Layers in Decorating

Once upon a time I only knew of the term layers as a really cute way women get their hair done.


 Since, I’ve discovered layers to be a very important design element in creating a beautiful, eye-pleasing, inviting roomscape (haha spellcheck thought I meant to write rooms ape, because that makes much SO more sense than roomscape).   So today I’ll discuss what layers in interior design means and why it’s important.

If you start at the ceiling of a room and very slowly move your eyes downward towards the floor each item you see on your way down would be considered a layer.  For example in the picture below the layers going from the top to bottom of the room are the frames on the wall, the branches, a candle, vases, a telescope, books, a lamp, a couch, pillows, blue books, a little orb, an end table, a throw, the stuff on the coffee table, a chair and pillow, a coffee table, a rug, a floor.

via Pottery Barn

Layers not only go vertically but also horizontally.  If you move your eyes from the outside of the room and carefully move inward towards the center of the room each item (furniture or decor piece) you see would be a layer.  Using the same picture what layers do you see working your way from the walls to the middle of the room?

I see a window, a telescope, a chair and pillow, an endtable, stuff on the end table, the other set of windows, the throw, the couch, the pillows on the couch, all the stuff behind the couch, the floor, the rug, the coffee table and everything on it.

So now that we talked about what layers are, why are they important?  Having several layers in a room (both vertical and horizontal) is essential in building a room that is cohesive, welcoming, and complete.

Let me share a personal example.  Below is the before of our living room.  The next picture is how our living room looked for about a year.

Living Room

Living Room Progress

It was a lot better than the before but it just never felt complete or inviting.  I had so many projects that I didn’t spend much time trying to figure out what was missing.  Once the projects were winding down though I began to take some serious thought as to what was lacking in the living room.

I turned to Pottery Barn’s room galleries for inspiration and began to notice a pattern in the pictures.  Most of the living rooms contained a sofa table, coffee table, or both.    I realized I had been sure to have items of visual interest vertically but was missing the coziness that horizontal layers exude.  So what did I do (on a budget of course)?

Living RoomDSC00205

I googled ” DIY sofa table” and made a customized version of a DIY sofa table with leftover wood (or rather mdf).  Then I scoured Craigslist for an inexpensive round coffee table.  Sure enough I found one for $20 in cherry  and spray painted with this product.

White Tulips
The flowers and basket on the table were homegoods clearance finds for $10 a piece.  All the other items on the sofa table were things I already had except for the lamp that I got at a garage sale for $4.  By  creating a few more horizontal layers I was able to finally get the ‘happy sigh, it’s complete feeling’ I had been missing and for only $65!

So next time you feel like something is missing check your layers! (In the room remember, not your hair) 🙂

And for fun, as a last example, I added some new pretend layers via photoshop elements to my family room.  See if you can spot them all.

My Family Room Now

Family Room for Blog_edited-1

My Family Room with Additional Photoshopped Layers

Layers demonstration Family Room2

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