How To Layer Decor When You Decorate

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One of the best interior design tips you need that will give your rooms a pulled together and finished look.

There are a lot of different things to consider when creating a beautifully decorated space, but one of the best interior design tips that I can give you is to layer your decor.  It isn’t difficult at all!  Once you learn a few tricks from the design trade you’ll be able to use this decorating technique in every room of your home.

Neutral accent chair with pillow and throw.Pin
You might be wondering exactly what layering your decor means.  It’s the art of building a room from the ground up.  It’s the interior designer secret that adds depth and interest to a space.

Beginning from the floor up, here’s a breakdown of the many elements in a room where layering comes into play:

  • Flooring: carpeting, area rugs, area rugs layered over one another
  • Walls: paint, wallpaper, framed artwork, mirrors, decorative wall hangings
  • Windows: draperies, valances, shades, blinds
  • Furniture: sofas, chairs, tables, beds, coffee tables, end tables
  • Lighting: overhead lighting, table lamps, task lighting, accent lighting
  • Textiles: pillows, throw blankets, bedding
  • Decorative Elements: greenery and flowers, books, containers, tchotchkes

Consider each one of these elements as a different layer.  Focus on building the room by adding each layer, one at a time.  Let’s take a look at layering in action in my recently refreshed family room.


I have hardwood floors in all of the living areas of our home.  Some of the areas have area rugs and some do not.

My family room is one of the spaces that does have an area rug and during its refresh, I layered another area rug on top of the existing one.  The additional rug broke up the soft sea of gray that was my large main area rug and helped to pull together all of the colors in the room.


White entertainment center in neutral family room.Pin



In the world of interior design tips, layering decor on a wall can be as simple as hanging a single piece of artwork on the wall or as complex as creating a stunning gallery wall.

If you crave simplicity, then that single piece of artwork is just fine.  On a larger wall, such as the one above my sofa, I needed to add dimension to the wall because of the architecture of the room.  I created that dimension by the adding three sconces centered above the pretty watercolor prints.  Now my wall doesn’t look so flat up under the overhang above my sofa.

Gallery wall with watercolor prints above sofa.Pin



A simple pair of draperies on a window can be just fine.  In fact, that’s what the majority of the windows in my home are like.  But – sometimes a window (and the room) needs more.  Adding another layer to your windows can turn a bland wall into so much more!

For example, if you study the fireplace wall in this room, you’ll realize that it’s really just one looonnnng wall of flat stuff.   There’s a fireplace, flat against the wall flanked by a pair of flat French doors.  Left alone, it would be boring and well…..flat.

Neutral living room decor with roll shades on the windows.Pin

To get rid of all of the square angles and to frame out the entire wall, I added the softness of pretty drapery panels.  But instead of just hanging a drapery panel on each door, I also added wood slat blinds and then hung the drapery panels over them.  The added layer of blinds adds some much needed dimension to the wall!

Stylish neutral recliner with pillows on it.Pin


Using a coffee table in front of a sofa is just one example of layering furniture in a room.  Left to his own devices, my husband would much rather never have a coffee table in a room.  He’s a tall guy (who’s eyes aren’t always looking down – translate that to bruised shins!) with a long reach, so his desire for a wide open space is understandable.

As much as I try to accommodate his wishes, that just doesn’t work for me.  I need the coziness of enough layers of furniture in a room to keep it from feeling like an incomplete space.

There is a neutral couch with soft blue/grey pillows on it in the living room.Pin



The idea of layering lighting in a room means that instead of just having one light source, such as an overhead light, your rooms should have multiple types and levels of light.  Think of it as creating a “lightscape” by using an overhead light source + table lamps + floor lamps + task lighting (when needed) + accent lighting.

All these things combined together will give you a room that’s functional as well as a visually balanced room.

The family room with a large clock on the wall and a neutral ottoman with a tray and a vase on it.Pin


Pillows, blankets and throws make layering with textiles so easy!  Think of textiles as the works of art that add instant personality and style to your home.  The exact same sofa decorated with boldly colored and patterned pillows or throws will give the same room a whole different vibe than that same sofa layered with soft neutrals.

And don’t be afraid of mixing patterns!  The trick is to make sure that the colors and sizes of the fun patterns compliment one another.

Here’s the key: 1) include one pattern that is larger and will be become the dominant one in the group, 2) choose a second pattern that’s half the scale of the first pattern, 3) mix geometric or plaid patterns with floral ones, 4) for a fourth layer, add a solid or something with a tiny pattern and 5) groupings of odd numbers always look best.

Neutral sofa with gray throw pillows.Pin



The decorative accessories that you add to your room act as the final layer of the decor.  In addition to textiles, this is your opportunity to really let your personality shine!  It’s also an opportunity to draw the eye where you want to or to disguise some aspect of the room that’s less than attractive.

When adding the accessories layer to your decor, you want to strike that soft balance of not too much and not too little.  If you’re unsure, try snapping a few photos of your room with your phone.  You’ll be amazed at how differently things come across in a photo than in real life.

Pine sofa table beside the sofa in the sitting room.Pin

Let me encourage you to take a little time to experiment and to try different combinations and you’ll become a master of this important aspect of decorating before you know it.  And above all – have fun!


Need more interior design tips and solutions to design dilemmas?  Click HERE!


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  1. My favorite is your tiny boxwood wreath on the lampshade.

  2. mattsgramma says:

    I’m going shopping for a tray!

  3. Thank you for the great tips!

  4. I’ve added some pillows and a large clock over my mantel and it already looks more pulled together!

  5. I like your mantel with the arch. Everything you have on there looks great. I guess it is all about layering.

  6. Great ideas for layering.

  7. Great advice. I almost purchased the same houndstooth pillow yesterday. Now I wish I would have purchased it! Maybe another trip to the store is in order!

  8. Kelly Middleton says:

    Love trays! I just bought two this week at Home Goods. Also, where did you get your mini boxwood wreaths?

    1. I love your mantle….so pretty!

  9. You have so many good tips. I’ve taken screen shots of several pages for future reference. BTW, where did you find that cute little blue side table next to the chair in your family room?

    1. Thank you, Susan! I bought that little table years ago at a local home decor store. It used to be olive green, but obviously I painted it. 😀

  10. Love all your rooms, but your office. Wow

  11. Anne marie says:

    Thanks for the great tips – love your home.

  12. Plan to follow your advice about layering window treatments.

  13. Dianne Kropp says:

    l wish l had your courage in painting furniture. l fear that if l do my cherry pieces they’ll come back in style and l’ll be sorry. Your rooms are gorgeous.

  14. Rebecca Nelson says:

    Thanks for the tips. I am in the process of trying to “crisp” up my look. I love the things I have, but want it a bit fresher looking

  15. I love how you layer. Since I have found your website, I have been constantly changing things up more often in my home. It is amazing how moving things around more often gives you a whole new look.

  16. Thanks for your great tips!!

  17. Linda Charlton says:

    As always, love your ideas.

  18. Carol Elkins says:

    Thank you for the great tips! I love how you explained how to layer things. Great ideas!