Are you the kind of person whose eye is drawn to eye-catching colours, textures, and patterns? Do you avoid drab spaces? Are you tired of homes where every piece of furniture looks like it was assembled with a tiny Allen key?
If this sounds like you, you’ve almost inevitably had the experience of falling in love with a dazzling piece in a store, buying it, and bringing it home – only to realize there’s nowhere in your home to properly show off your new prize.
The truth is that getting ‘mismatched’ pieces to fit together is not easy. This is why eclectic home décor is such a challenge – it’s also who so many people love designing this way. When an eclectically designed room comes together with the right balance, it can seem like magic.
First: Start With Your Space
The way you approach decorating a studio apartment will be totally different from the approach you’d have decorating a large parlour, which would be different from a bedroom. Space and square footage is a factor, but so is the traffic route through the room.
Begin by tidying your space. When it’s clean, think about how you move through the room. What points could be improved by a new colour or texture? What parts of the room seem neglected? Identify exactly how many spaces you have for decoration, then measure each one. Knowing exactly how much room you have to work with will keep you from being disappointed in the future.
Second: Design around a Focal Point
Design that incorporates a wide variety of styles doesn’t mean ‘anything goes’. Your vision has to shine through. The best way to focus the room, and your own design efforts, is to pick a focal point. This can be something already in the room, or it can be something new you incorporate. A fireplace or accent wall can be a focal point; so could a chandelier, rug, or any other bold, decorative item.
Third: Remember Your Colour Wheel
Find a colour to help ground each space you’re decorating. This could be a colour that’s prominently featured in your focal point piece, it could be the colour of your accent wall, or it could be the dominant colour in your wallpaper.
Then, seek out this colour as you populate your space. Emphasizing one colour will help the room feel coherent, even when sizes, shapes, and textures don’t match.
But if monochrome was what you wanted, you wouldn’t be reading this article in the first place! Do choose some pieces that compliment your primary colour. Be strategic, and pick colours that complement your chosen primary colour.
Fourth: Find Balance
Pieces that go together might not be made from the same material, originate from the same time period or serve the same function, but they’ll often have lines that create symmetry and harmony together. For instance, precisely made wooden furniture can complement austere metal lamps. On the flip side, organic, carved wood features can resonate well with flowing iron sculptures. However, you’re ultimately the judge of what works and what doesn’t.
Fifth: Make Mistakes
It never hurts to try something new. You won’t know whether a woven magazine basket or marble lamp will work in your space unless you try. However, be honest with yourself if the experiment doesn’t work out as intended.
Sixth: Quality Matters
Eclectic design should reflect the personality and life journey of the designer. Don’t pounce on every funky looking discount item you see. Be strategic, and develop your style with patience. It’s much more satisfying to find exactly the piece you want after a long hunt than it is to buy and discard a handful of ‘almost there’ pieces.
If you can find a piece with a story, that’s even better. You can make your own stories about where you found it – for instance, under a pile of magazines at a flea market, or in a town you were visiting for the weekend. The story could also come from the maker, like the fair trade items we carry at Ten Thousand Villages.