How to Decorate Your Home Like an Artist

Artist Kristi Kohut's Chicago home is just like her art—energetic, pretty, and filled with color.
Author:
Publish date:
Kristi Kohut in home office

Kristi hangs out in her home office, where she handles the logistical end of her art-and-textile business: taking calls, answering emails, and planning new product lines.

From the outside, mixed-media artist Kristi Kohut’s open-plan stone-covered house might look like some others in her Chicago neighborhood. But indoors, it’s a riot of color and pattern, thanks to her large-scale paintings and rugs, pillows, and poufs designed with prints from her original artwork.

Kristi, perhaps best known for her bold striped pieces sold on Minted and One Kings Lane, has always understood the importance of a neutral base. When she and her husband, Matt, bought their home 13 years ago (a year before their son, Owen, was born), they were after its prime North Shore location—a short bike ride to downtown—and its great bones. As for decor, “I didn’t want to distract from the moldings, windows, and big hallways,” says Kristi. So she chose gray paint for the walls, added trim to the rooms that didn’t have any, and shopped for warm wood furnishings. Then came the best part: layering in pops of vibrant color.

While sprinkling her bold art throughout the house, Kristi made a few smart moves to add some calm. In the living room, she chose a Chesterfield sofa in navy velvet to ground her rainbow-colored line-and-drip canvases and rug. Symmetry is another tool in her bag of tricks: Pairs of paintings, mirrors, and pillows soothe the eye. Finally, because Kristi’s work skews modern, every space finds balance with at least one traditional piece, whether it’s a curved-leg desk in her home office or chairs with caned backs in the dining room. “These oppositions—old and new, neutral and bright—are what create the energy that makes our home happy,” says Kristi.

Kristi Kohut on couch with son and bulldog

Kristi and her son, Owen, kick back on the sofa with the family bulldog, Shafer.

entryway with carved cabinet and mirror

With a gilded-mirror and carved-cabinet combo, the entryway establishes Kristi’s love of mismatched finishes. 

"I love mixing styles," says Kristi. "The architecture is pretty traditional and so is our furniture. But the artwork—both my pieces and those from artist friends—adds a funky, eclectic edge."

Kristi Kohut's home office artwork lining walls

Benjamin Moore’s Amherst Gray HC-167, a warm almost-charcoal shade, sets off the box trim in Kristi’s office. 

three pieces of framed artwork against office wall
table with framed artwork sculpture cubes vase

Her pieces line the walls and top tables, as in the pair of sculptural cubes in the office.

living room with vintage coffee table

The coffee table in Kristi’s living room looks like a vintage column capital, but it’s actually a replica from Restoration Hardware. 

Kristi Kohuts dining room with floral canvases

The dining area gets its traditional-with-a-twist vibe from the juxtaposition of the upholstered Louis XVI– style chairs and the bold floral canvases by artist Megan Coonelly.

Kristi Kohut's framed artwork and colorful poufs

All of Kristi’s product lines, from the pillows and poufs to her artwork and rugs, can be purchased at kristikohut.studio

mudroom close-up of articles in white compartments

She has also designed a collection of scarves; one of them adds some punchy color to her mudroom.

Kristi Kohut on couch with bulldog

"Beige can be boring, but I'm not against all neutrals," says Kristi. "Silvery gray is calming and reflects light like a white but has more depth. My go-to shade is Benjamin Moore's Sterling 1591."