Why this works: Chicago loft

We all know that opposites attract – especially in interiors. Something magic happens when you combine lowbrow with highbrow. I get asked quite a lot for tips on decorating with opposites – can you sit cheap finds next to expensive finds without one throwing the other off? The answer is yes, but there’s a knack (isn’t there always!). There are rules of course, you can’t just come home with a vase from IKEA, plonk it on that 18th century bureau and voila. It ain’t that easy otherwise everyone would be doing it.

This place has it down. It definitely had beautiful bones to start with, what with the big open plan space and super cool exposed brick. But even if we don’t all have a giant Chicago loft to play with, we can all pick up on some of the tricks. Something I do a lot is mix something luxe and plush with something a little more rough around the edges – case in point that beautiful green velvet sofa against the raw brick. Industrial city loft can be a bit of a cliche now, but the refined almost granny-chic sofa, abundence of plants and flowers and cosy little rug tip it into something else.

Throw in some cool art and you’ve nailed it. The best thing about this interior is that it packs a punch through its fab use of colour without actually that much in it. Clever no? In fact the colour scheme is really tight – just those knock-out greens, creams, and earthy russet browns. I’m going to end up sounding like a broken record because it’s something I bring up again and again in my why this works posts, but that’s because it really DOES work.

That’s how you bring together these disparate elements without coming off crazy: unify everything. It’s the only tip I’m actually going to give you. That could be through colour, or texture, or shape, or scale, or vibe. You will always be able to make something work but you will have to reign in the palette, or up the textural composition, or put something small next to something large – there needs to be a relationship in other words. No relationship no story, no story no cool interior. Easy as!


Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 22.36.44

Clockwise from top left: Silver totem tray, Anthropologie | Diego & Itz framed prints | Ceramic table lamp, Debenhams | Burton mango qood side table, Swoon Editions | GÅSER rug, IKEA | Yakima succulent | Ludlow winter bouquet Old Bessie velvet Chesterfield, Authentic Furniture

Back to blog