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Anthropologie adds home design studios to 12 stores

Decorator Shop 1

Anthropologie, the French-chic chain that mixes vintage furnishings with modern home accessories, will unveil small decorating studios within 12 stores March 24.

DecoratorShop 2 The new section -- a sort of store within the store -- will showcase an eclectic mix of curtains, rugs, wallpaper, lighting and furniture. A design expert will be on hand to answer questions about sizes and colors, help customers coordinate pieces and offer tips on hanging wallpaper and curtains. Design books and magazines will be available for inspiration. Design classes will be part of the mix too.

Aaron Hoey, global merchandise manager of Anthropologie accessories and home, said the  decorating studio is an attempt to make life easier for customers.

"We want to expand the way we interact with the consumer," he said. "Our mission is to create an unimagined experience. When she walks in the store she connects emotionally. We want to inspire her."

The new studio will be a no-pressure environment for people who want to create an eclectic and fun home without hiring a designer, he said.

The change won't affect the kitchen goods and bedding that Anthropologie has long offered. That will remain, sold on a different part of the floor.

The 12 locations to get decorating studios are Beverly Hills; Corte Madera, Calif.; Denver; Atlanta; Chicago; Houston; Nashville; New York; Wayne, Pa.; Westport, Conn.; Miami; and London. (Here's the store locator.)

The company said it has no plans at this time to expand the concept to any other sites; however, new decorating tools will launch on the Anthropologie website Thursday. A "For the Decorator" feature will offer, for example, a wallpaper calculator that lets customers plug in dimensions to find out how many rolls they will need.

Anthropologie spokeswoman Amanda Dembner said each of the studios would be unique, developed by the retailer's visual team. The company has long been known for madly creative window displays and in-store design. The Grove store in L.A., for example, has featured a treehouse, while the Beverly Hills store recently installed a rainbow of Tyvek streamers on its exterior.

-- Lisa Boone

Photos: Anthropologie

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