Christopher Lowell’s 7 Layers of Design

Back in 1999, we were on vacation and watch the ____ show (can’t remember the name of the show, but it because the Christopher Lowell Show), and Christopher went over his general steps for redesigning a room.  We wrote them down then, and recently came across them again, so rather than keep the random piece of paper for another 9 years, I figured I’d blog it.  Obviously, this is already online at, but following is the basics:

  1. Paint and Architecture (moldings, mantel)
  2. Installed Flooring (any floor surface that is wall to wall)
  3. High Ticket Upholstery Items (sofa, love seat)
  4. Accent Fabrics (area rugs and drapes)
  5. Non-upholstered Furnishings (the work horses of the room, end tables, chairs, coffee tables)
  6. Accessories (pictures, mirrors, candlesticks)
  7. Plants and Lighting

2 thoughts on “Christopher Lowell’s 7 Layers of Design

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  1. I don’t know if the 7 layers are suppose to be in order but everyone at the store I work at (and I realize that it is obviously self serving for them) says that you would pick the rug before the rest of the furniture or (non-structural) décor elements. They say it is much easier to pick other decor elements based on the color palette defined by the rug than to find a rug to fit the furniture’s colors. I would be interested to see if decorators (who don’t just sell rugs) would agree.

  2. Christopher Lowell also has a book out by this title. I found it at our local library. I used to love his show, too, but haven’t watche it in ages. He is such a talented decorator. I found it very interesting. I can see picking out the area rugs before the furniture and paint, though.

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