“Layering” is one of those words I use a lot when talking about accessorizing a room. I had a reader ask the other day what the difference was between layering “stuff” and just plain ole clutter. It’s interesting, really. There are some people who just do tons of accessories in one space so well. Their homes feel cozy and full of meaning without coming across as suffocating.
I’m not sure there’s a straightforward answer to what that (thin) line is between layered and cluttered. What makes us calm/happy/nervous/irritated visually is so different for each person. For me, I think the key is to collect things I love and get rid of what I’m just so-so about. I’m not a huge fan of mass-produced accessories that feel more on the trendy side—for the most part.
I also need a little breathing space. When there’s not one clear surface (and that’s the often the case in our house), I find myself feeling nervous and antsy to “do something.” It usually results in me grabbing a garbage bag and trying to fill it up with trash and donations. The other thing I personally need to work on is putting away things I’m not using around our house. I’ll lean a framed picture against a wall for months, thinking I “might” eventually find a place to hang it. In the meantime, it sets there as a reminder of an unfinished project. Why don’t I just walk that thing up to the attic??
Collections are a beautiful way to surround yourself with the things you love, without making your space look like it has a million things going on at one time. (Groupings are good.) Part of that comes with learning what you really love; what feels like you. I (obviously) like to scatter a little blue and white throughout every room. I love chinoiserie-inspired pieces and colorful artwork.
And, if you ask me, you can’t go wrong with a great collection of books. Stack them, lean them, fill visual space under a side table, etc. They’re great for adding a feeling of warmth to your home.
So, now that I’ve confessed all of my clutter triggers (aka “quirks”) to you, I’m curious to hear what the difference is for you between layers and clutter?