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I subscribe to the Canadian magazine, Style At Home, and one of my favorite pages in the magazine is the monthly “High/Low” feature, where the stylists assemble one vignette using both high & low end items.  I like to use this feature as a way to refine my eye and pick up on the small details that make all the difference in quality (or expensive) furniture. Now the items in these features are generally pretty easy for me to decipher, but this month’s issue surprisingly had me stumped–take a look and see if you can honestly figure out which image is which (and if you’ve already seen the mag, don’t cheat!).

photo: Michael Graydon
Look closely…
Would you be surprised to know that the high image is the second one?? I was. When I look at these images, I always look for details, specifically on the furniture pieces. Here are the things that caught my eye (and made me think the first image was the “high”):
1. The dresser has a slight bow (image #1) which I took for a sure sign, since more expensive furniture generally has more detail.
2. Side table detail rim (ditto above).
3. The colors in the wallpaper look a little more detailed than in the second photo.
4. The ottoman looked a little more tailored, which I figured would be more $. The bottom one looked like a slipcover, but obviously not. 
Things that should’ve stood out to me:
1. The difference in the rugs. Now that I look, you can clearly tell that one of the rugs is whiter with a finer pile than the other. It actually almost looks like a cotton ball puff–and you can’t get that for $199.
2. The orchid. Multiple blooms will almost always cost you more dough. 
3. The pink pillow in the “high” image. It’s still a knife edge, but even my basic knowledge of custom textile work tells me that the added panel along the edge equals more time (double seam) which also equals more money. 
Clearly these are all relatively minute details, but they’re especially important to me because I’m so passionate about vintage furniture! When I’m out shopping antique/flea/thrift/vintage stores, there’s little time to do research, so I’m always looking for details that stand out & say “quality”. Training my eye is everything.  
Here’s another High/Low…and this one’s a bit easier to guess…
photo: Michael Graydon

The first thing that gave it away for me? The desk. I recognized it as an Ikea original immediately (image 2), and that was all I needed to know! The first photo is the high, and the second one is the low.

Did you guess correctly both times??



  1. Karen@StrictlySimpleStyle
    July 5, 2011 at 9:00 am (8 years ago)

    I’m sure if you saw the rooms in person you’d have a much easier time, but that first set was a challenge. I really didn’t notice some of the small details that you pointed out, but it teaches me a couple of things. Mainly,finishing touches make a difference.

  2. Tiffany @ Savor Home
    July 5, 2011 at 12:50 pm (8 years ago)

    This is my favorite section of the mag, too! I have featured a few high/low’s on my blog and I am always amazed. So true that simple can be done for much less!

    Let’s get together, soon!

  3. hollyG
    July 5, 2011 at 1:35 pm (8 years ago)

    I just learned a few new things – thanks! I did not guess #1 but I was able to get #2 and the desk gave it away for me too! Good catch on the orchid – I never would have picked up on that but now I know! Great post.

  4. Dayka (Life +Style)
    July 5, 2011 at 1:51 pm (8 years ago)

    @ Karen: You think?? I think looking at the photo is easier because you really have a chance to stare at the image and pick it apart. With an interior, I walk in and am automatically overwhelmed with the aesthetic, so I never focus on the small details. Either way, it’s a great way to refine your eye!

  5. Dayka (Life +Style)
    July 5, 2011 at 1:54 pm (8 years ago)

    @holly –glad you enjoyed it! these features always remind me of those “find what’s missing” side-by-side pictures, except these are much prettier! 🙂

  6. Erika Ward
    July 5, 2011 at 8:47 pm (8 years ago)

    I was able to guess the first set because I recognized the wallpaper. Is is O&L or Designer’s Guild. You know how I do…

    I, too recognized the IKEA desk. That was a fun little exercise. I want to see more of these, now!

  7. Mr. Goodwill Hunting
    July 5, 2011 at 9:19 pm (8 years ago)

    You should see me scrolling up and down the page saying

    uh huh

    I could tell the 2nd one as well, but the first one got me.

    I like to look at these type spaces and feel great that design is about a feel and not so much a price tag (well unless u r uber wealthy)


  8. Dayka (Life +Style)
    July 5, 2011 at 9:46 pm (8 years ago)

    @rashon: lol, i love it! i’m also glad i’m not the only one who got a bit caught up here. there was another set of images that would speak to your point about the “feel” of design. the lower end image had the same feel, but you could DEFINITELY tell that it was the least expensive of the two.

  9. b3hd
    July 5, 2011 at 10:19 pm (8 years ago)

    LOVE your blog. I got the second one. The first one I had until the wallpaper and then my usual “wait, am I trying to pick out the high or the low end” brain jumble started and it was downhill from there. Gorgeous pics, super fun post. I noticed lots of the same things you did, but it was REALLY fun having you walk through the “why” of it being high end. Lots of “ahhh…that’s makes sense double seem, more blooms, etc.” stuff.

    I can see this blog being an all night thing. Going for the coffee.

    Much love.

  10. NYCLQ
    July 6, 2011 at 10:00 pm (8 years ago)

    LOVED this post and exercise! Got the first because of the Ikea ottoman/footstool – Second b/c of the desk xo

    😀 Lynda

    July 11, 2011 at 5:00 pm (8 years ago)

    I used to get that mag…need to re-up causing I am missing some stuff!


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