The fine art of layering

cactus-cactus-plant-contemporary-1005058One of the easiest yet unheralded tips for successful styling is the concept of layering.  In contrast to clothes, it’s not about adding items on top of another (and stripping as the day gets warmer) but of adding and creating what we term vignette volume.

Like one of our art-collector friends says:  “One is a find; two is a pair; three is a collection.”  In interior design, unless you have one spectacular piece (the “find”) that deserves a prized position all alone, you want to use odd numbers of three or five items  for maximum visual impact.

For decor layering we take three shapes:  a vertical, a horizontal, and one we call a “bridge” which unites the two.  We call this the “holy trinity”, but triad may be less controversial… For five items, we call it a “cinco”.  Here are five (cinco!) basic layering concepts:

Fall Selections: Green & Orange, S/20
Got the bookcase-clutter blues?  If  you don’t have fancy tchotchkes, you probably have books.  Try re-stacking them like this (minus the covers).  We’re also partial to color blocking for a more unified look.
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This contemporary. monochromatic room gains depth with the back table holding the fundamental items in a triad: tray, plant, and sculpture. It perfectly balances the plant (the “find”) on left.
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Trays are great for the “horizontal” line, uniting possibly disparate objects (note the “cinco” in play).
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Layering is what adds depth and interest to this collection of basic white (boring) china.
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This photo from HOUZZ perfectly captures the “cinco” amigos, lending life to a dead-end wall:  rug, chair, pedestal, plant, and art. (OK,  we didn’t count the small sculpture(?), but you get the idea…)

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