WINTER LAYERING 101

For many people the onset of winter brings a chance to update their home decor, as they look for ways to make their home instantly cosier. Home decorating can become expensive if you re-style seasonally, however investing in key staples that you can bring out year after year, during these cooler months, gives you something to look forward to when its rainy and cold outside. 

Layering, Texture, Ambiance and Colour. These four elements work together for a holistic approach to cosying up your home, so we encourage you to learn how to master each of the elements this winter season.

What is layering?

While many people think of layering as only adding a throw across their sofa or bed, layering really means considering element of a space as a layer – paint, wallpaper, lighting, flooring, soft furnishings, furniture, artwork – while the art of layering applies to arranging these various elements in a cohesive way in a space. 

The way these objects compliment each other is based on the balance and weight of the pieces in question, looking at different patterns, shapes, textures and colour, to add depth, balance and to create contrast. Not only does the process add more personality to a room, it also gives that pulled together styled look, that most people refer to when they feel a space is “finished”. 

What is important to realise that layering doesn’t mean bringing clutter back into a room. Minimal and sparsely furnished rooms can easily be layered and feel warm and inviting, without a whole lot of stuff filling the room. By using different design elements you can create beautiful contrasts that bring out the overall style of the room. 

When it comes to adding layers to an already designed and mostly furnished room, these are some of the key areas to focus on:

Rugs

It’s important to recognise the value of rugs in the layering process. Rugs are a great way to bring literal warmth underfoot, ideal for those colder winter months. They also visually define a space within a larger room setting, making the space that much more welcoming. Choose neutral and natural rugs like sisal and jute blends for a relaxed style (check to make sure they are soft woven, so they aren’t too scratchy and hard), or a Persian style rug for a classic setting. Our personal favourites are plush, thick pile rugs for a luxurious feeling – especially in bedrooms and smaller living spaces. 

Don’t let your kids (pets yes, kids no) put you off upgrading your rug. In high kid traffic areas, we typically opt for indoor / outdoor rugs with a soft weave, that are still durable but easily cleaned. 

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Window Treatments

Window treatments add softness and privacy. Typically we tell our clients, if you don’t need window treatments for privacy, then don’t have them. They can be expensive, they need to hang somewhere, which can be problematic in smaller spaces or those with lots of circulation, and require maintenance.  

On the other hand, they do soften the edges of hard a room. We installed sheer curtains in our new living areas, mostly to help with the abundance of sunshine we get in the summer months which make the rooms blinding and light. While the housemate absolutely hates them for the space they take up, they have softened the otherwise minimal spaces in a big way. 

A warm and welcoming room is one that makes you feels safe and cosy, and in the colder months we know there is often a preference for drawing the curtains to close the weather out. For curtains opt for thicker, heavier fabrics that will hang nicely. Whether you choose neutral pieces or a gorgeous pattern depends entirely on your setting. For sheers and blinds, our preference is simple and neutral, to blend into the background. 

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Textiles

In the most basic of spaces, there are a few simple home comforts that bring you a sense of happiness. That includes pillows to snuggle up against and blankets to keep you warm. Additional layers equate to additional warmth.

Throw pillows are easy to swap out with the change of season, and also one of the easiest ways to take a design risk in a space. Start by getting yourself a good cushions inner. Think plump inserts with a feather stuffing, which have a fuller, squashy appearance and look much cosier than thin, flat inners. Down and feather products do have a higher price point, but these days you can good microfibre alternatives at better budget options. 

Choose to update the cover for a fluffier, warmer or deeper hue during the winter months. To create additional visual interest, overlap your pieces, starting with a larger cushion at the back (square shape) and a smaller cushion (rectangular shape) in the front. 

At the same time, styling your sofas, reading nooks and occasional chairs with a fabulous soft throw will add extra comfort and visual delight.  And while “How To Style A Throw” can turn into a post all on its own, we’re here today to let you know this is a great way to add some extra layers to your home during the colder months. Opt for thicker throws during winter so the pieces are both beautiful and functional. 

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Artwork + Decor

A large, bare wall can create the feeling of starkness in a room. So can an empty bookshelf or a barren console. Here again it’s important to remind yourself that there is a difference between minimal and warm spaces, and filling a room with a lot of stuff for the sake of it.

Layering in your personal items helps tell your own story and makes a room feel complete. Make it meaningful and it will bring you joy on a daily basis. Just remember to keep some white space on your walls and in your life. 

If you’re at a loss on where to start, try to pick a theme or choose pieces with similar colours, shapes and textures. When grouping items the Rule of Three can apply to pretty much any item you are working with. Simply put – odd numbers of items have more visual appeal that even numbers. It is also the basis for styling objects, when you combine three items. Choose something vertical (vase, candles), something horizontal (tray, books) and something sculptural (objects). 

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Plants + Flowers

One of the most beautiful layers in a room are the plants and flowers. They are well known for the ability to liven and brighten any space. We love a single, large indoor planter for a dramatic effect in an empty corner, and vases and flowers for layering smaller spaces such as console and bookshelves. Even if you have nothing else on a shelf, layering in plants of different shapes and sizes is great way to bring depth and personality to a room. Just be sure you are the kind of person that will care for them, as there is nothing worse than a row of dead plants. 

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If you need a helping hand to style your living room, or even a whole house, get in touch with our team. We offer a styling service (location permitting) to show you how best to combine and display the pieces you already have in your home. 

Contact our team on projects@thehomestudio.co.za

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