• Robin Kee

Layers, Layers, Layers: Styling a Dresser

With most of us home more than ever over the past year, I'm sure you, like me, have an itch to update your spaces. I mean, we've been staring at the same walls, art, furniture, for so long that it's likely time for a little spruce. Updating a console table or dresser with a combination of items you already own, some easy DIY elements, and thrift store finds is a great way to create a change on a budget. If you've got some money to spend, I recommend putting it towards some gorgeous art. (Don't worry, we'll get to that later.)

To style this dresser, I grabbed a collection of hardback books (one of the best home decor accessories), some glass vases & an old lamp that I updated with a simple paint project, a DIY chain, a faux plant, a decorative item I had in another part of the house, and finally some great art from two of my favorite Nashville artists.

My first step was to hang the artwork above the dresser. Typically artwork not hanging above furniture should be around 57"-60" above the floor to the center of the artwork, but when you're pairing it with furniture you want to be sure it all feels connected. Have you ever seen a piece of art that seems to be floating too high above the table? It's not a great look. My determining factor for the height of these two paintings by Deeann Rieves was that I knew I wanted to layer the "Shape" ink drawing by Levi Watson over the bottom edges. Too high and there would be an awkward space left between the frames. Too low and the layered art would block too much of the paintings.

*The black frames are 16x20 frames matted to 11x14. The gold frame is 14x18 matted to 8x10. These are some of my go-to frames for client projects.

Lovely Tip: Had I not layered the artwork, I would have hung the DeeAnn Rieves prints lower and would likely have added two additional framed prints above to create a grid and to better fill the space.

Next, I added the large anchor pieces to the dresser: the lamp and the gold frame print. Simply a preference based on ease of using the lamp, I placed it on the right side of the dresser. (Think about what's best for your space - if it's near your bed, do you want to be able to click it on while still in bed? If it's by your door, do you want to be able to reach it as soon as you step in? Those things can help you make styling choices that line up with your functionality needs.) I then layered the gold framed print over the paintings with it overlapping the left painting more than the right. This was for two reasons: 1) so that the image wasn't blocked by the lamp and 2) so that the right side of my vignette didn't feel too heavy compared to the left side.

Visual balance is a top priority when styling a surface. Once I decided to place the lamp on the right side of the dresser, I knew I would need a grouping of items on the other side to balance it out. For this particular set up, I knew I wanted to use my painted glass vases so I grouped those together on the left side of the dresser. Since the lamp is tall, I decided to use a hardback book to add a little extra boost of height to my other decorative items.

To add more interest and contrast, I layered the gold decorative knot in front of the white and glass vases which would otherwise be a monochromatic vignette. (Monochrome displays can be lovely, but it wasn't what I was going for here.) To add some color to the right side of the dresser, I tucked in a small faux plant next to the lamp.

Time to add in something personal. Adding in family photos is a wonderful way to let your home to reflect yourself and those you love. For this set-up I didn't want to add much visual weight to the mix, but I did want to represent those little people I love oh so much. This little acrylic frame with a few polaroids was the perfect addition as it layers easily over other items.

I wanted one final layer so I grabbed my DIY dupe for this decorative chain and laid it next to the faux potted plant for a final touch of texture. This last addition worked well since it's somewhat organic in shape and once again repeats the white finish found throughout this display. And with that, I decided it was finished.

Lovely Tip: If you love it, it's done. Don't over think it. Don't try to be someone you're not. If you love it, you're finished.

Creating interest in your spaces can happen in a variety of ways. In this particular styling, I used layers to add depth and draw your eye in. I used texture (found in the lamp, chain, faux plant, artwork, and even the linen book cover) to add a sense of warmth and to encourage your eye to linger just a bit longer. And finally, I used repetition to create a cohesive design: The small stitched details in the paintings are echoed in the stitching on the lamp shade. The gold finish is repeated on the knot, the large gold frame and again in the small screws of the acrylic frame. The black is repeated in the artwork, lampshade and frames. The white is repeated...well, all over. You get the idea.

One of the best ways to add interest in any space is through thoughtfully selected artwork. Jump over to my Meet the Makers post to learn more about the work featured here and to receive a discount on your next purchase from either artist.



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