9.16.2011

The Art of Layering

With grey skies, cold misty air, and autumn's chill setting the grave tone of today...today we are talking about the art of   L A Y E R I N G  , which is truly an art form in itself and a very difficult task to master. It takes a special slide of hand, visual perspective, aesthetic attunement, and sensitivity to color, light, texture, and material to be able to flawlessly execute the combination of such varied accumulations without appearing overcrowded, overdone, or over worked. It involves stepping out of your comfort zone, opening your mind by removing "blocks" of stereotypes, fads, trends, and social acceptabilities, it involves reconsidering the "rules" you know about matching and coordinating and fully embracing the unconventional. It involves stepping out and stepping up to the plate of being "different." Can you handle it?

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Layering in the home comes in many forms. Combining sleek, modern, mid century gems with tailored traditional or antique ones. Combining metal tones (in this case chrome, and brass), combining different tones of wood in your furnishings (like oak and ebony...match-y match-y furniture sets are dull in their monotony of wood tones), combining modern and abstract art with more formal and traditional gilded mirrors and frames...Basically the premise is this: Nothing has to match they just have to go. Your furniture, accessories, art, etc. doesn't have to be the same style or period. Your fabrics, pillows, window treatments, and rugs don't ALL have to be in the same exact color pallet or feature the same motif, design, or theme.


Your bookshelves aren't just for books. Layer displays of treasured objects like seashells, small trinkets, small busts, small picture frames and bud vases throughout to break up the verticality of your display...you can even shift books to lay horizontally for more variation. Nail frames to your bookcase treating it as a wall, prop up frames against stacks of books, prop artwork up against the base of your shelving unit for a sophisticated-ly unfussy look, insert random but meaningful objects throughout to create consistent visual interest and to enhance the impact your display creates... Now, there, doesn't that make it more interesting?

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Layer your tabletop accessories. Play with scale. Play with proportion. Play with groupings. Create vignettes and displays of your collectibles by combining them in one location rather than dispersing them throughout the home. Stack piles and piles of books together to provide platforms of height and variation in levels. Avoid notions of size and scale and insert unexpectedly large vases or floral displays on disproportionate surfaces for visual interest and intrigue. Forget what you learned about "clutter." If you can create meaningfull and impactful displays, showcasing items that are personal to you and that tell a story within the space, such as this, you can't go wrong...and if one table isn't enough? Slide a trunk or a nesting table in there to spill over your vision.

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Layer your baubles. A huge trend right now is the "arm party" but, frankly, I've been piling it on for years like a crazy old woman...create statement "themes" in your accessorizing by combining layers upon layers of unexpected pieces...I know, at first this can seem a bit much and a bit overbearing weighing you down with jumbles of things your mother's and grandmother's classic preferences would never approve of you combining.  Pair an over sized men's watch with dainty pearls, colorfully punchy friendship bracelets, modern metallic bangles, and strappy leather cuffs. Play with metal tones and don't be afraid to combine the un-a-like. Pair $ craft bracelets with $$$ genuine goodies. The more varied you can get the better.

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The same goes for necklaces. Combine your chunkiest, boldest, most bejeweled costume pieces (you know, the ones that you save for wearing solo...with a cocktail dress...or a themed party) for dramatic statements of sass-a-frass with heathered T-shirts for the ever important juxtaposition of casual chic.

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Layer multiple scarves together...play with patterns, colors, texturs, and desings to create signature "looks"...tie it messy and loose for a simplistically suave appeal...

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(Please go check out Atlantic-Pacific as this lovely lady is the QUEEN of layering)


{that would be me...rocking polka dots, stripes, and leopard print heels}


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Layer your patterns. Layer your colors and tones. Layer your textiles. Layer your wardrobe and your home in unexpected combinations. Combinations that make the traditionalists in us all gasp and ,initially, cringe as we recall the design "rules" misguidedly ingrained in our brains. Animal spots with polka dots. Stripes on stripes. Spots on stripes. Velvet on linen. Sequins for daytime. Sequins with leather...on your chair back....embrace the unexpected. The key to this is paying careful attention to scale and undertones. The black tones of the polka dots and spots make them pair up nicely...the variation in scale of the stripes make them work without making you dizzy...

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Layer your rugs. Yup, you can throw down with the best of them by simply layering your flooring covers. As in the picture above, they don't have to match, or even be the same style of rug...just throw them down (at angles for an especially carelessly chic appeal) and embrace la vie boheme.

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Layer your artwork. Instead of mounting them on the wall consider simply propping them up against the wall? Novel, I know. And guess what else (this will blow your socks off too)? The entire frame DOESN'T HAVE TO SHOW! Shuffle your favorite pieces together for a truly piece-y feel. As we talked about in our gallery discussion the other day {here} don't be afraid to play with and to LAYER the metals of the frames, to mix metal with plastic and wood, to mix up the types, colors, and size of the matting...


Your wardrobe, your home, your life...it is YOUR playground...get creative, have fun, be different,



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