Over a decade ago, I had the good great fortune to live in Columbia, SC for 16 months. During that time, I had the opportunity to watch The Christopher Lowell Show and fell in love.
Now, Christopher has no idea I exist, and I’m pretty sure a relationship with him would have been out of the question, but he certainly impacted how I see decorating.
Fast forward to today. (The decade since really isn’t important to this post, so we’re allowed!). I’m sitting here with my well read copy of Christopher Lowell’s Seven Layers of Design clutched like my decorating bible.
The Layers (since we’re so close, Chris lets me call them that!) are a simple framework to build your design on… in easy little baby steps.
Take the time to read his book if you can, or visit his web site. You’ll be surprised at some things, nod wisely at others and, in general, be glad you did.
In short, (PUHLEEZ do NOT take this as anything more than my quick note about them), the Layers are as follows:
1: Paint & Architecture
2: Installed Flooring
3: Upholstered Furniture
4: Accent Fabrics
5: Non-upholstered Furniture
7: Plants & Lighting
Looking at my entry mudroom through the framework of the Layers lets me plan how to get to where I want to go.
Layer 1: Paint and Architecture – that’s where my beautiful Turquoise Powder wall color and Stone White trim come in. Once the space is painted in these colors, it already will have the personality I’m looking for. The Architecture feature encompasses the built in shelf and, because it takes up the entire footprint of the closet, the coffee table converted to bench.
Layer 2: Installed Flooring – The flooring in this area is a really pretty laminated wood clone. Easy cleaning and water resistant. No changes needed here!
Layer 3: Upholstered Furniture – The bench cushion falls into this layer. I’m looking to cover the foam in some really rich, lovely deep chocolate brown velvet. Our cat likes laying on this fabric, but doesn’t like to “pick” at it, so it becomes a more durable choice.
Layer 4: Accent Fabrics – It’s a really small space, so this choice might be a bit tricky. I’ve got some fun fabric with pink and turquoise that would really pop in the area, but I’m not sure if that will be too much. Regardless, there will have to be a pillow or 5 in this area. Given that the base room will be finished, the pillows might just be collected over time.
Layer 5: Non-upholstered furniture – This layer doesn’t really apply to this space. Still, I COULD consider a boot tray to be furniture, if I squint just the right way. In that case, the tray I’m thinking of recreating is inspired by this one –
The stones would let the rain and snow melt just drain away, leaving our boots dry. (We’d be very thankful for dry boots the next time we put them on!)
Layer 6: Accessories – Just because it’s a teeny, tiny spot doesn’t mean that it doesn’t need accessories! I’ve made a few pretty hooks to hold his messenger bag and my purse. I’m also going to convert a couple of Dollarama storage containers with some spray paint. They’ll hold hats, scarves, mitts, etc… This layer also includes whichever area rug/runner that will lead from the front door to the bench.
Layer 7: Lighting and Plants – It is a closet…. with no wiring. Fortunately, Canadian Tire has some simple little battery pop-up lights for $4.99! One or two of these will allow for lighting exactly where it’s needed without lighting up the entire downstairs.
As for plants, well…. honestly, I’m a plant killer. But there just might be a faux or two.
See how easy Christopher makes it? Just walk through the Layers step-by-step and you’re on your way to making something beautiful. Let’s face it, folks. If I can apply it to a mudroom, it can work for any room!
Do you know your Layers?