In our advice column, Ask the Strategist, we take your most burning shopping questions and scour friends, call up experts, and draw from personal experience to answer them. As always, please comment with one of your own — we’re here to help.
Question: Hi! I need serious help. My boyfriend and I just relocated from my hometown of NYC to San Francisco, so we’re starting fresh in a new place. I want the design to be a mix between Dimes in Chinatown and an Ace Hotel, preferably the Chicago location because of its plywood, minimalism, pastels, and boho influences. It’s minimalism with quirk. Where can I find furniture like this? Urban Outfitters has some good pieces, but there’s not enough selection (I guess 23-year-olds don’t need eight-person dining tables). Ikea’s big pieces feel too cheap. CB2, West Elm, etc. are too “sorority girl moving to the West Village” tacky. Modern furniture online is a terrible interpretation of the word. Article is just a mid-century explosion, and Restoration is hella expensive, and honestly, can look tacky as well. (Dimes and Ace have custom furniture, so that’s fun.) Help! I want (need) a mid-century boho-minimalist life!
You’ve just kind of perfectly described Strat’s house style. (Should we hire you? Maybe! But you don’t know where to shop, so probably not!) Anyway, to answer your desperate plea, I’ve collected a bunch of furniture and homeware options for you below, but I’m also going to send you off to some of our existing posts that might just have exactly what you’re looking for. We’ll go room by room.
Heads up, Hay is going to show up a lot on this list. The Danish brand (and Danish people in general, I think) is really good at incorporating light pastel and color into everyday objects (and life) in a subtle enough way that you won’t just be like, “Whoa, colooooooor!” So if you’re not as into the shape or material of the Vignelli plates (they’re melamine), Hay makes some really great lightly pastel dinnerware.
These look an awful lot like some of the chairs in the lobby at the Chicago Ace Hotel (from what I’ve seen on Instagram). If not for dining, then at least for accents in the living room.
The owner of Dimes has chairs almost exactly like this in her own home.
To start, let me recommend our recent deep dive on couches that come in a box, where we go far beyond Article on the best sofas you can buy online. Check that out here.
I’m also personally a big fan of Hem, a Stockholm-based design studio that’s a few levels up from Ikea. I own this ottoman in green, but when I’m ready to get a new sofa, this one’s going to be a strong favorite.
This one is also velvet in a nice rounded shape. If you had the living-room space, it would be really attractive to have two of these facing each other. It also comes in deep blue.
Also, this post we wrote on colorful home-decorating ideas is sure to have some items of interest. Check it out here.
Same goes for this piece on accent chairs. If you’re looking for some, click here.
And again for coffee tables, which we have a whole post about here.
For rugs, I’m going to direct you to our existing post here.
Also, hot tip: Check out Revival Rugs, which was started by one of the guys who helped get Brooklinen off the ground and brings vintage and overdyed rugs to the online market at really, really good prices.
I also think you’ll be into this post on side tables with animal feet. See it here.
Why, yes, we do have a whole post on bath mats. Read it and buy from it here.
We have a whole Ask the Strategist on bed frames! Please enjoy it here.
(2) This woven storage cabinet that I would easily buy for myself if I had room for it. I first heard about it from an interior designer for this post I wrote about dressers, which you can read here.
I’ll leave you with a piece on expensive-looking, but cheap, side tables, many of which you can actually use as bedside tables. Read that here. Now get to decorating.
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