6 Layers of Design

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A word from our principal designer

I’d like to introduce you to my layers of design. I named my site ‘My Design Layers’ after the system I have developed while creating my design plans. They are specific layers that build one upon another to create a well-designed room.

These building blocks are how I approach every single design I do. The layers are arranged in an organized fashion to keep me laser-focused on one design task at a time while resting assured that nothing will be forgotten or overlooked.

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Layer 1 - Architecture











This layer addresses all the structural elements of the home, such as doors and windows, walls and ceilings, as well as cabinets, fireplaces, moldings, and more. Changing any of these elements in a home requires a lot of planning and calculating.

This is to ensure that everything that is being proposed solves the issues, fits properly, and functions well. We do all this while building beauty and creativity into your design


Having an accurate floor plan of your space is crucial at this stage, as it allows you to work out any desired changes. Many problems can be anticipated and solved by doing this first.

I always create a digital plan of your existing room(s), this is our baseline. Once we have worked out all of your specific changes, whether it be adding built-ins, cabinetry, or moving walls.

Layer 2 - Surfaces & Materials









This layer consists of compiling a collection of materials that you will need within your space for their specific color and texture. Creating a beautiful palette for your room or an entire home at this stage of the game makes decision making a lot easier as we move through designing the space. What is included in your package will largely depending on your project. 

Elements that are included will be things like installed flooring, paint, stone, tile, wallpaper, countertops, metals, woods, and fabrics.

Basically, it is all of the surfaces of your room that you can see, feel and touch. 

Layer 3 - Planning the Layout







The furniture pieces in your home are a big investment; it is something you don't want to purchase lightly, without careful consideration. It is best to know what you are looking for before you hit the stores, after all, these pieces are going to be with you for a long time to come.

Think of your furniture as a tool you need to do a specific task, like sitting down or sleeping. While these tools usually serve specific purposes, they also need to include precise features to help you function in your day-to-day life. Plus, since they will largely determine the traffic flow within your home; it is well worth the extra effort to plan a furniture layout ahead of time. There is nothing worse than spending $4000 on a sofa only to find out it should have been 6 inches shorter. This way you will know precisely what you need and how it fits and functions within your room before you buy it. 

By having this done, it is much easier to find the perfect pieces of furniture for your home. It is a lot easier to zero in on the right size, style, color, and quantity that you need because we have determined your specific guidelines to work from.

Putting careful thought and planning into this layer is crucial to saving money and preventing mistakes when furnishing your home. That is something we take seriously at MDL.


Layer 4 - Lighting






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Lighting is one of the most important elements of a good design plan.


It is said that "it doesn't matter how great your design is, if you can't see it, it isn't successful." and "if you are lighting everything, you are really lighting nothing."

Before hiring an electrician to hardwire anything, before purchasing a single fixture, there are many things to consider and questions to answer.

We will need to know:

  • What activities will take place in this space?

  • How to determine the amount of light you need based on the volume of space you have.

  • How far apart to space your fixtures.

  • What kind of lighting effects you want to create within your space.

  • Are there different types of situations you need to plan for?

  • Are there safety concerns that can be solved with a lighting solution?

These are just a few of the issues that will need to be addressed to achieve a well-lit home. 

Layer 5 - Window Treatments










Window treatments are only limited by your imagination. Anything you can dream up can be created.  They are, however, quite an investment since they involve purchasing a lot of fabric. There are also a lot of parts, pieces and measurements to be included, so it is crucial that it gets done right the first time.

Don't think of window treatments as simply something that looks pretty though, although they absolutely should, they also serve several important functions:

  • Privacy

  • Light control

  • Temperature control (warm and cold)

  • Noise control

  • Aesthetics

This is a layer that has a few sub-layers. Knowing what they are, and what the options are, can be very helpful in creating a properly dressed window.

Layer 6 - Decor









This is the fun part of any design and the one that people tend to jump to first, even though it is last on your to-do list. This layer will bring out your personality like a shining star. It is actually putting your personal stamp on your home so that it feels like you.

In this layer, we will choose things like rugs, plants, art, and other decor items. Adding your personal history or any collections you may have also help to make the space uniquely yours. We like to experiment with displaying these items in creative and beautiful ways. 

What room can we help you want to LOVE?


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Full Room Design Plan

DIY Plan for you to follow

A conceptual plan for you to use as a "recipe" to pull together a beautiful and cohesive space on your own.