Have you ever been in a room and felt like it told a story with every turn of your head? Have you ever looked at a space where every glance of your eye catches on something that looks incredibly rich, full and interesting? Perhaps you’ve felt like these are the kind of rooms you want to be in, and are the kind of spaces you hope your newly bought home on Cyberjaya property will look like? Have you ever wondered what the secret behind these beautiful spaces is? The design idea that is playing a big part in these spaces is actually no secret at all: it is the art of layering.
Somewhere between random grouping, exact placement and borderline clutter lies the art of layering. Layering is both an exact science and a subtle art form. It takes conscious effort and planning in stacking design elements on top of one another until the room feels textured and unique. However, you need to retain a certain degree of whimsiness and artfulness to the method of layering lest things start looking too staged. The art of layering is equivalent to tousled hair: created with intent and purpose yet seemingly effortless. Due to the sheer possibilities in the combination of your objects, it is difficult to come up with a one-size-fits-all formula (which essentially is where the beauty in layering lies: it’s versatility). So, read on for some tips and tricks to help you master the art of layering.
Start with the big pieces
It might often seem difficult to find a starting point to begin layering your myriad of décor pieces. Conventional thought would say to start with the smallest, but actually, the easiest way is to start with the biggest piece overall. Start with the placement of the largest piece in terms of width and height. Once you have dealt with that, move on in descending order until the bulk of your pieces are in place.
Diversify with a variety of widths and heights
This is an obvious but essential point. You will need to maintain diversity in the pieces you choose to decorate your space with. Prevent yourself from using too many similar (in terms of shape, size and outlook) pieces. For example, too many bulky pieces will make your space look constricted while too many thin pieces will make your space look just bare. Instead, balance out the bulky objects with some spindly ones for some added variety.
Play around with varied methods of display
As what we said above, avoid having your objects look too “same-same”. Your pieces will look much more interesting when they are displayed using a combination of different techniques. For example, if you collect artwork and are going to display them, think about different ways to display them: hang the more traditional pieces, prop some larger on the wall, or even stack a few smaller ones so that they obscure each other slightly.
When in doubt, throw in a plant
If you’re stuck on layering arrangements and you don’t know how to move forward, consider throwing in a piece of greenery to break up the predictability of layering décor and furniture. A piece like a houseplant will always add a fresh and organic element that complements your assortment of man-made objects and keeps it from looking too contrived.
When decorating a space, you might have the urge to make things overly symmetrical. However, this is easily one of the main downfalls for layering hopefuls. What is more important is the balance. The art of layering works best when things look naturally placed and effortless. Having your objects arranged much too rigidly and symmetrically will only end up throwing off the balance of your space. Consider looking for ways to shake up the placement of pieces with similar dimensions.
Group like objects together
This is where it can start getting a bit confusing. If you have like objects, sometimes by being a little expected by grouping them together in a somewhat haphazard arrangement can add just the right dose of the unexpected. What this means is that we expect layered pieces and arrangements to look random. So, go the other way and group similar objects together in clusters of two or four. This will draw the attention of the eye and make a high impact.
Don’t be afraid to obscure
You might think: what’s the point in arranging your things in your space if you can’t see them clearly and, in their entirety, right? Sometimes, obscuring some items behind others can add a bit of mystery (and discovery) to your space. Don’t be afraid to partially obscure a piece of art with a lamp or houseplant. Cultivate your space with a sense of mystery to make the eyes of you and your guests more curious to explore the space. This is great in adding new things for you to discover in your home too.
Throw it off
Before things start to get too predictable, add in or incorporate pieces that throw off the grouping of similarly-shaped objects. This adds a little variability and interest to a boring grouping of similar silhouettes.
Take a picture, then re-arrange
Once you’ve finished layering your décor, take a picture of it. Then, take some time to look at in on the screen. This process works wonders for many people because it allows you to view and judge your space more objectively. Remember that sometimes, you are your own best critic.