So your style is . . . eclectic

THIS playful, personal home design style shakes up conventions and bridges the gap between other looks. Here is how to master the mix.

Eclectic style is the great equaliser. It reshuffles the rule book, mixing and matching old and new, East and West, luxe and humble, showy and quiet. It invites you to fill a space with objects you love and unique finds that strike your fancy. Simply put, it is you, curated.

What it is not, however, is a free-for-all. If you toss a little of this, a little of that and a dash of the other into a room at random, it will look like exactly what it is – a mess.

The liberty and leeway that make eclectic style so appealing can also make it tricky — you will need to be careful not to trip over the thin line between contrast and chaos.
0311-2-1-eclectic-2When it is done well, eclectic decor broadcasts your confidence in your own style, yet still adheres to the fundamentals of good design.  You do not have to choose between profiles or periods, there is room for a range of favorites. Plus, is it not fun to feel like you are getting away with something?

Methodical mismatching
Eclecticism wears its lack of pedigree proudly and draws its energy from contrast. The trick is to find enough common ground to make a space gel. The dining area shown here weaves together a narrow palette and subtle shine, from the table to the frames to the chandelier.

No two chairs match, but all of them have strong silhouettes and roughly the same proportions.

Repetition
Visual echoes, from colour to shape to finish, help an eclectic room find its rhythm. Look closely – this living area is essentially a series of rectangles, from the windows and the framed artwork to the coffee tables and vintage café sign. And the accent pieces reiterate the brilliant yellow of the room’s focal-point chest.

Scale, proportion & composition
These tenets are essential to any well-designed space, but they are especially important in a room with so many disparate parts. In less skillful hands, this living area could have looked like a garage sale gone mad, but peek closer and you will see how well balanced it is.

Dramatic draperies hold their own against the sultry sofa, and the coffee and breakfast tables add just enough presence without fighting for the spotlight. Despite the tumble of artwork and accessories, there is nothing accidental about this space.

Layered textures
Texture gives an eclectic space its depth. Nearly every surface in this living room brings something different to the party – the nubbly Oriental rug over coarse sisal, the rich wood of the floors and trim, the thick, lush upholstery fabrics and sleek desk.

A rich collection of textural elements makes a space appeal to our senses and resonate on a visceral level.

A clean background
Working the eclectic look is like seating guests at a dinner party. Put the chatterboxes next to the shy types and everyone’s happy. This style begs for a blend of strong, singular pieces, so keep the backdrop — walls, floors, windows — simple in order to avoid competition.

Cohesive colour and pattern
In an eclectic room, you almost have carte blanche with the colour wheel — almost.  Pair bright citrus hues with shy pastels, mix and match every shade of green, restrict the palette to basic black and white.

Likewise, you can combine sassy stripes with a mod floral and overscale chevrons. Conventional wisdom wags its finger at you? Bah, we say.
Unexpected accents In what other decorating style could you make a weathered sideboard, an Oriental rug and a wall of vintage ads get along? The fun of eclectic style lies in the element of surprise. This is the time to get personal.

Showcase mementos from your trip to India last year, bring out the faded concert posters of your favourite band, stack books inside your Radio Flyer wagon from childhood.

The odd one out
Eclectic decorating invites cross-pollination between wildly different design periods. So what do you do if you have a piece that you are wild about, but it does not seem to gel with its counterparts? Give it pride of place.

Do not try to blend it into the background. Think of it as the room’s black sheep. You love it for what it is rather than trying to make it something it is not. – houzz.com.

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