The burden distribution in the ironmaking blast furnace plays an important role for the operation as it affects the gas flow distribution, heat and mass transfer, and chemical reactions in the shaft. This work studies certain aspects of burden distribution by small-scale experiments and numerical simulation by the discrete element method (DEM). Particular attention is focused on the complex layer-formation process and the problems associated with estimating the burden layer distribution by burden profile measurements. The formation of mixed layers is studied, and a computational method for estimating the extent of the mixed layer, as well as its voidage, is proposed and applied on the results of the DEM simulations. In studying a charging program and its resulting burden distribution, the mixed layers of coke and pellets were found to show lower voidage than the individual burden layers. The dynamic evolution of the mixed layer during the charging process is also analyzed. The results of the study can be used to gain deeper insight into the complex charging process of the blast furnace, which is useful in the design of new charging programs and for mathematical models that do not consider the full behavior of the particles in the burden layers.