Eclecticism is a new trend in the field of art, and although it is not widely recognized as a stand-alone style in the world of design, every interior design magazine, TV show and blog never misses to show ambitious eclectic projects. But what exactly is an eclectic style?
Eclecticism is described as “a conceptual approach that draws upon multiple theories, styles, or ideas”. But to the untrained eye, it may look like it’s all about accidentally piling together a bunch of elements, expecting them to eventually create a stylish interior. Not quite!
The eclectic style may, indeed, involve unconventional combinations of different color and style elements, and even such from different eras, but achieving a genuinely eclectic aesthetic look requires comprehensive knowledge in design, fine arts, history and geography, to mention but a few.
The successful combination of different styles and designs in the eclectic style creates an artistic and, at the same time, majestic interior design that awakens specific emotions and turns it into a work of art.
Space. It would be wrong to assume that eclectic means a frivolous chaos in the interior, where you can scatter around various mis-matched items and let them stay wherever they happen to fall. Just on the contrary! Creating a truly stylish eclectic interior requires careful planning and serious consideration of what to include, where to place it and how to exhibit it, so that the final composition makes sense.
Eclecticism does not either mean cluttering or overcrowding the space and the floor area to the limit. Less is still more, even with eclectic art! Keeping the interior well organized and placing focus on the most valuable things only, is a key principle in building eclectic environments.
Scale and proportion is key to any style, but getting it correctly is extremely important for eclectic interiors. It is necessary to carefully decide about how all those items of different styles fit together and how they correspond to and connect with the overall design framework of the room.
Eclectic designs allow the use of a variety of materials. Classic wall paneling, in combination with contemporary wall covering materials and milled elements, is typical for eclectic interiors. Floorings celebrate the return of the herringbone parquet, though in new color treatments. And elements of natural wood or stone may easily co-exist with plastic and glass items, as long as they all blend in harmony with the background.
Color. In eclectic interiors, the easiest and most common way to create a cohesive connection between the different rooms is through colors. In clear contrast to kitsch, boho or fusion, eclectism doesn’t work with too many colors. The key is to choose a common color range and stick to it, but also develop it by introducing new matching tones. The aim is to create a harmonious color styling that “flows” through the individual premises.
Another essential principle of coloring an eclectic interior is “playing” with contrast. When, for example, the backdrop color is light, furniture and décor should feature earthy tones in both, saturated and pastel hues.
In this respect, it would be best to consult the all-mighty color wheel, to determine what colors look good together or opposed.
Furniture. A fundamental requirement for the eclectic style is that furniture is to be useful, comfortable, and attractive, regardless of the different design styles the individual items represent. Speaking of designs, with eclectic interiors it would be best to stick to just a few carefully considered furnishing styles, and not venture into just any style that comes to mind.
Eclectic interiors include various furniture items, new or old, costly or thrifty, posh or plain. An oriental carpet, for instance, may look perfect under a composition of a contemporary dining table with buffet-style chairs. And a fancy tulip armchair of a vibrant color will make a gorgeous accent next to a vintage wooden trunk coffee table.
As always, the key is to find harmony and the right proportion, while enjoying the freedom of choosing furnishing featuring a style of personal taste.
Décor. Décor is probably the best tool to create an eclectic interior. But how does actually eclectic décor look? One word – unexpected!
From wallpapered ceilings to an original oil painting in a massive rococo frame in the bathroom, or a sparkling crystal chandelier in the entryway, it’s all about the freedom from established rules.
The use of different patterns within the same space is among the top features of eclectic interiors. Geometric shapes, heraldic lilies (fleur-de-lis), and dotted patterns can create an attractive eclectic vibe when used in repetitive motifs on fabrics, textures and floorings.
Eclectic wall décor is a charming mish-mash, exhibiting from posters and family photos to tapestries and fine art canvases of all sizes and shapes, arranged in assorted gallery compositions. Most unexpectedly, next to those there could be a couple of wooden chairs pinned on the wall and used as open shelves for books and cheerful collections of souvenirs and trinkets.
And live plants, of course! Though, to get an eclectic effect, these should be predominantly green indoor plants, from cacti to tall dracaenas.
Steer away from the clichéd and the predictable with our selection of eclectic interiors, designs, products and ideas. From the subtle to the deliberate, these projects cover the ins and outs of eclectic space making, so you can conjure up your very own interior design style that sets your home an original notch above the rest.