Layering. Basically, it’s a technique used in so many ways. When I’m doing things like yoga, hiking, snowshoeing, cycling, camping I ‘layer’ my clothing. The reason being is that conditions change during the activity, everything from body heat to Mother Nature’s whims.Layering is kind of like love. It grows and takes on subtle nuances and differences with each new layering step.
I love to layer jewelry. Why do just one necklace when you can layer three, four or five together and get a whole new look. Same with bracelets~let me just layer and stack several on my arm. Then there’s other fashion layers~tank tops, tee shirts, scarves, vests, jackets, sweaters, leggins.
Cooking is all about layering. Layers of ingredients like in lasagna, a salsa/bean/cheese dip, salads. Layers of flavor as in stages and techniques in preparation. And, then layers as in cake layers with icing, fruits, cream cheese and other yummy surprises between these layers.
Even Mother Nature layers. Think about fung shui or the coming together and harmonizing of the environment. Whether it’s during the Fall when leaves shed onto the ground. When the new fallen snow covers the ground and what’s there in layers. And simply with the passage of time, aging, shedding and cycles of growth. Layering is definitely an art form. And, there’s no better place to layer than in your home and with your dining table wherever and whatever that might be. So what should yo keep in mind when layering if you’re not sure of what to do? Seeing how I’m the goddess of layering, here’s some simple easy ideas!
Mix it Up
I’m talking things that you wouldn’t usually put together, put them together. When I layer my necklaces, I might put a few strands of faux pearls with some punk rocker looking chains. Yep, an oxymoron in style, but, dang, they rock together. The same with your table design. Mix up patterns, colors, shapes, sizes of things, textures and more. Ditch the ‘centerpiece’ and have each person with his/her own special ‘centerpiece’. It can be jelly jars (and other small condiment or spice jars) with sprigs of rosemary, a small tree branch with leaves, a few flowers, small stems of fresh chard or kale~hey, mix it up and let everyone’s be different. Use pillows in chairs. Use mixed up chairs!
Lean towards the Unlikely
By this I mean, don’t think something is just used for what you think it’s used for. For instance, I love to take my nicer dish towels and layer them on the corners of my table, use them layered, yes, overlapped several of them, in the center of the table then put the serving pieces on them. Same with scarves. Sure scarves are for your head, around your neck, tied, maybe threaded through your jeans belt loops and made into a ‘belt’. But they also can be used as layers on your table. Sheer and light scarves can give some exotic atmosphere thrown over a lamp shade (careful with the light’s heat and the intensity of the bulb–when in doubt, don’t). Cooking twine can be tied around napkins. Brown paper bags can be torn into pieces and used as name place tags.
Let it Happen
I usually don’t put a lot of thought into how something is going to come together. I might start with something basic like a floor length table cover, yes, sometimes a white sheet. Then I’ll pull out other fabric pieces, colors, patterns, tassels, that I love and just start shaking out and throwing on. Yes, I might adjust a little, but it’s basically allowing the flow and ease of the fabric to rest where it rests. Think of it as an organic fung shui thing–this is where Mother Nature takes over in your styling. Not overworking it is important. It’s like looking at some people and their clothing ‘style’ and it doesn’t look like they’ve worked at all to make it come together~it just happened. I call it the ‘ralphie’ as in the Ralph Lauren feel/look.
Don’t just create ‘flat’ layers. Look at your table as a canvas that can have three-dimensional layers. These are the things that you might stack to elevate~use river rocks! It might be a metal that contrasts a fabric. It might be a plaid with dots or stripes. Don’t forget things like velvet, sculptured velvet, tapestries, upholstery fabrics, tassels, things from nature like branches, rocks, twigs. I love using my costume jewelry on the table. Rhinestone stretch bracelets, sometimes you can get them at thrift stores, dollar stores, consignment places, make great napkin rings. Shake out your napkins, pinch in the very center and create more fluff and 3-D effect versus just folding flat. Usually these 3-D leanings are subtle additions but they add huge power and punch to your table.
ally’s final thoughts for you~
Table settings can become works of art if you just let your inner child come out and play. There’re no hard and fast rules with layering. Don’t put that harness around your neck, luv! What I’m doing is just giving you some ideas. You have permission to make your table whatever you want it to be. For me, it’s a lot of fun because when my guests sit down there’s a wave of happiness that I see come over their faces, a twinkle in their eye as they gaze at what awaits them. This is going to be a bohemian bold dining experience!