Layering can add colorful dimension to an outfit or a room

Layering can add colorful dimension to an outfit or a room

By Carleton Varney- Special to the Palm Beach Daily News

The importance of layering is my decorating advice of the day.

It’s a concept that most of us understand when we get dressed for a night on the town.

First you put on your undergarments, then your blouse or shirt, followed by your skirt or pants, your scarf or tie — and then your wrap or jacket. You keep layering your body with color, patterns and textures. You layer your look the way you wish.

Color, I think, is a key to successful layering. When a person puts on a shirt, it might be yellow and the scarf around the neck, blue. I can certainly envision adding a vest in a subtle pattern of yellow, blue and green, building layer upon layer of color.

I often notice what women are wearing on their wrists. The fashion today isn’t to just wear one large cuff bracelet but instead to create layers of smaller ones. A fashionable woman might start with a simple gold chain, then add a bracelet with a bamboo design and then, perhaps, a loop of braided leather.

I see the same trend in women’s necklaces today. How often I see necks draped with multiple gold chains — and there are so many different designs, from interlocking links to boxes to softly curved pieces.

This same idea holds true in home decorating, where layering is much in vogue. Take your living room sofa, for example. You might begin layering it with lovely patterned pillows, followed by pillows in a combination of colors. The layering continues when you add a soft afghan for more color — and texture, if it has a nubby weave or, perhaps, some fringe.

Layering in the room might also include the skirted table beside your sofa, which you might top with a fabric overlay in a contrasting color.

Or consider the choice of linens for your bed. First you have your fitted sheet and then your top sheet — and today, they don’t have to match. Perhaps the fitted sheet could be a stripe and the top sheet a floral pattern, the top folded over a solid-color bedspread or comforter.

The stage is then set for a layer of pillows. I believe that a bed should have two or three pillows, at least, so you can layer the color. Pick up the print that you used in the top sheet for the rear pillow. Then the stripe from the fitted sheet can be used on the second pillow. For your top pillow, I suggest choosing a soft color from the floral print of the top sheet.

Layering is really just another way to add visual interest to a room or an outfit.

Happy layering!


  • Penny Murphy on

    Thank you Carleton, Well stated!

    At Pioneer Linens, We work with our clients to help them build their beds by layering accents of textures and colors! It’s so much fun when you get to be creative!

    Miss you,


  • Lynn Taylor on

    Yes, color/pattern layering is the key to not being boring! Thank you for always reminding us how to add color and joy to our lives! 🌴😜

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