AdviceInterior design

Home interior Design Tips: Layering

If you’re starting with an empty shell of a room and you want to make it feel homely, it can seem like a daunting task. You might have moved house and be looking to put your stamp on your new place, or you might have gutted a room and want to give it a new lease of life. As all home interior design stylists will tell you, to create a space that’s warm and inviting, it’s all in the layering.

If you’ve ever put a jumper over a shirt and topped it off with a scarf and jacket before leaving the house, you’ve practised layering. Much like how you make an outfit interesting, layering a room means paying attention to all those decorative elements like throws that you add to create interest and comfort. Done well, it can even help to camouflage an area or feature that you’re not too keen on.

home interior design

Even if you haven’t heard the term before, there’s a good chance that when a room’s working for you, you’ve added in layers without realising. Each layer brings a colour and texture to the table but you can still apply the concept to more neutral colour schemes too.

If you’re not too sure what you’re aiming for, here’s home interior design stylist Emily Henderson’s blue and white sun room, created with Target. If this doesn’t inspire us to have a go ourselves then nothing will. There’s nothing better than seeing something come to life in front of your eyes is there?

home decor ideas

While the best bit about layering is the uniqueness of what you create, following these tips will help you pull off the look too:

1) Start off small. Mixing colour and texture is comfortable enough but it’s when you bring patterns into the mix that it can get tricky. Pay attention to your pillows first. Once you’re happy with them, you can work your way up to bigger areas like walls.
2) Create a cutting room floor. Get samples wherever possible and lay all of your possible pattern choices out on the floor to get a good look at how they work together (or not, as the case may be). If any stick out like a sore thumb, take them away until you have a mix of different colour intensities and shapes which run in different directions.
3) Add contrast. Once you’ve chosen the colours that work well together, add a contrasting colour to make things interesting. You’re not looking for a colour clash, but two different colours that work well together. You could add a coral to a grey, or a bright blue to a white.
4) Pay attention to scale. Mix up small, medium and large prints to balance the eye. If you have two large prints close together, they can look fine close up but step back and you’ll notice that it looks chaotic with both of them fighting for your attention.

interior design ideas
5) Use a large rug to ground a space. This works best under a dining room table. Top a patterned rug with another in a solid colour for extra style points.
6) Accessorise. Let your accessories tell your story. We all have our own life journeys and the things you buy or get given help tell yours. It may be an ornament from a holiday or something else entirely. Don’t think that a fresh start with a room makeover means getting rid of everything that might have had a place in your old/current room.
7) Switch up how you display things. Hang things on walls and use ladders or cupboards with shelving to make objects work harder.

interior design layering

8) Bring the plants in. If your room’s looking too put together, add some plants to give it a softer, laid-back edge.
9) Play with metallics and clear objects. Metallics and translucent objects like see-through vases and trinket bowls stop a room from feeling too heavy.
10) Assess the space. When you think you’re finished, take a picture on your phone. You’ll notice anything that might seem out of place. Keep on doing it until you’re happy with the picture staring back at you.

Full credit for all images and the GIF belongs to Emily Henderson and photographer Tessa Neustadt for Target. 

If you need help or advice with painting or decorating your home, post your job in our Painter / Decorator category. Up to three tradesmen can contact you to quote and you’ll be able to view their profile pages, complete with customer ratings, to help you decide who to hire.

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  1. Good advice. I used to always use the same wood in a room but now have realised that you can mix wood and materials along with art as a backdrop and throw in an unusual objet be it ornament or material such as a cushion or throw.

  2. Thank you so much for this. I’ve struggled my my current living room since I’ve lived here. I’m quite happy with it at the moment but it definitely needs a few bits and pieces. Layering makes sense to me and seems such a simple way to help people like me achieve a better ‘look’ in a room. Wish I’d heard the term with regards to home decor much sooner.

    1. Hi Anne,

      You’re very welcome. I’m glad to hear it’s a help. It’s amazing how quickly a room can come to life once you’re confident in what you’re doing. Best of luck with it.

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