How to create a fashionable layered look

Interior designer David Muirhead shares his ideas on how to create a fashionable layered look

Living room

For this easy-going living room, David based the palette on the gentle aqua tones of the sofa. “I like to use simple, luxurious plains for items like sofas. This adds longevity and allows you to layer them with patterned scatters such as florals or geometrics.” By adding the lampshade, painted side table and ceramic accessories, David created layers of the same tone, contrasting the aqua shades with the rose-coloured armchairs.


Living room“Balancing your proportions can make all the difference when layering a space,” explains David. “In this family room, for instance, the metal drum table would have been too small if used on its own. But when paired with a higher table in a different style and material, it becomes far more interesting as well as being practical.” David echoed the circular shapes of the tables by adding a circle motif woollen carpet from Paco.


Living roomDavid layered a raw oak custom-designed dining table with a row of sleek, glossy ceramics. “The colours of the glazes pick up on the painted timber wall unit, as well as the pale grey in the wallpaper,” he explains. “Mixing textures is a simple and effective way to add depth and richness to a room.”


Living room“Working with accessories or furniture of different heights is a good way to create a layered look,” says David. “For reading areas, look for a task light that can be angled to suit you, then double up with a table lamp and decorative shade that complements the rest of your room.”


Living roomIn this sophisticated living room, David upped the glamour stakes by cladding the chimney breast and coffee tables with mirror. “Not only does this add a sleek, reflective quality, but it creates a wonderful contrast when layered with softer tactile materials, such as the velvet armchairs and the grass cloth wallcovering.” David hung a painting above the fireplace to add depth to the wall. “It becomes an almost sculptural element as it appears to be suspended on the surface.” Silver framed artworks and a steel standing lamp add to the effect.


Living roomCreating a sense of comfort and luxury is one of David’s hallmarks. He recommends layering loose rugs on top of carpets to add texture and depth. “We used a silver-toned rug from Paco’s Art Silk Plain Bamboo collection to offset the steel side table, metallic vinyl ottoman and contemporary artwork. The black velvet upholstery and deep chocolate walls help to ground the space and complement the reflective surfaces.”


Living room“There’s nothing like a collection of books to add a sense of personality and lived-in appeal to a space,” says David. “While they’re there to be enjoyed, books can also add a strong design element so group them together according to size or colour.” Wicker baskets help to keep them in order and here, together with the woven-topped table, add another layer of texture to the setting.