyant statement lighting - all your dinner needs and more are covered.
What to buy A hand-tooled, natural leather bound notebook - perfect for recipes. St Barts, shop 6/31 James St, Fortitude Valley, Qld, (07) 3257 7166; shop 16.01, The Brickworks, 107 Ferry Rd, Southport, Qld, (07) 5528 0766
Need something to eat after all that shopping? Check out our list of the best restaurants in Brisbane.