How to Layer a Space

I have never been a minimalist.  The current trend towards layering--in both home decor and fashion--feels right up my alley.  But it doesn't come naturally to everyone, and I loved the recent piece in Lucky magazine that shows you how to layer an outfit, starting with a great combo of classic pieces then layering on the color, texture, and pattern.  I think what I like most about this approach is that none of the looks are "better" or "worse," rather, it gives you an idea about how to successfully combine elements along the "layered" spectrum, with each look being "finished" in its own right.

(You can also see a little how-to video from the good folks at Lucky, here)  

I thought I would translate this to home, using my mater bedroom as an example.  Ready?

1) Start with great shapes and a hit of interest, otherwise known as a "star."

In my case, the great shapes include an arched chinoiserie headboard, a classic sunburst mirror, a hexagon bamboo side table, and a spindle lamp.  The hit of interest?  Why, my embroidered tapestry of course.

Even at this simple end of the spectrum, I have an eclectic mix of styles and eras, but the white bedding keeps it quiet and the textures play nice--the diamond patterned rug mimics the geometry of the throw and the lampshade.

2)  Layer in pattern and personal effects.

Start to use those clean surfaces!  A white tray on the bedside table is a simple graphic element, and a pitcher of water is a nice touch in a guest room. To the antique cedar chest I added a textured  basket and a stack of favorite design books.  Keeping within my color palette, I added the bold zebra pattern to the bed and another graphic brown and white textile in the basket.  Minimizing the overall palette keeps the layers from getting out of hand.

3) Throw on the texture and mixed finishes

On to the maximalist!  A fur throw, gilded green pillows, exuberant hydrangeas, and leather and silk jewelry boxes push it to the next level.  Again, every new element fits within the existing palette: green pillows pick up the green rug, the orange and yellow jewelry boxes echo tones in the embroidered throw, the brown fur throw and leather handles push brown as my neutral, even the flowers' pink and green is simply a repeat from elsewhere in the space.

For variations on this theme, take look two and  add curtains, layer on a second rug (sheepskin or hide, something organic in shape), and add in sconce lighting over the bed in a metal finish.

And here is a side by side look.

That's not so hard, right?

What about you: do you like to keep it simple, pile it on, or do you live somewhere in between?

Oh, and I posted a little late yesterday.  In case you missed it, check out the board for a masculine living room.