7 Ways to Decorate your Home in Layers
August 20, 2018
LAYERS IN DÉCOR
By Estefanie Schuster
Have you ever walked into a room and felt like something was missing but you couldn’t quite put your finger on it? It is likely due to how the room is accessorized. A room is well balanced and visually pleasing when we add elements or accessories that create texture, interest and depth.
In interior design, these elements are called layers. Some examples include: mirrors, cushions, lamps, artwork and throws.
The selection and placement of these objects can sometimes cause frustration. You must consider and combine different sizes, colours and textures, which together, will reveal the unique style of your room.
Ask yourself ‘how you want to feel in the room?’ Creating your rooms ambience, or translating what story you want it to tell, is also accomplished by adding the right layers.
Here are 7 ways to decorate your home in layers that will suit your lifestyle.
In order to walk you through the steps, I have chosen to design a living room space.
1. RESPECT THE ARCHITECTURE OF YOUR HOME
A living room with only sofas and chairs can be considered an empty canvas. For this reason, it is so important to determine what you would like to achieve with your décor.
To start, determine your house’s framework and use it as the basis of your design. In older homes, this may require a bit of research. Understanding architectural details and styles will allow your design to reflect the original style of your home or determine what needs to be updated. Only after you understand your canvas, will you be able to infuse your style.
If possible, empty your room (or at least remove all accessories) and take a picture. Consider the layout, scale, colours and natural lighting available. A sketch of the room always helps to decide the furniture you need for your new look.
2. GET INSPIRED
Now that you understand your room, start by choosing your colour palette. For my living room example, I am using orange, taupe, gray and blue. You can simplify things and pick only 2 to 3 colours to focus on in your design.
Another way to explore colours is to select an inspirational piece. This can be artwork, a throw or pillow from which to choose your colour palette. Think of this element as your focal point for the room. It’s something that will be a focus in the room but remain a part of the whole décor.
For my living room example, I used artwork as my inspiration. Once I determined my colour palette, I chose a patterned fabric containing the same colours for an upholstered piece in the room. The fabric design also matches the artworks modern/contemporary style.
Have you ever come across a brilliant colour that you would love to incorporate in your home? Try Benjamin Moore Color Capture®, a free app available for iOS and Android. It allows you to snap a photo and instantly get its match from Benjamin Moore’s more than 3,300 paint colours.
3. PICK YOUR ANCHOR PIECES
Next, determine what furniture will be in your room. Remember to always consider your needs regarding the purpose, style, comfort and functionality of the furniture along with number of seats required.
Another important factor is the circulation or traffic flow required in the room and if furniture has the ability to recline, how much clearance you need.
For my living room example, I chose Luke, the new duo sofa from La Z Boy.
This sofa has details like tufted buttons that add a modern design yet has the power to recline all at the touch of a button. The cushions have a contemporary look and design giving the sofa some extra personality. Fabric choices reflect not only the design style I wanted to achieve but the colour palette of my inspirational object.
This collection also offers the option of a chair and a half, that makes the room feel more casual and does not require the space needed for another sofa.
This line can also be placed anywhere in the room with an optional hidden battery pack and the ability to fully recline inches from a wall. Make sure you fully understand what options are available to you when selecting furniture as it can have a big impact on your floor plan and available space.
4. CHOOSE YOUR FOCAL POINT AND STRIKE A BALANCE
After your anchor pieces are established, set your ideal layout while keeping in mind your primary function for the room. A focal point should reveal itself, from which a centre line can be drawn. If you have an inspirational piece you want to spotlight, it should usually be placed at this middle line.
In my example, I used my inspiration piece, the artwork, as my focal point. It is placed over the center of the sofa, making the artwork more prominent.
As it stands, do you think this room looks unbalanced?
It is evident the right side of the room is empty. You can use the middle line to determine where additional pieces need to be placed in order to strike a balance in the room. My recommendation for this current example is to find an accent piece that provides weight and makes a statement, like a small chair.
I chose our armless Eve chair which has a sophisticated design and is the perfect scale needed for this living room. The chair complements my chosen style, adds another layer and additional colour to the room, plus provides extra seating for guests.
5. GROUND YOUR FURNITURE AND ENHANCE THE LOOK
If your wall colour and permanent elements such as sofa, chair, or bed are fairly neutral, it’s easy to add some colour to your room. Note that even with heavy pieces of furniture, they will look like they are floating in the space if placed on a bare floor. To solve this problem, a rug can be used to bring balance and infuse some colour, texture and depth to the room.
Don’t be afraid to position a rug on carpeting or on top of another rug. Layering a smaller rug in the center of the room also helps to ground everything and direct your eyes. Appropriate rug size should be determined based on furniture but should never be smaller than the sofa.
6. ADD SECONDARY FURNITURE AND CREATE BALANCE
Once you have the main furniture and area rug in place, it is time to find secondary pieces that will bring balance, layers and functionality to your room. My living room example still needs storage and a coffee table. I opted for accent tables that have a fun design but still provide much needed surface space. Their rusty colour undertone provides a nice contrast to the deep blue rug and adds depth to the room. The nesting tables increase room circulation and also elongates the space while still being practical and versatile.
After including tables, the room still seems unbalanced, as the right hand-side wall is still bare. Incorporating a modern console with beautifully shaped angled doors adds texture and ties in well with the desired style and colour palette. It also serves as much needed storage.
7. THE FINISHING TOUCHES
Now it’s time to have some fun as you contemplate and play around with accessories that will bring your style to life! This can include: artwork, mirrors, photos, candles, sculpture, boxes, books, trays, vases and so on. They are the final layers that ensure balance and create additional interest, texture, and depth.
Whether these decorative elements increase your physical comfort, please the eye, or hide parts of a room that make you cringe, there are many reasons to go multi-dimensional.
Remember, you want your room to tell a certain story. You need layers that can translate that story and help you achieve your goal. Make a list of possible areas to accessorize. Consult your colour pallet and keep in mind you also want to coordinate textures and mix patterns. The scale and the functionality of the accessories is also very important.
For example, the two tall table lamps that follow the frame of the room and the scale of the sofa in my design, are particularly essential because they frame the focal point. The size of the table can help you decide the scale of the lamp used. I opted for lamps with sophistication and a bit of bling to balance the casual feel of the chair and a half. Good lighting can add function and ambience to a room and ensure colours, patterns and textures in the room look their best.
Coffee & End Tables
Usually, the coffee table(s) and end tables follow the same design. One way to make these similar furniture pieces shine, is to accessorize them. Consider using trays, candle holders and other decorative elements. You could even display some treasured pieces or capture attention with unusual objects such as a decorative magnifying glass, vintage brush, or antiques.
Decorating with plants
Decorating with plants is a great way to turn your house into a home. Greenery adds life and texture to a room. If you have extra surface space (such as the console or coffee table in our example), fresh flowers displayed in a vase will deliver an elegant look.
Installing a mirror above a console, dresser or sofa will help keep symmetry and balance in the room, as well as add depth.
Below you can see examples of the finishing touches used to complete the design of my living room example.
The pillows and throws make the room cozy, inviting and add colour. The other accessories add personality and are a mix of modern and contemporary to pull everything together. As I always say “a room with a soul!”
Here are the before and after photos.