I am a huge, huge fan of eclectic styling in interiors. I love to fuse different styles together in my own home and I enjoy the challenge of making a variety of different looks work harmoniously in one space, creating a more unique and quirky style that gives the room more depth and visual interest. Although I can fully appreciate a more cohesive approach to interior design and enjoy creating schemes for my clients that promote a higher level of continuity, with spaces that flow effortlessly and that follow a clear and direct style approach, I personally enjoy using my creativity to mix styles and create looks that think outside the box.
Now as much as I love this approach to design, it isn’t easy to get right. As soon as you embrace this more experimental method of styling, you are in danger of getting yourself in a muddle with what does and doesn’t work. Ultimately regardless of which styles you choose to combine, a careful balance needs to be executed so that the space looks considered as oppose to disordered!
This room appears to be having a personality crisis! Other than the fact that there are way too many decorative items on display, there is a serious mixture of different styles going on here and the result is a room that has very low visual appeal and quite frankly makes me feel a bit nauseous!
So how do you get it right? What methods can be used to achieve a successful eclectically styled room, which oozes aesthetic appeal and engages everyone who enters it without being too overpowering?
Here are my top tips on how to implement this style in your own home….
Firstly what is eclectic style in relation to interior design?
Well put simply it involves a fusion of contrasting styles to create a look which encompasses more depth and rewards you with a bit more edginess, to name a few – Antique & Contemporary, Industrial & Luxe, Modern & Rustic, Scandi & Mid-Century Modern, Botanical & Glam, Art Deco & Minimalist the list could go on forever….
In essence it’s about finding styles that appeal to you and exploring ways of combining them together successfully to create a design that is filled with textures, colours, patterns and furniture that you love.
BUT this doesn’t mean that you just chuck together every style of furniture, fabric, paint colour, lighting and wallpaper that takes your fancy, into one room….you need to be selective to get it right and combine things that are different yes but that work in harmony with one another and this is the tricky bit!
RULE ONE: METHODICAL MIXTURES
A key factor to eclectic styling is contrast, this is the backbone of the aesthetic and what draws the eye around a space. However the room needs to have some common ground, however subtle this is, otherwise you are in danger of creating an eye-sore. A popular example of this is having a collection of mismatched dining chairs. This can look so great when executed well and it really does add depth and quirkiness to a space with very little effort. Here are some examples of how to get this design method spot on…
same colour + different design
same design + different colour
same style + different design
old + new
RULE TWO: CONSISTENT COLOUR
Choosing at least one unifying colour will help to bring a scheme together regardless of the contrasting styles. This could be a strong colour such as magenta or a neutral such as dove grey, choose a colour that appeals to you and use that to anchor the look and to promote some structure with consistency.
A Contemporary & Traditional fusion which uses denim blue and white as the unifying colours
This Industrial & Luxe style room uses cobalt blue to bring the scheme together
This Rustic & Retro Scandi room invites the use of grey and mustard yellow to equalize the look
RULE THREE: STEADY REPITITION
You don’t need to rely solely on colour to keep the look from losing its identity, using visual echoes in shape, pattern, texture and finish can also help to promote balance and structure.
Pattern repetition in the wallpaper and the bolster cushion reinforces a feeling of continuity in this eclectically decorated room
This bedroom showcases a series of squares in the flooring, the wall décor and the cushions which prevents the space from feeling too disjointed despite the mixture of styles
RULE FOUR: AN UNFUSSY BACKDROP
This rule is simple, quite literally. Keep the backdrop for all of your eclectic treasures simple and plain. This doesn’t mean you have to stick to white walls, just be mindful of keeping the wall treatments not too busy, avoid heavily patterned wallpaper and instead opt for a plainer design or plain painted walls. Perhaps create a feature wall with one of your chosen accent colours if you prefer to be a bit more daring or you could even add some panelling to create a bit more of a dynamic but remember in an eclectic space, when it comes to the wall treatment – less is more. You can always fill the plain walls with some beautiful pieces of art or prints, get a statement floor lamp or a decorative wall mirror, all of which are easy to change as the room evolves over time.
A solid, plain backdrop gives this boho chic bedroom the freedom to showcase all of its beautiful patterns and textures without the room feeling too busy
More plain walls creating a lovely backdrop for this mid-century modern luxe living room
RULE FIVE: DON’T OVERPOPULATE INSTEAD ROTATE
The final rule is, don’t get too carried away! I love going to flea markets and homeware shops that are full of trinkets and treasures and I often have to try hard not to buy literally everything that catches my eye. By all means buy new pieces for the room but don’t overfill it with too many pieces. I use this rule in my own house and once I am bored with a piece of wall décor, an ornament, a cushion or even a lamp I rotate it with a new piece. Then when I fancy a change or want to give the room a bit of a facelift I may rotate the same piece with something else. You don’t have to buy something new every time, store things away for a while once you have replaced them, you may find another place in the house that they will fit instead or you may want to reintroduce it when you redecorate. The main thing to remember is don’t try and cram too much in, leave a bit of negative space between things and choose wisely and thoughtfully.
Getting it wrong: This room feels a bit too cluttered thanks to the excessive amount of wall art, not enough care has been taken here to be selective about the pieces
Getting it right: This room has got a perfect balance and feels much more ordered. The cluster of wall art has plenty of negative space either side, allowing the eye to be drawn to a single focal point and giving the wall space more clarity
Are you feeling brave enough now to try and mix some styles? I hope this has given you a little more confidence to be your own curator and enhance some of the spaces in your home, with a touch of eclecticism…