Interiors insider: Charlie Marshall of Loaf


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The Independent Online

Founder of Loaf Charlie Marshall shares top tips on what to look for when buying a bed and his favourite interior shops in London.

Having lost a whole Saturday trying to buy a bed, I decided to… make the shopping experience as hassle free, affordable and as speedy as possible. So two years, 187 mattress factories and some seriously comfy beds later, Loaf ( was born. 

Since launching… as a bed specialist in 2009, we introduced sofas and bedroom furniture last year. Now we’re growing into pretty much all areas of the home. In March we are launching kitchen tables and chairs, coffee tables, side tables and floor rugs, bathroom furniture, a kids’ furniture range and art.

Bed trends have changed… For starters the frilly valance has been all but ditched. French-inspired beds are going down a storm at the moment due to their timeless appeal. A new French bed is more generous in size and costs a fraction of the price than an original antique version.

Our bestselling bed is... our ‘Coco’ bed. Modelled on an original French beauty, Coco is solid, made of gorgeous weathered oak and has all of the chic but none of the squeak of an antique version!

Men aren’t such big fans of… beds with footboards, especially if they’re tall!

The most common mistake when choosing a bed is… to forget to measure the space. Without swamping the room I recommend it’s best to opt for the largest sized bed that space and budget allow. Check that enough room is available to move around the bed and that you won’t be bumping into the furniture or each other. It is also worth checking that your bed will fit through any tight spaces on delivery!

When buying a bed, check that… the headboard fixings are sturdy enough to ensure it won’t become wobbly over time, and that the bed is a standard UK size. Some companies offer irregular sizes meaning that you will be limited to irregular sized bed linen. We think that is really annoying.

I love going to… Venice for early 20 century furniture and anything Dutch or Belgian! Amsterdam and Antwerp are two of my favourite cities for cool mid-century design. 

Our biggest design challenge was… our first range of kids’ beds launching in March. We wanted an affordable range that would see kids through from four to fifteen years old.

Our bible for design is… Spanish Architectural Digest. I always flick through it for ideas.  For the same reason, I find Pinterest and Elle Decoration useful.

For style advice, I call… my three sisters, all of whom have lovely homes and very good taste. Everything Loafy has to be vetted by them before it makes the final cut.

On the design scene, I admire… the architect Vincent van Duysen for mixing old and new – his look is clean, calm and very ‘Belgian’.

The interior shops I rely on include… Fiona McDonald in Fulham for mid-Century Italian antiques, The Cloth Shop on Portobello for fabrics and vintage cushions, the family-run New House Textiles for tablecloths, Skandium and SCP for contemporary furniture and The Little Greene Paint Company.

Annie Deakin is interiors writer for sofa and interior design website