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  • Writer's picturejennyackemann

The Basics to Layering Interior Spaces

When most of us think of the term layering, they associate it with clothing. In fashion we use layering to add some "Pop" to an outfit. For an example wearing a basic shirt but then layering with a sweater and colorful necklace can make a big statement. Adding layers is what takes an outfit from normal to one-of-a-kind. With interior design the same concept of layering is a key ingredient to making your space stand out from the others. A room is developed by layering individual design elements together to form a cohesive look. A question I've heard from many clients is how can I achieve a space that looks finished? The best advice I can give is to think of your space in layers. Read below for some key layers to consider when designing your space.


Movement + Function: A well-designed space should be functional for your needs and have a flow that is thought-out. Identifying the primary function for the space is essential. Think about how you will use the space, the mood you want to create and develop a floor plan to work from.


Furniture: Having the right furniture selections in a space can make or break the finished product. Pay attention to scale, proportion, fabrics, color and don't be afraid to mix up styles. DESIGNER TIP: Stay away from buying matching furniture sets. Everything doesn’t need to match it just needs to blend.


Color: The easiest way to layer is using color. Whether it be through paint, textiles, pillows, furniture, art or accessories using color is a great way to create a certain feeling in a space. DESIGNER TIP: Layering different shades of the same color is an easy way to give a space depth.


Contrast: Incorporating plenty of contrast into your design helps make the space stand out more clearly and makes the room more visually interesting. Contrast can be achieved through color like choosing opposite shades on the color wheel, pairing a bold pattern with a solid print, or mixing materials such as woods and metals. DESIGNER TIP: Be adventurous but make sure to keep a common theme to anchor the overall design together.


Lighting: Lighting is commonly overlooked but, SO IMPORTANT in a space. Most people cut the budget at lighting and boy are they making a mistake. I don't care how expensive your sofa is but without proper lighting it will look like your grandma’s sofa from the 70's, and I don’t mean the trendy ones coming back in style. Lighting is an essential element that creates a certain feeling to a space. DESIGNER TIP: When selecting materials, furniture etc. pay attention to what natural light you have in the space. If your space is lacking in natural light stay away from dark colors use light colors through-out the space to help maximize the amount of times the daylight bounces inside the room. Make sure to have the key 3 layers of lighting ambient, task and accent.


Accessories: When thinking of accessories for your space this is where I feel you can show some character and personality. Remember to think of scale, texture and color and don’t forget to leave breathing room. Accessories should be used to add visual interest and contrast but aren’t needed everywhere. Sometimes having one staple piece may have a better impact than multiple. DESIGNER TIP: Accessories are the best way to get a unique look especially if you want to follow a certain trend. They can be affordable and are easy to change out. Don't be afraid to take some risks and add some punch!


Plants: Introducing plants is an easy way to add texture and brighten up a space. Adding a touch of greenery is a great way to bring the indoors in. Even if you don’t consider yourself having a green thumb look for easy-care houseplants that require less attention.

DESIGNER TIP: Plants bring a sense of energy and color to a space. Make sure to incorporate the type of container you place them in. For example, using a simple white planter will add a crisp element to your space and make the plant pop.


Layering in interiors can be challenging. To achieve success, you need to try looking at all your design elements separately. For example, with my mood below I've created a space where most of the elements feel individual and eclectic however there are items that are similar to one another which bring the space together. The rug selection has developed the color scheme and you see pops of orange and blue pulled from the rug and incorporated into the art. In this case the furniture selected is timeless and provides a foundation for adding layers, rather than trying to be the primary focus itself. I like to add color through textiles, pillows, accessories, rugs, art and mixing old with new. The layered look makes a space feel lived in and cozy and I believe is what creates your own signature style.


Happy Layering!

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