Home is emphatically the sweetest word in the English language, the object of people' choicest care and the most enduring recollections. There is a growing interest in the histories of consumption, interiors, the home and retailing. The history and analysis of the practice of creating a domestic interior is a fascinating arena since it encompasses a number of considerations which, when brought together, contribute to a closer understanding of the natures and processes of retailing, homemaking and consuming. 'Being at home' is culturally determined and usually reflects socio-economic status. In the nineteenth century the growth in incomes, the expanding market and the rise of an acknowledgement of the role of goods in life fuelled the development of retailing. Retailing cannot be understood fully without some analysis of the consumption practices that feed it. Consumption is an economic act, but is also part of the process of an individual's attempts at both differentiation and definition.