How To Layer Decor In A Room

Layering decor in your home adds beauty and tons of welcoming interest to your living spaces. Once you learn how to think about layering from the floors to the walls to the furniture to the accents you will be thrilled with how fabulous your home will look and feel! Layering decor is one thing you will want to know how to do in your home!

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I have a running checklist in my head when I decorate any space in my home. This mental list helps me focus on the important designer rules and tips I need to create a lovely space.

At the top of my list is layering.

You may have a room with great bones and nice furniture, but it may not be very interesting! When I decorate a room and think that it is a little uninspired I immediately think about layering.

The job of splendidly layered decor is to create spaces that are so fetching that our eyes want to study them. They are a pleasure to be in and live in!

And this is decor gold, my friend!

Let’s talk about what layering is and what it is not. You might be a little bit surprised!

WHAT IS LAYERING DECOR

Layering is part art and part science.

Layering decor in a room boils down to adding decor items to a room in a way that they work with the room as a whole and bring a special bit of interest and the stylist’s personality to the room.

Layering decor is considering everything in your home from the floors to the walls to the furniture and how they all work together.

It’s so important to add YOUR personality to your decor and you can do this through layering decor.

WHAT LAYERED DECOR IS NOT

Oh goodness, I have a lot to say here! Layering decor has been so misrepresented! I’m a bit guilty of this myself. I see way too much stuff piled together and on top of one another that is called layered decor.

Too much of a good thing is actually TOO MUCH. And it is not then a good thing either.

Please don’t believe the misconception that lots of stuff put together adds beauty to your home. It probably doesn’t.

An example of this is shelves paced with plates and pictures and a wreath and plants and seasonal decor. Just because there is a lot of pretty things on these shelves does not make them work together and look pretty as a whole. Actually, all these things fight for attention and the outcome is a cluttered confusing look!

Or a room that has every surface covered with decor and piles of pillows in different colors and shapes on the sofa and all the chairs. Yes, it is layered but it is just too much!

Layering should be simple and beautiful. It’s hard for our eyes to swim through gobs of “things” creating a jumble that is masquerading as layering decor.

Do you know this great fashion advice… Look in the mirror before you go out and remove one thing? Well, that works for decorating too. But remove several!

The buzzword for home decorators when it comes to layering decor is …

KEEP IT SIMPLE

Home decorators tend to over layer their homes. This is something you want to watch out for. Keep it simple!

THINK OF SIMPLE LAYERS

I think one of the easiest ways to show you what I mean by keep layers simple is to look at my dining area table.

It is layered. But you might not think so at first glance.

A fun area rug, a round pedestal table, and upholstered chairs with a lumbar pillow sitting on one chair. On the table, there is a burlap table runner and a big glass vase of tulips, and a pair of thin brass candlesticks with white candles.

If done right layering is just so pretty. When different design elements are brought together to make a room interesting and pleasing… that is layering decor.

FLOORING

Don’t forget about flooring when you think of layers of decor. It grounds a room. My best advice is to keep flooring simple and in the background.

This good texture rule is more of do as I say and not as I do!

I have a very neutral monochromatic home so I like rugs with a bit of pizzazz. My area rugs give my room pattern, texture and style. A bit of vitality in a sea of calm.

I love this stain-resistant and machine washable rug from Ruggables. You can see MY RUGGABLE RUG HERE.

I used to think that layering rugs, one on top of the other, was a great idea. I’ve since changed my mind.

Many times layered rugs look odd. It takes a very savvy decorator to layer rugs the right way. Rugs are not a thing to layer.

Instead, I think it is much more important to find rugs that work together from room to room. You can see a post about MIXING AND MATCHING AREA RUGS IN YOUR HOME here.

WALLS AND WINDOWS

When we consider layering decor we need to think about walls and windows. Walls are most often another foundation of a room but mostly they stay quietly in the background. Or so we think! What wall color we choose is so important and should be considered a layer we need to pay attention to.

The biggest question I get asked by readers, clients, friends, and family is “where did you get that”. The second question is about paint color.

Paint plays such a big role in the overall beauty of a room.

Choosing the right paint color will make decorating your room so much easier!

Here are three very important posts that will help you with this layer of a room:

HOW TO CHOOSE THE PERFECT PAINT COLOR

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WARM AND COOL COLORS

WHAT ARE CLEAN AND DIRTY COLORS AND HOW THEY AFFECT THE WAY YOU DECORATE

These three posts will help you so much not only in layering decor but getting colors to work together in your home. I suggest you take the time and read the above post together. There is lots of aha! ideas and advice for you!

Now let’s turn our attention to windows and specifically window treatments.

I am a huge fan of curtains! They bring softness, pattern, and color to our walls.

Does every window need curtains? That would be a big NO! If the windows themselves fill a wall or are architectural attractive or there is only a small wall area around a window then it’s better to leave them bare.

One option for windows is pretty decorative blinds. They always look pretty!

Our dining area is a good example of when to use curtains and when not to.

ADDING THE FURNITURE LAYER TO A ROOM

Furniture includes any of the foundational pieces that make a room functional. And when done right furniture makes a room attractive!

My best advice is to use what you need. In a living room that means a sofa, chairs, coffee table, end tables, and console. I would even include lighting in this category. A room can’t function without proper lighting. These things are the backbone of a room.

Keep it simple. Many home decorators add way too many pieces of furniture in a room.

Too many pieces of furniture in a room equals too many layers!

Here is my decorating mantra, LESS IS BEST when it comes to decorating. Find out more about LESS IS BEST DECORATING here.

Also, think about keeping the furniture layer of a room classic and a bit neutral. Doing this will allow you to change your style, color palette, and accent decor easily!

However, color and decorating style is a matter of personal choice. Do what you love!

Our dining area is small and it would be so easy to overdecorate this room. I’ve changed up chairs and tables several times in the last couple of years to find furniture with the right scale and proportion. I did have a bar cart in this room but it made my room look off! It was a layer of decor I did not need! When I took it out the room looked so much better.

Here are a few posts to read that will be helpful when you think about this layer of decor…

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BEIGE– a must-read!

HOW TO HAVE A COHESIVE HOME

ACCENT FURNITURE AND DECOR ARE ALL ABOUT EMBELLISHING!

I am a self-professed embellishment queen! I love to make things pretty. And accent furniture and decor do just that.

Adding a fun chair to a room or vignette or candlesticks or plants or art or a mirror literally “makes the room”. These items show off our personality and style!

And they are such an important decorating layer. While the rugs, walls, curtains, and foundational furniture are crucial for setting a great foundation for a room, it’s the accent decor that gives it life!

One of the keys to layering a room is balance! Keeping the accent decor on one side of a room in proportion to the other side of the room.

This is such an important thing to know. Read about WHAT IS BALANCE AND HOW TO USE IT WHEN I DECORATE here.

The other key to layering a room beautifully is to edit and keep it simple.

Every room needs a dose of accent decor! But remember even these amazing things that work magic on our homes can be overdone!

VIGNETTES

Let’s expand on accent decor and talk about vignettes. One of the easiest ways to create gorgeous layered decor in a room is to create vignettes.

Vignettes are “little stories” that you tell with decor. They are best when they tell something about you or about the season at hand! And they add a nice layer of prettiness to your home.

They are a great way to take accent decor and group it together.

Just remember to keep vignettes simple. There’s that word again, simple!

To help you create the prettiest vignettes you might like to read 10 ELEMENTS OF A VIGNETTE here.

LAYERING TEXTILES

Layering fabric items is another way to use accent decor. These “soft” furnishings can be subtle, yet the sum of their parts is beautifully synergistic! They work together to make something magical!

Think about rugs, curtains, pillows, throws, and any other fabrics in a room. They should all work together to make a big statement! Think of all your fabrics as part of a larger whole.

Pillows are probably my favorites!

Pillows are decorating gold! They can transform a room and you should really know how to use them on your sofa, chairs, and bed.

Becoming a pillow pro is a very worthwhile decorating endeavor. It pays big pretty dividends in your home. There are many different ways to layer pillows. It’s all about finding the perfect way of layering them in your home.

You might like to read 5 NO-FAIL PILLOW ARRANGEMENTS FOR YOUR SOFA. And 8 WAYS TO ARRANGE PILLOWS ON A BED. Also, HOW TO ARRANGE PILLOWS ON A SECTIONAL.

The image above of the dining chair with the lumbar pillow is an example of simple layered decor. Notice the rug and the curtains. All this decor is layered so they work together and add so much interest to the room.

OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN LAYERING DECOR

As always, to be a successful home decorator we need to keep that mental checklist in mind. It’s a checklist of all the designer tips and secrets we know will create a welcoming home we love.

Here are a few things to keep in mind to help those gorgeous layers add up to a spectacular room!

VISUAL WEIGHT AND DECORATING

WHY SPACE IS SO IMPORTANT WHEN YOU DECORATE

RHYTHM AND REPETITION IN DECORATING

I hope you have enjoyed learning about layering decor and will use it when you decorate!

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30 Comments

  1. What an informative, relevant and useful post. Thank you for sharing! I savored every word and will take it to heart. I love a good vignette, but as you have so recently pointed out in various articles, over-decorating is quite the dilemma! I can relate! I do enjoy your blog so very much.

  2. I love to put shiny new with chippy. The juxtaposition adds interest to any vignette. A little whimsy in a room doesn’t hurt either. Makes for a great conversational moment. You’re absolutely right about too many layers. I see some pictures on Instagram or blogs were they have added on and added on. It boggles the mind. A room needs a place where the eye can rest. As always, a great lesson on design, Yvonne.

  3. Can a table runner stand alone or does it need to have something on top of it? I haves these beautiful beaded runners 36″ and need some ideas of how to decorate with them. I Feel they are very busy and using them as a layer is too much. What would you do?

  4. Hi, I do like some of your ideas, but I was just wondering what you meant by “saving your kids from having to ride the bus? I myself am a retired school bus driver, I always took pride and care to deliver the kids home safe and sound !! Also I find your color scheme rather boring !! I love more color!! Sorry, that is just my opinion!! Keep up your good work!! And ad some color !!

  5. Yvonne, you are such a wealth of knowledge and we thank you, so much, for everything you share with us. We always benefit from your posts and can use all your suggestions in making our house a home. Bless you, Yvonne! I thank God for you and the special gal you are! Have a great week!

  6. Hi! Your dining area was a great example! It looks beautiful! I think subtle things can be so beautifully layered rather than competing things that are not restful to look at. The advice you gave is so good! I think sometimes the layered looks in decorating and blogs are either just messy or unworkable for living with it in real life, even if they photograph cute. You are so right about how things can just look piled up. I do not want that look for my house. Tiny decor, too, can look messy, not tied in well. I want it pretty, not lots of little knicknacks everywhere and no really eye-catching special things. Plus it needs to be multifunctional. I have a large black vase that is very pretty, and it looks better than if I rotated vases. I can put dried eucalyptus, or nice faux florals that are seasonal, or a large something, or even nothing at all, and it goes better than a small trio of vases or something in decor I can’t use all year long. It layers better with things because it goes with everything I have.

  7. I am learning, and playing, all about vignettes from you. Lol. Enjoying it too. One favorite idea of yours, I learned about how to cover books in burlap as risers. A fav! Still struggle with Mantle decorations.

  8. I absolutely LOVE coming to your blog for inspiration and motivation. I can always envision how I want to create my space; however, if I sit on it too long, I’ll start overthinking and before I know it, the space is still bare months later! I need to start trusting my instinct and realize that hey, if it doesn’t work, it’s not permanent! Committing to solid staples and changing up my layers is easier to process for an over-thinker like me!

  9. I love creating a little vignettes throughout my home. It always adds interest and definitely tells a story! Thanks for such a great post…. it was very inspirational!

  10. Yvonne, I just want you to know how inspiring your decorating style is. I love your layering in your dining room, It is simplistic but well curated and I am a fan of your dining room table and chairs. Love, love your curtains,they just add to be beauty. Well I am off to use your inspiration. Have a great day.

  11. Layering has always been a challenge for me, but I will put more effort in because it looks so great!

  12. Thank you for the tips on layering! Can’t wait to incorporate these tips into my own home decorating!

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