Once the excitement has waned, the post-holiday blues have kicked in and the vacation magic has gradually faded, it’s possible to keep the memories alive by injecting some Cambodian style into your home. Here are a few stores in Phnom Penh to rouse the design spirit and inspire the interior decorator in us all.
The relatively recent addition of Trove to the capital has brought with it a quirky collection of goodies from across the globe. Literally a treasure trove, the store is a delight to trawl through and is full of quirky trinkets collected during the owners’ world travels. One-off items sourced from across Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar and beyond line the shelves, from brass mugs and bookends, cushions, jewellery and art, you will find something here to add that special and unusual touch to your home.
Calling itself a lifestyle company, Living IChing Décor specialises in interior design and is responsible for the colourful, stylish and modern décor that kits out many of the capital’s restaurants, businesses, hotels and homes. While it’s clear that no holidaymaker will need to recruit the skills of an interior designer, visitors can still browse the store’s three floors for inspiration. This beautiful shop is full of custom made furniture, artwork and other pieces that are all created in Cambodia. A trip will definitely inspire an overhaul on any return home.
Hours can be spent sifting through the vintage Southeast Asian stock that has been carefully sourced and curated by Estampe’s owners. The items on sale are the result of years of searching through antique stores both across the region and also in France, for gems dating back to colonial Cambodia. Old photographs of Phnom Penh during its time as the ‘Pearl of Asia’ have been replicated onto postcards, print and canvas. Original maps of Cambodia and Indochina from the early 1900s, newspapers depicting historic events, and other intriguing items are also on sale.
Dubbed the capital’s Art Alley, the section of Street 178 parallel to the Royal University of Fine Arts is littered with small galleries, studios and stores selling art and other creative items to kit out your home. Don’t be put off by the fact that many sell the same thing – depictions of Angkor Wat or rural Cambodia – because patience will pay off and there are some real gems waiting to be unearthed, at prices that won’t break the bank.
Trunkh is definitely one of Phnom Penh’s coolest stores, turning trash found across the country into an eclectic collection of Khmer-inspired trinkets, fashion, homeware, clothes and furniture. The owners regularly hit the countryside on the lookout for trash to transform into the quirky goods on offer in their store. From carousel animals, handmade sarongs, tea towels, ceramics, old street signs, posters and upcycled furniture, you will need to be prepared to pay for the extra luggage allowance if you take a trip to Trunkh.
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Nestled on the leafy stylish stretch of Street 240, Couleurs d’Asie runs a workshop and boutique specialising in exquisite textiles that will spruce up your home. Offering off-the-shelf and custom designs, its offerings span curtains, blinds, cushions, bedding, kakemonos (hanging scrolls) and anything else in between. It also sells other nifty additions to the home as well as accessories and children’s toys. For those wanting a helping hand in deciding what to get, a consulting team is available, and the store offers shipping options.
Serving mainly as a creative space, hosting workshops, documentary screenings and art projects, n o w h e r e is also home to a range of innovative art, prints and decorations inspired by Cambodia. All with a modern spin, the items showcase the exciting contemporary art movement that is stirring within the capital, and there are plenty of gems to hang on the walls back home. Prints are sold with a hard tube and bamboo case to prevent them from being damaged during the journey home.