Layering is the fourth element in our 5 Ls of styling, and we will share how you can master at the art of layering, by blending different textures, materials, colours, patterns, shapes & sizes to achieve visual interest and harmony.
Layering means covering the room with various elements that cohesively blend with each other, and in turn, add a lot of depth and persona to the room.
Layering includes flooring, windows, doors, walls & surfaces; starting from the ground up in a space. From the floors to the walls, to the soft furnishings, layers of light, the art & mirrors, & the decorative pieces.
STYLING TIP #1: Working with Colour
The first tip is to decide on a colour combination template.
For example, start with a base of pure white or off-white for a warmer glow.
For example, start with a base of pure white or off-white for a warmer glow. Then you can complement with a soft blue-green or navy, interweave nickel accents, ground the look with natural woods or rattan and contrast with touches of black.
Having a colour scheme serves as a useful guide for when you purchase decor, art, soft furnishings & furniture, directing your attention to an items colour, hardware, texture, and material to decide whether it will work within your theme.
Take a more detailed approach by paying attention to the finish.
Based on the template above, you could select a white bedside table in a matte finish, black hardware, a glossy white ceramic lamp base and chinoiserie tissue box, a stitched cotton navy throw, nickel alarm clock & woven rattan tray.
Now you have created visual interest by layering different colours and finishes. You can also experiment by incorporating additional shades and hues to create depth and dimension.
STYLING TIP #2: Prints & Pattern
Now that you have your colour scheme, consider bringing in prints & pattern to express your personality and design style. Mixing and layering patterns within your colour template brings character and surprise whilst maintaining harmony and cohesion.
- Design ideas: plaids, damasks, florals, ticking, botanical prints, stripes, and geometrics.
- Mix Scale & Shape: mix different designs and scales, including small, medium, and large prints.
- Balance: If you implement large-scale patterned curtains, select a rug with a small-scale pattern or flat-weave and a combination of solid, small & medium-scale patterned cushions in similar tones.
STYLING TIP #3: Flooring
Flooring is an integral element that most designers start with.
Consider your existing flooring. Do you have wall-to-wall carpet, floorboards, stone, tiles, or concrete?
If you have a neutral wall-to-wall wool or jute carpet, you can layer it with a bold patterned rug for colour and interest, or a bedside sheepskin for texture and softness.
- Layer Rugs: Layering rugs is a fun way to add colour, texture & pattern.
- Leave as is: If you have an eye-catching marble or ceramic tile, geometric vinyl flooring or herringbone flooring, you may wish to leave these subtle patterns & designs mostly uncovered, instead focusing on your wall coverings.
- Add Colour: Add a pop of colour with a light-weight cotton dhurrie, a vintage Persian runner or Aubusson-style flatweave rug.
STYLING TIP #4: Wall Coverings
Walls are the next best platform for layering. Wall treatments include the paint, wallpaper, murals, artwork & mirrors that add personality, colour, depth & dimension.
Matte, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, and high gloss are the 5 paint finishes to consider. Limewash, Venetian Plaster, Stucco, and Roman Clay will also add additional depth, rusticity, and warmth.
- Limewash: Limewash is watered down, leaving walls with a delicate patina that is matte and chalky.
- Venetian plaster: Venetian plaster is thicker than limewash, can be matte or shiny and features a marbled finish.
- Stucco: Stucco is a thin cement that creates a stony aesthetic, resulting in a textural, rough & organic finish.
- Roman clay: Roman clay also resembles natural stone, however the finish is a lot smoother than stucco and soft to the touch.
Bold, dramatic, simple, subtle, textural, or elegant? There are endless options when it comes to wallpaper, and your choices may be shaped by your decor style, colour scheme and flooring.
- French interiors favour elegant damask, florals, or toile de Jouy.
- Equestrian style interiors include plaids, checks or animal motifs.
- Hamptons style interiors feature simple stripes, subtle florals, leaves, or chinoiserie patterns.
- Island style or British Colonial interiors include palms, botanical, woven sisal, and tropical prints. These can be overlaid with painted latticework.
STYLING TIP #5: Artwork & Mirrors
Layer wall coverings with a statement artwork, gallery wall or mirror. If you are renting or desire a more laid-back look, you can experiment with leaning art and mirrors on the floor, fire mantel, bedside, entryway console or nestled within bookshelves.
CREATE DEPTH + A FOCAL POINT
Layer smaller art prints in front of a leaning oversized mirror. We recommend having a slight overlap from one piece to the next, ideally sticking to groupings of 3-5. This allows the eye to find a focal point, such as the ornate gilt mirror, with the leaning artworks acting as supporting players that bring the vignette together.
If you opt for a gallery wall, experiment with frames in varying shapes, colour, styles, and sizes, which will allow the eye to travel seamlessly between each piece.
PRINTS IN A SERIES
For a more refined look, consider botanical or floral prints in a series, allowing the subtle differences in colour, scale and design in each print to add intrigue.
STYLING TIP #6: Window Treatments
Next, look at your existing window treatments. Could you infuse them with more energy, colour, texture, or pattern? Could you layer blinds or shades with draperies or curtains?
- Base layers: timber plantation shutters, a sheer or opaque curtain, rattan or bamboo roller blinds or roman shades.
- Floor vs. Puddled Curtains: Floor curtains graze the floor or hang just above the floor whereas puddle curtains gather or 'pool' on the floor. To achieve a puddled look, you need an excess of fabric in terms of length.
- Curtain Material: Curtains can be sheer cotton or flax linen for a soft, casual elegance, or feature beautiful prints that tie in with your existing colour scheme, wall treatments and flooring.
- Drapes: Drapes are lined and heavier than curtains, often serving as black-out curtains. Drapes are usually solid in colour, and it is the tactile aesthetic of the material that creates charm and visual appeal.
- Drape Material: Richer fabrics of silk, velvet or damask will add a beautiful contrast to sheer base layers.
Lastly, the curtain rods and hardware you select can be made from your chosen metallic accent, or you can refer to your decor style for inspiration.
- Tuscan interiors feature dark bronze, light bronze & rustic copper hardware.
- Hamptons interiors favour brushed nickel or simple, straight white or black curtain rods.
- French interiors showcase ornate twisted wrought-iron, gilded wood, or brass curtain rods.
Use an eye-catching lighting fixture to elevate the room & make it the focal point.
Lighting changes how we see a space and how we feel when we are in that space.
There are 4 main lighting styles; Accent Lighting, Ambient Lighting, Task Lighting and Mood Lighting. Use accent lights such as wall sconces to frame an artwork, mirror or mantelpiece. Ambient lighting is fundamental to a properly lit room and provides the overall illumination through lighting fixtures such as Ceiling Pendants and Chandeliers.
Task Lighting brightens areas where routine tasks are performed and makes a nice addition to the ambient lighting throughout your home. Task lighting includes adjustable floor or table lamps. Lastly, Mood Lighting is where you can get creative with pretty candleholders, hurricane lamps or decorative lights that function both as decorative objects and provide soft illumination.