The Eclectic Look: How to Mix and Match Different Styles of Furniture
When you think eclectic, you might think of your quirky great aunt the one who seems a bit all over the place, dresses like she’s 18 going on 80, is kind of unpredictable, but totally fun to be around. Just like eccentric relatives, the eclectic look in home décor can be a little difficult to pin down. On first impression, it may seem like a few different furniture showrooms and an oddball antique store got mixed up in someone’s living room.
But if you take a closer look, it’s definitely not a case of haphazard chaos. The eclectic look takes some very intentional planning and coordination to create a unique design harmony that brings all the best notes together, using contrast to bring out the beauty of each element in the ensemble.
Eclectic home design is more in than ever – it probably speaks to our cultural need to have our own unique voice while still blending in just enough to belong. And the best part is, it can keep changing and evolving with your tastes and whims. Just like aunt Lou, it never really gets old.
If you love the eclectic vibe, but aren’t sure how to pull it off, here are a few guidelines to get you started and keep things meshing, whatever you decide to throw into the mix.
Commitment is key
One caveat to experimenting with eclectic is that it’s kind of an all or nothing commitment. Although you can probably get away with an eclectic study or office that’s tucked away, an eclectic living room will need to become implemented through the rest of your home to avoid things feeling too random and disjointed. But don’t get too overwhelmed thinking about a house long shopping list...
Begin with what you have
Depending on what existing features and furniture you have to work with, going eclectic can be more about switching it up than starting from scratch. If you’ve got a few favourites, whether it’s furniture, art or antiques (don’t forget to check in those dusty storage boxes!) keep them in your inventory, and think about how you could use them alongside other pieces. The main idea is to juxtapose a few different periods and styles to create an intriguing contrast.
Also look at the built-in features of a room – a rustic fireplace or Victorian mantelpiece could be a great starting point to offset more modern pieces you want to bring in.
Stick to a neutral backdrop
Have you noticed that art galleries always have neutral walls? They don’t want the backdrop stealing focus from the art pieces. With eclectic décor, you’ve got enough going on in the foreground, so stick with a neutral background when you’re deciding on wall colours and coverings. Natural elements like wood, stone or face-brick also make a great neutral backdrop that brings in a nice textural layer. But leave the loud patterns and dynamic tones for the artwork you’re going to paint with your furniture and décor.
Pick a colour, any colour
If there’s one secret to coordinating the eclectic look, it’s a clever use of colour. You can be wild and free with your individual pieces, styles and materials, as long as there’s a unifying thread to tie it together visually – and colour is the most effective way to do it. Choose an accent colour you love and try to weave it in dynamically in different ways. For example, you could feature it in a statement piece, a pattern here and there, and perhaps a subtle note in an ornament or art piece.
Pique interest with pattern and texture
Let’s say it again - eclectic is all about contrast. As you look at bringing together different periods or styles of furniture, also think about juxtaposing unique patterns and different textures (love velvet?). This is where you can really build the mood and personality of a room and it’s what will make your design come to life.
Find your focus
Don’t let your eclectic design be so full of pieces shouting for attention that it ends up being only noise. Every room needs a focal point, and this is even more important with eclectic design. So pick a statement piece to feature, and make it beautifully bold. (A large space can feature two or three, but it’s generally safer to focus on one). It could be an existing feature that already steals the limelight, a piece of furniture with real personality (which is one of our 5 reasons to buy an egg chair), or perhaps a gallery wall.
Keep it sensible
While it’s tempting to go over the top with eclectic, don’t sacrifice coordination for clutter. To help keep things sensible, always begin by planning a good layout, and stick to pieces that are actually serving a purpose. Remember, you’re not just creating an artwork, but a home to be lived in!
Looking for a few unique, quality furniture pieces to start building your eclectic canvas? Browse the Cielo range for a wide variety of classic and modern furniture to get the inspiration flowing.
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