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Object of the day: making kitsch look classy

They're kitsch and kind of silly. But also kind of brilliant.

These ceramic indoor animal-shaped planters are new in at Urban Outfitters. Some of the homewares at UO can be a little studenty and these could, of course, fall into that category (there's also a pink plastic flamingo in the new indoor garden range...). 

Nothing wrong with a pink plastic flamingo, of course, but full-on kitsch isn't everyone's look. I'm drawn to kitsch objects like a magpie, but don't want to go the whole hog style-wise, so I also like to give such things a grown-up twist. The trick is to make like a fashion-savvy coat shopper who replaces their high street buttons, because it's all about context.

One of these planters will effortlessly add a design edge – and a quiet flash of confident wit – to a room instead of a kitsch one, when simply contrasted with the most grown-up, minimal and neutral tabletop or shelf arrangement you can muster. It'll also look surprisingly expensive.

Trust me. This is how people get away Phillipe Stark's gnome tables (pictured above in Living Etc., left, and Architectural Digest Espana).

Urban Outfitters, £15 each

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