To look around my house you would think I invented eclecticism. My penchant for yard sales, flea markets and curbside “free” signs has unintentionally made me a trendsetter! Who knew my collection of Buddha statues mixed with colored glass jelly jars would be a design statement. My mismatched collection of styles acquired over the years is born from personal taste mixed with my “can’t resist a bargain” mentality. Eclecticism is defined as "the borrowing of a variety of styles from different sources and combining them" (Hume 1998). This is a hot design trend right now, so let’s be brave and let’s mix things up a little.
You can see examples of eclecticism in everything from fashionistas to restaurant menus and its gaining popularity in home design. Although not for the faint of heart this style says “I am confident in my own taste and not afraid to show it”. Surprisingly, eclectic style can be deceivingly difficult to achieve. Creating a look with cohesive design elements while blending different eras and styles makes for a fine line between contrast and confusion. Even though I have collected some of my furnishings at flea markets, I don’t want my space to convey the junk shop vibe. You want the mix of old and new, loud and subdued to balance in a harmonious marriage of personal style and good design principals. To do this, start with small vignettes, like a seating or desk area and see if it works. If you don’t succeed, try, try again. Try using bold color and unique texture with mismatched pieces to complement each other and bring in continuity. The scale of your furniture also plays a big role (no pun intended) in whether a space works. Keep larger rooms from becoming overindulgent by scaling down and simplifying your anchor furniture and adding smaller pieces, lighting and soft goods that surprise with a pop of color or interesting texture. In almost every aspect of your home, eclecticism can be achieved. Mismatched chairs and place settings add charm and whimsy to a stoic, contemporary dining table. A traditional wrought iron bed dressed with a vintage, mod printed bedspread and pillows can give unexpected visual harmony to a bedroom. Since these items are usually less expensive they can be changed out as often as your style changes. The great thing about eclectic design is it is a personal statement and unique to only you. So go ahead and try it, you may just love it! Remember to keep it EZ! Truly, Kristin M