• Wendy Wrzos

Living and Layering


Removing Christmas from my house requires a lot of loud music, comfy clothes, and perhaps the occasional glass of wine. While I love my home, the spaces are small, so I have to rearrange everything to accommodate the Christmas tree; furniture is forced to move around like some bizarre game of musical chairs, and I find myself almost apologizing to the over-sized, vintage radio as I decide to wiggle it awkwardly into the coat closet for the month.

Ever the decorator, I am not content to just jam it all into place, so it takes me hours to basically redesign my home just for the sheer joy of having a Christmas tree in the front window. So, this last weekend was spent taking down Christmas, moving furniture and pictures back to wherever they came from, and freeing the old radio from its hiding space.

Ironically, my music of choice was David Bowie‘s, “The Singles 1969 – 1993“; songs that I grew up on, and could easily belt out the lyrics to in my sleep. I mention this only because he passed away the very next day, and I had no idea that he was so ill while I was singing along to some of my favorite music and chasing pine needles around with the vacuum cleaner.

At the end of the day, my home was pulled back together, and I started futzing around with the table by my front door; playing with shapes, and layering photographs that I had decided to relocate from another room. I spent at least twenty minutes on that tiny space, and as I did, I thought, that as designer’s, we often forget to mention the details that really matter in an effort to make decorating appear as simple as possible.

Layering accessories is one of those details that can make or break a home. We see it done so beautifully on mantles and bookshelves, but the truth is (don’t laugh) that if you just put several things in front of each other, with no thought at all, it could probably be called a mess, and the difference between a mess and the art of layering is all about taking a moment to find a common thread, and taking even more time to play with what you have.

So, if you love the look of layering, and want to add a bit more personality to your home, try grouping things together before you begin (by color palette, shape, theme, style, or texture). Forget about using matching things, the more eclectic the better (and often the easier it is). The goal is (essentially) to have designed clutter; to just teeter around the edge of it looking undone, and almost accidental in appearance, but in a very deliberate way.

I always start with either the largest piece, or my favorite, and then add the other items around it. Books are a great way to add a layer, and they automatically provide a shelf for something else to sit upon. Mixing old and new gives us a feeling of warmth, and a curated layer is the perfect spot to put the occasional, quirky doodad that you just can’t do without.

The magic of layering is that it allows us to take the ordinary things that we have, turn them into what we love, and relax them into a casual, decorative story. So, when you have a moment, turn up the music, grab your drink of choice, and start playing.

For more by Wendy and the Blue Giraffe, go to: http://www.thebluegiraffe.com/

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