Layers are not just for fall and winter anymore…

IMG_1529This past year has been an interesting reminder that good design is about “big picture” thinking. I spoke a little about this in an earlier post discussing a plan starting from the entry on the property, up to the house and all the pieces surrounding. This is true whether you have acreage or if it is a city lot, you don’t need to put in place all the pieces at the same time but you do have to have a plan or a design strategy in mind so you can make good choices as you move along in the project. I was thinking that this same concept or way of thinking is true to interiors as well. I see the interior “big picture” concept as layers. And I think this is where people have a difficult time maneuvering when it comes to design. Layering is what good designers bring to the table and add to a project.

IMG_1532I often walk into a home or commercial space and see a sea of similar or matching wood tones and fabrics. Quite often it is a mass of brown and not much else, or, if there is something else, it is a mass of that other color or tone. It is lacking complexity and layering.

I think that people get used to seeing what they are accustomed to, because it is not what they focus on or do for a living. Or, they are just not obsessive compulsives about interior design like us nutty designers. What we see, we get used to, and then we are comfortable with it, until we invite the nutty designer into our home to help us create something different. You know it’s not quite done but you don’t really know why. It’s lacking layers. It’s as simple as that.

IMG_1525Often, for me, layering starts with looking at what material lies on the floor, is it hard or soft, warm or cool? Then I look at the walls and ceilings. If the floor is warm, such as wood, then the first layer may be your wall color. Paint the walls with a cool neutral, say with a gray tone, to contrast with the warmth of the floor or vise-versa. Add a rug, to add texture, and a different color than the flooring. Like a chunky, bleached jute rug or a colorful Kilim. The rug choice is very important to me. It is a layer that you can push with texture and color and a way to add both without it being obnoxious or trendy.

Then there is the layer of upholstered furniture, fabric or leather, patterned or solid. Think about the layers with color, material and texture in mind, variations but adding patterns with similarity.

IMG_1526Then add case goods such as tables, cabinets, and armoires. Are they wood or metal, or a combination of materials? Then lighting, glass, oil-rubbed bronze, nickel, brass, shiny or matte. Think of the lighting as the jewelry of your home. They are a finishing touch that sets off the rest of the outfit…

Then window coverings, another layer of fabric, with rings of wood or metal?. What are the finials, how are they finished? What do they add?…

5The layers create the interior’s “big picture.” They are woven together but each layer different in some manner but with common threads running throughout. There is a rhythm created with good layering that translates to a well designed, finished space. Layers are not just for fall and winter anymore…