Lately I've noticed a growing trend of more and more clients defining their style as 'eclectic'. This is a design style that seems to have slightly different meanings to different people. Some clients use it to mean that they really like everything while others have a more specific style combination in mind (like the mod farmhouse kitchen in the 4th image below).
Eclectic design is really the great equalizer. Rather than throwing out the design rules that so many other styles follow, eclectic design is more like a re-shuffling of the rule book. Eclectic rooms mix and match the old with the new, Eastern design with Western, graphic patterns with neutrals. Eclectic can be defined as:
/əˈklektik/: deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources.
I love designing eclectic rooms for my clients. The style invites you to fill a space with objects you love and unique finds that bring up great memories. Simply put, it's you, curated. What it's not is a free-for-all. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when designing an eclectic space:
1. Use a consistent color palette. While you may have a few loud, brightly colored pieces in the space it's best to stick with a few neutrals to help tie all the elements together. The two rooms below use a tan, natural wood base to help tie together the variety of patterns and artwork. I particularly love the way the image on the left contrasts a traditional table and portraiture with bold contemporary artwork and lighting.
2. Layer textures and materials. Texture creates depth in an eclectic space. A rich collection of textural elements makes a space appeal to our senses and resonate on a visceral level. In the images below, nearly every surface in the spaces bring something different to the party. In the image on the left a painted concrete floor is topped with a fur rug, a leather couch set and knit MCM chair. The elements are all offset by a neutral white wall, making the stand-out pieces really pop.
The image on the right is a bit more subtle. Mixing hardwood floors with a high-pile rug, leather furniture, metal chairs and flat images of primary color fruit.
3. Anchor your room with a statement piece. Have one piece that you absolutely adore? Make it stand out by giving it pride of place. Don't let it fade into the background! The image on the left highlights a luxurious blue Chesterfield sofa by pairing it against the hard surface of the mirrored table and stark white chandelier. The image on the right makes the red sculptural case pop by putting it against a grey background.
4. Create repetition. Visual echoes, from color to shape to finish, help an eclectic room find its rhythm. Look closely: This dining area is essentially a series of rectangles, from the windows and the framed artwork to the table and rug. And while the color palette may seem bright and randomized, the blues, pinks and tans are consistent throughout the room, visually connecting the room as your eye moves from one end to the other.
Eclectic design is for you if matching furniture sets make you feel a bit itchy. If your iTunes mix skips from Bach to Bjork to Beyonce. If you are a collector of Japanese pottery or Folk Art but don't necessarily want to build your entire home around the pieces.
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