Homes: The Layered Living Room

Looking to create a layered look in your living room? There’s no real science to it. It is really a form of art as to which combinations of colours, patterns or textures work best together for dramatic effect. However, there are some tips, as opposed to rules, that can help you along the way.

1. START WITH A FOUNDATION COLOUR In this client’s living room, an olive brown was used on the sofa and the walls to achieve a neutral backdrop — a base in which to layer on colour and pattern.

2. CHOOSE ONE LARGE OVERSCALE PRINT to make a strong statement. Choose a colour that you love.  In this case, the hot pink velvet and linen damask was applied to the William birch roll armchairs. Note that the linen background colour is the same undertone as the sofa colour.

3. CHOOSE TWO OTHER PATTERNS, at a minimum, to accent the overscale print. These patterns should be contrasted in pattern and scale to the statement fabric. For example, with a floral and damask print, a stripe or geometric works well. A medium scale or small print is a nice complement to the overscale print. Consider balancing the pattern around the room, as opposed to having it all concentrated in one area.

4. ADD COLOURS OF THE SAME INTENSITY without consideration if they “match”. Pair jewel tones with jewel tones or pastels with pastels. Don’t be afraid to mix bold colours together. For example, hot pink, sunshine yellow, azure blue all have the same weight of colour, even though these combinations are not considered to “go” together.

5. CONSIDER THE LEVEL OF SOPHISTICATION you would like to create in your room – formal vs. casual, traditional vs. modern. A damask tends to have a more upscale traditional feel whereas a gingham or plaid creates a more casual country feel while a geometric offers a more modern feel.

6. CONSIDER WHAT MOOD YOU WOULD LIKE TO CREATE. For some intensity and energy, consider a bolder graphic print and, for a calming effect, a more muted palette and pattern.

Go ahead and be bold. Mix colours and patterns to create an eclectic “not too done” decorating effect in your home! Have confidence and layer away!

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Photo: Gordon King