layer it on…
mastering multi-layer decor

The layered look, it’s not just for bedding anymore! Long a standby of the cottage style, the layered look has gone beyond beds piled high with pillows and country-style rooms filled to overflowing. Layering your décor is creating a look that’s finished, pulled together, and uniquely you.

The first layer is your walls, ceiling and floor. Then things like rugs, area rugs, and curtains. Next are large furniture pieces like a sofa, bed, or dining table. The fourth is things like lighting, artwork, decorative pillows, throws, and even smaller furniture. That’s where most people stop, but you shouldn’t overlook the fifth layer.

This is for the little items that define who lives in the space. It could be the jars filled with seashells, or travel mementoes. Or the framed, pressed leaves that line the hallway. This is where you take your space from generic, to personal.

Layering is also a great way to update your room’s entire look, without replacing everything. By investing in a few choice pieces, and “shopping” your own home for pieces to rotate, you can create a unique look in any space.

There are three keys to layering:

  • Define the primary use of the space—be honest, if your living room sees more use as a TV room, then decorate it that way! No matter how tempting an item is, if it doesn’t fit the needs of your space, it will sit unused, and unloved.
  • Curate your collection—do you love it? Do you use it? Does it add to the look or function of the space? Does it work well with other things in the space? If you do love it and use it, but it doesn’t suit the space, put it elsewhere.
  • Pick one statement piece—if something you love has a strong color or pattern, great! Don’t try to be matchy-matchy with everything else in the space. Go ahead and layer in complementary colors and patterns.

Ready to layer it on? Start with the room layout, then get the rest of the first four layers in place. Now you’re ready for the fun stuff.

  • Big things first—find a spot for your largest pieces first. Everything else will work around them.
  • Go for balance, not symmetry. It’s tough to get a good layered look if you’re trying to be too perfect!
  • Group like with like. Individual seashells scattered about the room can seem haphazard. Little jars filled with seashells, or a shelf displaying several shells is a sollection.
  • Add some shine. Whether it’s a mirror or something metal, reflective surfaces help your décor feel less heavy.
  • Add something clear. Translucent elements bring in more sparkle and interest without adding to the sense of weight or appearing too bulky.

Got an arrangement you like, but you’re not sure? Take a picture, then change things up and do it again. Review your photos and pick the one you like best. You’ve got the picture to remind you where everything goes.

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