Seoul isn't exactly known for an open-door culture of inviting just anyone into our homes—but that doesn't mean we don't like our apartments, villas and houses to be ready for guests (or Instagram photos). Just take a look at the magazine section of any bookstore and you'll see how much the art of nest feathering has taken off these days.
Thankfully, the lifestyle shopping has risen to meet the demand: From gorgeous Scandinavian furniture to vintage Korean knickknacks, you'll find great housewarming gifts and treats for yourself in this list of our favorite lifestyle select shops.
Great lifestyle shopping in Seoul
Located on a smaller street off of Garosugil, Chapter 1 is a steep staircase away from the crowds, hidden below ground. It was the owner's dream to collect and combine her love for local living brands and designer items into one refined space, and this store has fulfilled it. The ratio of foreign and local brands is almost one to one, but the multi-shop also carries its own unique line taken from Andong, including the wooden and brassware collection Jandam and jujube tree inspired collection Naknak. If you are tired of the European look when it comes to dishware, make sure to step below into Chapter 1 for handmade and long lasting tableware.
These days, Jaimblanc is the hottest issue among stylists when it comes to serious debates on living products. Their two-story building exudes a warm yet sophisticated vibe, and the craftsmanship of their product line never fails to impress. Jaimblanc has stylish solutions for all interiors in need of refreshing, whether it’s dressing up an upcoming baby's room, or transforming a dull studio apartment with a splash of color. Those who are planning major renovations will find Jaimblanc well worth the visit, but it’s not quite as accessible for the casual passerby or window-shopping visitor—keep in mind that you’ll have to hop on a bus to avoid a long walk from the subway.
If you have recently developed a taste for Korean lifestyle and interior magazines, the name "8 colors" may have a familar ring. You could describe their look as "classy kitsch," as the shop carries a variety of vintage-inspired items for sale. Select brands include Denmark's HAY and House Doctor, as well as local brands like Roh and Main, which can all be found on their website. But don't forget that the store carries its own cushion collection, so be sure to ask the clerk for the full guide.
Taking inspiration from a 2008 Contemporary European Design & Craft exhibition, Hpix has brought a treasure trove of lesser-known brands to the Korean design market over the past few years. The shop’s favorite is the hand-knitted doll collection by Scottish designer Donna Wilson, but leading brands include Danish interior and lifestyle brands Lucky Boy Sunday and OYOY. Located in Hannam-dong, Hpix’s vibrant collection is intelligently arranged by category, so the shopping experience is not only aesthetically pleasing, it’s easy to navigate.
Rooming has found a new home (and look) on a small alley branching off of the main Seorae Village road. But this is no small boutique—stretching out to some 560m2, Rooming is the largest design furniture store in Gangnam, and has a diverse selection ranging from 20,000 won artsy knickknacks to artwork priced in the millions. Most of the products here are the creations of big names like famed Italian designer Enzo Mari, or the revolutionary of modern lighting, Poul Henningsen. Be forewarned: window shopping alone can be a most painfully tempting experience.