The Finer Points of Style: Eclectic

What exactly does eclectic style actually mean? For starters, it’s not about showing and arranging a random mixture of stuff all around your house. There are a number of simple rules to follow, lest your home wind up looking much like a junk shop compared to comforting sanctuary you had in mind. Regardless of what you might think, there are rules to diverse decorating — and most of the designers I have spoken with say it’s actually one of the hardest styles to successfully master.

Fougeron Architecture FAIA

Eclectic. Eclecticism. Sure, you’ve heard these words in everyday phrases, describing everything from someone’s individual fashion sense to a restaurant’s cuisine. But what do they mean in an interior layout circumstance?

Rebekah Zaveloff | KitchenLab

Yes, decorating could be catchy. Particularly when you’re attempting to wed different eras and styles — and that’s actually the crux of eclecticism. Aim for a carefully edited mix of furniture and decorative accessories, and you’ll surely strike the proper balance. Always remember: There’s a fine line between “living area” and “crap store.”

Design Manifest

Start with taking risks you are unaccustomed to taking. Coupling dissimilar colors, furniture and other bits that look “out there” initially just could be the ticket to making a standout vignette.

Here, a set of Queen Anne–style arm chairs sit across from midcentury modern amounts upholstered in a vibrant faux-zebra stripe. The cheery Nina Campbell Paradiso wallpapered accent wall is also a wonderful surprise.

Georgetown Development

The element of surprise is a key aspect of eclecticism — and it’s often the very thing which makes an eclectic room appear cohesive. Color is a superb tool you can use to that end. The cobalt La Cornue range against the robin’s egg blue wall in this kitchen is a surprising, yet lovely, comparison — as would be the red cushions, mahogany stained chairs and washed-out pink cabinets. None of it matches precisely, but it works to make a magical modern-rustic vibe.

Low, dark ceilings give the room a sense of closeness, and each decorative element attracts the following. The stainless fridge picks on the range’s stainless accents, and also the hand-carved bolt seats mirror the deep brown ceiling and metallic garage door monitors. The two-tier trestle table has been equipped with casters and overlooks the first turn-of-the-century cupboard doors.

Neuhaus Design Architecture, P.C.

This bathing room is completely eclectic. First, it’s completely surprising, as the gorgeous (clearly first) Victorian-era fireplace is much more appropriate to your living room or dining room than a bathroom. Secondly, the gorgeous Wetstyle freestanding tub is so obviously contemporary. The muted olive-tone wallpaper, though vintage inspired, is not first (though it could just as well be), and the furniture is midcentury modern, with a lovely Norman Cherner molded plywood armchair off to the side. And it’s all overseen with a sparkly, contemporary chrome and chrome chandelier.

Although there are not many elements within the room, each is tonally unified. And their natural curves are yet another connective factor — down to the horns on the serving tray. Quite easy, yet brilliantly executed.

Erika Bierman Photography

Contain fun, quirkier decorative elements as your colour and furniture pairings begin hitting the mark. This vintage Turner flamingo print is a far more interesting alternative to a staid mirror or generic piece of art. There’s typically a fantastic story behind bits like this too. If you are having trouble melding eras, a coat of paint does wonders — white or otherwise.

Jerry Jacobs Design, Inc..

Keep a watch out for lines and scale also. You’ll understand when things look off. Here, taller seating options just wouldn’t work — however they might in a less traditional room lacking seat rails. Yellows and golds are the neutrals here, and accents are kept to a bare minimum. The result? A welcoming, comfortable living room.

Surprise elements are twofold: The scenic, mustardy Susan Spies subjective and the mirrored coffee table are equally lovely anchors. The round lines of the Michael Taylor club seat set nicely with the timeless, silk velvet Century Furniture roll-arm sectional — also nicely contrast with the angular moldings. Sharp marble, obsidian obelisks and jutting black sconces tie it all together while contrasting colorwise.

Winder Gibson Architects

The dichotomy of this 1800s Renaissance revival cottage–style bedroom place and another modern bits is eclecticism at its very best. The abstract art, the chrome chandelier and coffee table, and also the knotted wrought iron arm seat (reminiscent of Marcel Wanders’ 2006 “fishnet” plastic/epoxy rendition) comparison beautifully.

Neuhaus Design Architecture, P.C.

Height and scale also play a major part in diverse style. The designer lets the floor-to-ceiling windows, empire chandelier, piano and opulent molding take centre stage here while furniture plays second fiddle. Hulking bits not only would ruin the lush view, but they’d make the room look too serious. Instead, low-slung modern sofas and a brief glass-top table almost fall away — and let the room communicate elegance without being overly precious.

Catalina Estrada

This wallpaper is wonderful. Lt’s made by the Colombian graphic artist Catalina Estrada. As you can see, you don’t need much else in a room with this on the walls. Here, a simple 1950s-style linoleum checkerboard floor, what looks to be a formica-topped side table in the exact same era and a vintage step stool finish the hacienda-inspired vibe inside this vignette.

CONTENT Architecture

The great thing about raw lofts is they provide such interesting palettes. Whether you decide to go totally modernist or industrial, you can’t fail. I adore this chamber since the designer incorporated a well-worn Chesterfield sofa that looks as if it’s been around for ages with sculptural and chic classics: the beechwood Marc Newson for Cappellini seat and Pepe Cort├ęs’ aluminum Jamaica bar stools for Knoll.

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So Your Design Is: Eclectic

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