I think one of the things I’m missing most about my old cottage was the ‘layered’ look I’d managed to create over the four and a bit years I lived there. As a bit of a treasure trover it took me a lot of time to curate the pieces I loved; unexpected combinations, sweet vignettes and pops of colour. Most of these items are still in boxes waiting to be unpacked and I can’t wait to get them all out on display again when all the painting is completed.

Two lovely ladies who know a thing about layering are Hannah and Faith, Founders of Layer, the curated online marketplace for vintage and preowned design furniture, and a popular lifestyle blog. As well as producing styling inspiration and home tours with designers, bloggers and traders, Layer connect buyers and sellers of preloved furniture, lighting, mirrors, art and home accessories. We’ve asked Hannah and Faith to share their top tips on layering and give us a peek at the stunning home they share in South London which proves these two know exactly what they’re talking about!

“Layering is one of the most important components in the decorating puzzle’. We couldn’t agree more with this sentiment from designer, author, blogger and one of our ultimate design crushes, Abigail Ahern. Here at Layer HQ ‘layering’ has always meant embracing the perfect imperfections. In our opinion, it is the unexpected contrasts sitting happily together which creates a home.

We’ve pulled together some of the lessons we learnt when renovating and decorating our first home. Here’s how to layer it up and have fun in the process:

#1 Imperfect Pairings

We love juxtaposition! In fact, we became so obsessed with the merging of the old with the new that we were inspired to start Layer and champion preloved pieces. Why? Because we’ve always felt that too much shiny and new is not always the best option when you are striving for a comfortable and restful nest. Instead, carefully chosen preloved, vintage furniture pieces are the secret to a space with heart and soul.
If you are unsure of how to go about incorporating vintage into your home, start with subtle changes and look at accessories. It’s an easy and affordable way to change the whole atmosphere – for example, add some beautiful mid century vases, a French antique distressed mirror or a pair of vintage Art Deco lamps in any scheme.

#2 Layers Are Colourful

Take a blank canvas and add a burst of colour – a zingy chair, a bright lamp, a colourful painting. There is so much to be said for the marriage of clean, neutral tones with a pop of colour that transforms a space and brings it to life.

England can be dull and grey, so sourcing colourful pieces you love is a great way to incorporate light and the ‘playful’ side of your personality into your living space. We recently published a home tour with interior designer Shaun Clarkson who echoed this thought “I always think that people are scared of colour but be bold! Experiment with colour and don’t be afraid of a pot of paint.”

One of our favourite pieces in our own home is a mid century chair upholstered in the most eye-catching zingy fabric and it really brightens up the space. For us, we adore our local flea market when we can get up early enough and Anthropologie is great for divine inspiration. West Elm is a perfect example of affordable new design.

#3 Find Your Inspiration

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with the wealth of information available to us, but inspiration can come in the simplest form. It might simply be the colour of a flower, or the pattern on a cushion that speaks to you on a personal level which can help you to start your very own mood board.

#4 Trust Your Instincts

The most important lesson we learnt very early on was to trust our instincts. Ultimately you are the person living in your home so the layers you create are entirely personal (and should be fun!). Our homes should be layered with love, so only buy the pieces that you adore and it doesn’t necessarily have to be ‘current’ or in keeping with a trend. As fashion designer Pearl Lowe said to us during a recent interview “Only buy pieces that you can’t live without – live empty until you find the right thing.”