window displays at Illums Bolighus

I find it hard to suspend belief and imagine that the carefully arranged and styled sets that are photographed for articles in magazines or for the adverts could possibly relate to me or the way I live … even when I try very hard to keep my apartment sorted there is still always something waiting to be washed up and when I look around, although individual pieces of furniture are fine and I have some quite nice pottery and china, the things in each room rarely set themselves out in that flat, one dimensional way, with everything facing forward, you see in the professional photos of interiors. 

It’s odd therefore that I’m a bit of a sucker for shop window displays. 

Illums Bolighus is the largest and most prominent furniture and interiors shop in the centre of Copenhagen and I find their window displays amazing. It’s partly the space they are given. The central entrance door is set well back into the facade so there is a very large square space for displays on each side with large front windows to the street, Amagertorv, but also large windows facing inwards on each side of this entrance lobby.

In some ways the team creating these displays have it easy … after all they have the whole of the store to raid … but they manage to create very very different themes or ideas or looks with each new display although the two windows are always treated as a closely related pair.

What I like is that not only do they use the windows to show new items but they also combine things in interesting ways or pick striking colours putting things together that I would not have thought about. 

Like the magazine adverts they are simply selling or they are trying to inspire the buyer, if you want to put it more kindly, but here the inspiration is actually more crucial. There can be no pretence that this is anything like my sitting room or bedroom or whatever. Even though I spend much of my time … ok much too much of my time  … thinking about architecture and design, I still tend to sort of glaze over when I go into a store like this when there is so much to choose from and I still find it difficult to see how these fantastic things might fit in my own home. The window curiously helps me, as I walk in, to focus on the task ahead.


A white, with pale wood and tan leather theme earlier in the year was particularly good and looked simple and fresh and actually quite easy to copy at home. Sharp green colours seem to be fashionable at the moment and appropriate for the Spring. These are the present windows at the store. 

It is good that they rarely have labels or prices or notices in the window ... this is pure theatrical ... particularly at Christmas.