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Layered decor – building a room a layer at a time –  is easier than you think. Just follow this easy tutorial to make your own!

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Just as with painting, make-up or clothing, layering a decor is a way to give it depth and texture. Several layers give you the possibility to add trendy items onto a classic foundation. You can constantly change your decor according to seasons without having so spend a fortune each time.

design plan layers paint can illustrationLayered decor also help you make disparate items or styles match together using “bridge” layers, which soften the transition between elements that clash with each other.

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to develop your own layered decor by adding layers gradually.

Layer 0: Concept and style

But before we get on with the decorating, we need to start with a little conceptual work. Answering these questions will help you guide your choices for your layered decor.

  • What’s the function of the room? What will you do there on a regular basis?
  • What kind of style do you want your room to have? What kind of impression do you want it to leave?
  • What colors do you imagine your room having? Maybe develop a color palette using our color palette series or websites like Palleton.
  • What piece of furniture or accessory do you want to feature in the room? Choose one statement piece around which to focus your decor.

Once you answer these questions, you can begin your layered decoration process.

Layer 1: Painting and flooring

The base layer of your decor will be the walls and floor. The painting color and texture as well as your choice of flooring materials and shade will provide the foundation for your design.

The choice of all of these is up to you, of course. If you choose to use bright or unusual colors and textures for your base layer, you’ll have to be a little more restrained in the other layers. You don’t want to overwhelmed your room.

Layer 2: Windows, lighting and furniture

The second layer consists of your window coverings, your choice of lighting and the basic, functional furniture you’ll use.

These elements should be chosen to complement the room’s function. A space for reading will require different furniture and lighting than a video game room or a home theatre, for example.

If your focus piece is in this second layer (a beautiful couch, funky drapes or an original table design), make sure to give it the prime spot in the room. The background layer should highlight rather than detract from it, and any layer on top of it should enhance it.

Layer 3: Fabrics, art and accessories

The last layer consists of what sits on top of your furniture: cushions, throws, art, sculptures, books, etc.

This layer is particularly effective when you want to add extra colors and textures to enhance the overall decor. If your focus piece is among this layer, then give it a place that’s easy to spot when you enter the room. You wouldn’t want your favourite piece of art to be overwhelmed by too much furniture. In this case, use previous layers to frame and bring attention to your focus element. A sculpture gets a prominent place on a table. A piece of art sits alone on a wall and draws the eye.

Otherwise, use these elements as complementary to the rest of your decor. They should make a decor lively and personal. They can break up a monochromatic color scheme or tie opposite shades together. They can soften angled furniture or give warmth to metal and leather.

Layer on

Layering isn’t as difficult as it seems. Once you understand how each layer builds on or enhances others, it’s easy to play with style by changing the elements of one or more layers.

The secret to effective layering lies in a good overall concept of what you want your room to do and look like. Layer 0, despite its number, is possibly the most important one in the whole process. Of course, you should still leave yourself some room for creativity and the impulsive buy.

I hope this tutorial has helped you grasp the process behind layered decor. Have you ever tried it? Do you think it helps make a good decor or hinders the creative process?

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Anabelle Bernard Fournier

Anabelle is a freelance writer, writing teacher and blogger. She spends a lot of time at home, so she likes to make sure that it's cozy and nice, especially in her reading nook. In her free time, Anabelle knits, walks and learns how to write stories.