While some people are great at identifying their style, others of us have a tough time limiting ourselves to a single decorating genre. We want the French Country dining table and the orange Art Deco couch. If this sounds familiar to you, then eclectic style might be your perfect match.
As the name suggests, eclectic style is an artistic mix of elements from other styles. It merges bits and pieces of several different styles into one seamless design that is quirky and appealing. Eclectic style is a great way to combine all things you love in a way that is completely new and unique. You may be afraid that mixing different designs will result in a house that looks more like a junk shop than a cozy haven. Don’t worry. We have a guide for how to create contrast without clashing.
Start With a Solid Base
Bold mixtures of patterns, colors, textures, and styles define eclectic style. Getting all of these details to fit together without looking like your great aunt’s basement can be a challenge. The key is to start with a solid base. An eclectic house is filled with pieces that are unique, interesting, and whimsical. Keeping the background simple is crucial to letting these items speak for themselves. Stick with simple, solid colors for walls, floors, and windows that will serve as a backdrop for the artistic furniture and décor.
Choose a Few Anchor Pieces
It’s important to choose one or two pieces to serve as anchors in an eclectic room. These are the pieces that you want to showcase. They will demand the most attention and will establish the criteria for what else makes it into that room. Even though eclectic style is about bringing together disparate components, there should still be some form of organization. Decide what your anchor pieces are and then add in furniture and décor that complement those rather than fighting to steal the focus from them. For example, if you want your yellow wingback chair to be the focal point, you might not want to pair it with a magenta shag rug.
Create Cohesion With Color
One key to keeping a room from looking too mismatched is to choose a few themes to weave the pieces together. Your furniture, lighting, and art may each reflect a different style, but choosing a single color scheme for all three will create visual continuity. Neutrals are always a great choice as a base-color because you can easily build on with accents of a bright color in different tones.
Use Similar Shapes
Another way to tie together furniture and accessories with very different styles and patterns is by repeating similar shapes throughout the room. You may have an industrial style metal coffee table along with two rustic, split-log side tables, but if all three tables have a rectangular shape, you will still achieve some continuity. Repeating colors and shapes helps the eye create a sense of order out of apparent randomness.
Eclectic style is all about unexpected combinations – light with dark, polished with dull, soft with hard, structured with shabby, plastic with stone, sturdy with delicate. With so many contrasts in play, it’s important to seek balance between these extremes. Maintain a roughly equal proportion of each type of aesthetic for an appealing, symmetrical look.
Fabrics of different patterns and textures are key to an eclectic look. Stick with your a neutral base and bring in upholstery, curtains, throw pillows, and rugs that match your overall color scheme while introducing a variety of prints. Of course, not every piece needs to have a pattern. Use textured solids with extra details like tassels, buttons, and trim to add dimension.
Is Eclectic Style Right for You?
Do you have trouble making up your mind?
Do you see possibility everywhere you look?
As a child, were your coloring books full of people with blue skin and rainbow hair?
Are you great at putting together unique clothing combinations?
Is the thrift store your treasure chest?
Are you artistic and creative, constantly rearranging your furniture and trying out new combinations?
When asked to define your style, do you often say, “I don’t have one” ?
Are you allergic to following the rules?
Do you enjoy discovering things through trial and error?
Do you prize your individuality and want your home to be one-of-a-kind?
If these questions describe you, then eclectic might be your perfect style.
The great appeal of eclectic style is the opportunity to surround yourself with objects you have hand-selected as things you love. While there are guidelines for how to put these items together, there are no hard and fast rules. More than any other style, eclectic décor encourages the individuality of the designer to shine through. If you’re a fan of eclectic style, tell us how you bring together unique elements in your home to reflect who you are and what you love?
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