Summer Olympics inspiration: British decor invasion

From Jonathan Adler to indie designers with Etsy shops, as well as large-scale retailers like Target and Cost Plus World Market, Brit design is hot this summer. Each has rolled out aprons, cutting boards, dog beds, disposable party forks and napkins, pillows -- lots and lots of pillows -- to get you in the mood for the 2012 Summer Olympics, which kick off in London this Friday.

It’s a simply smashing time to celebrate by picking up a few of these items to display in your home, like this limited-edition giclee print commemorating the Olympics (about $45), or to throw a party. Here are five online retailers to shop as you watch Olympic athletes go for the gold.

First up: A jolly spread featuring queen and country

The Brit-themed collection at Cost Plus World Market, introduced in late spring, features such British icons as the Queen Elizabeth postage stamp and the Union Jack flag. The Oakland, Calif.-based retailer's 264 stores stock a jolly spread including, clockwise from top right: paper beverage napkins featuring the queen, a double-decker bus, Union Jack flag and Big Ben ($4.99); a set of 12 Union Jack takeout boxes ($11.88, similar to the one pictured); an apron displaying the Queen Elizabeth stamp ($19.99); and a multicolored tea towel with vibrant images of the Queen of England postage stamp ($9.99). For crafters, there is even a Tea Cosy Knit Kit ($12) to coach you through, like a kind and patient Olympic coach, knitting a red/white/blue cozy for your teapot. (Hint: Pair any of these home goods with a cup of tea brewed from PG Tips or Twinings tea bags, also sold at Cost Plus World Market.)

Next: The Tube and a British bulldog as decor

Target has all the goods for a home that scream “I love London” -- even British bulldog framed art ($19.99). If you’ve taken a trip to London, consider dropping a photo of yourself into a photo frame featuring a map of the Tube ($9.99). To help with entertaining during an Olympics-viewing party, pick up the black wooden tray featuring the Union Jack ($19.99). And when guests' beverages start to sweat, hand out London Underground coasters ($9.99, set of four) and advise them to, well, mind the ring.

Next: Indie-made party forks, a cutting board and more

Etsy, which sells handmade goods from artisans all around the world, features British-inspired products for the home year-round, although there has been a definite uptick due to the Summer Olympics. Here are some of the more attractive offerings under $100: You can amass a plethora of Union Jack pillows, perhaps the most stunning of which is a blue handprinted pillow featuring a Scottish thistle overlay ($65). For the kitchen, pick up a Union Jack cutting board made from salvaged wood ($85), and bring out the Union Jack party forks featured in Martha Stewart Living’s May 2012 issue (about $10) during an Olympics-viewing party.

Next: Jonathan Adler gets veddy proper indeed

Jonathan Adler, a New Yorker, often looks for design inspiration from abroad. It shows in a collection of British-themed goods for the home available through his website (go to and search for the word "British") and his 18 stores (in places like Chicago; Austin, Texas; Brooklyn, N.Y.; Minneapolis; and Santa Monica, Calif.). Whether it's a Union Jack needlepoint stool ($325) or a dog bed sporting the Union Jack flag ($275, pictured next to the stool), Adler has all the goods to help you fabricate London in your abode. And a Union Jack throw in an offbeat white/blue/green ($595) or an even more offbeat bear-shaped Union Jack rug ($995) will be cozy come winter.

And finally: Sink into Nordstrom luxury

Dip into pillow couture with these Union Jack finds from luxury retailer Nordstrom, which is based in Seattle and has 116 stores in addition to its website. One rectangular wool option from Mina Victory features the traditional red, white and blue tones of England’s flag ($58). But in keeping with the luxurious nature of products carried at Nordstrom, three other pillow choices ditch the traditional in favor of an upscale twist of silver, gold, cream and beige ($34-$64). A cotton version with mustard and charcoal colors, from Nordstrom at Home, lends a distressed punk-rock look; the off-center design behind it, also from Nordstrom at Home, is made of gold beads. And the silvery frayed version from Mina Victory adds subtle sheen with its metallic fabric.