How to Create a Layered, Collected Look at Home

I'm Kelly from Bungalow Blue Interiors and am so excited to be guest blogging here today, talking about one of my favorite topics: How to create a layered, collected look at home. 

It's one of the most-asked questions I get, and for a good reason - our home is our sanctuary, and it has never been more important than right now to make it feel warm, welcoming, and cozy. 

When it comes to knowing how to create this warm mood, many of us don't know where to begin. For me, layering is all about creating a cozy feel through fabrics, textures, art, and beautiful lighting. It's definitely not something that happens overnight, but there are a few tricks I like to use to get clients well on their way! Here are five steps I use all the time, and that will help get you started, too:

Via Gil P. Shafer (

Buy the largest rug your budget will allow:

I always like to start from the bottom and work my way up. I start with a large textured rug like sisal or bound seagrass because both are relatively inexpensive, very durable, and add so much warmth and texture. They also look great with a patterned rug layered on top and help create a cohesiveness that will bring all the other details and elements together later. 

Next up, window treatments:

If you can only afford to do two things at first, let them be a rug and window treatments! For me, no space is complete without either. It's like leaving the house for a night out without any jewelry. They soften the whole space and bring a touch of airiness that every room needs. 

There are two factors to getting them right, though, and those are:

  1. Ensure that they are long enough (they should touch the floor) and 

  2. Hanging the rods at least six inches above the window casing. 

Custom treatments go a long way in creating a dramatic impact, but they can get expensive. I have often used a budget-friendly alternative to buy packs of Merete grommet top curtains from Ikea and take them to a seamstress to remove the grommets and sew rings onto them. You can't beat the price for a custom look!

Via McGrath II Interiors (

Shop estate sales, antique stores, thrift stores, and yard sales for unique pieces:

This takes time and lots of patience and perseverance, but it is so worth it. Antique accent furniture, art, one-of-a-kind decorative elements, and lighting bring so much more character to a space than mass-produced pieces from big box stores; the quality is so much better, and, most times, they are much more affordable, too! I've also had luck on CraigsList, Facebook Marketplace, Etsy, and E-bay, but the trick is to be very specific with your search terms to find what you're looking for. 

Don't forget the lighting:

Table and floor lamps, wall sconces, even chandeliers and pendant lights create ambiance and a cozy atmosphere and are so much more flattering than overhead lighting. Installing a dimmer switch is an easy and super inexpensive fix for can lighting, and is one of the first things I do when a client is trying to soften their space. 


Oversize baskets, Roman bamboo blinds, throw pillows and blankets, chunks of coral, and raffia lampshades, to name a few, go a long way in adding interest and warmth and start to define the feeling like your space has been collected over time. The texture is so important, especially in all-white or lighter areas; without it, the room feels one-dimensional and well, empty! 

Via Gil P. Shafer (

Books, books, and more books:

Display them on bookshelves, end tables, on a tray, or an ottoman. Even in stacks on the floor next to your sofa or armchair! Your coffee table books tell a lot about you and add a personal touch to your space, but they also add yet another layer of interest and a pop of color!

Once you've conquered these five steps, then it's time for the fun part: adding in art and decorative accessories like framed photos and decorative objects. You really can't go wrong if you ultimately end up creating a space you truly love and can't wait to come home to at the end of the day (or work from home in all day long!)

Happy layering!

My Favorite Items at The Mayfair Hall...


 Our Contributor: Kelly Christakos Stivers

Kelly is an interior designer, stylist and blogger over at Bungalow Blue Interiors, where she writes about making every day beautiful and inspiring. For more visit Bungalow Blue Interiors and follow Kelly @bungalowblue.