Rules to Pull Off a Successful Eclectic Design (Without it Feeling Overwhelming)

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    Express yourself with eclectic design.

    Eclectic design is all about limitless expression. Image: Rikki Snyder

    Eclectic design is kind of hard to get a handle on, isn’t it? On the one hand, the amount of freedom in it is so intriguing. In a style that’s defined by mixing and matching, you literally have the ability to create any design you can dream up. The sky’s the limit.

    On the other hand, the lack of rules also seems a little intimidating. Understandably, it raises some questions. How can you ensure that your design flows together? Will the design elements seem overwhelming rather than intentional? How will you know if a décor item doesn’t fit?

    We’ve got a handle on the rules you need to know to pull off a successful eclectic design project. Read our tips below and keep them in mind as you begin to put eclectic spaces together. With our help, we guarantee you’ll be able to create interiors that work together, every single time.

    Create a neutral background.

    Start by creating a neutral-looking background. Image: David Boyle Architect

    Create a neutral background

    Any time you start a new interior design project, it’s helpful to think of the room you’re working on as a blank canvas. When you’re dealing with an eclectic look, this sentiment is doubly true. Since the design elements in this style are often eye-catching, a neutral background is necessary to relieve the eye.

    Now, for many, neutral paint colors — like white, gray, black and tan — immediately spring to mind. They are certainly viable options. However, we’d also like to invite you to consider an additional option: natural materials.

    Woods, stones and eco-friendly fibers all visually register as neutral elements, but they have enough built-in texture and variation to keep the background from feeling boring. Consider using them in your flooring, countertops and décor items.

    Balance and symmetry creates structure.

    Use balance and symmetry to create a sense of structure. Image: MEERO

    Focus on balance and symmetry

    No matter what style you’re aiming for, balance and symmetry are important principles of design. Once again, though, they become even more critical to follow when there is so much visual stimulation in one area.

    The reason is simple: balance and symmetry help our brains simplify the design. According to Gestalt psychology — a school of thought focused on studying our perceptions as our brains process information — our brains instinctively boil design down to its simplest form. Repeating identifiable patterns allow us to process the room’s visual information faster. As a result, we are more likely to find balanced spaces aesthetically pleasing.

    To do this, you should focus on only including furniture pieces that serve a very specific purpose. Make sure their function in the room is instantly identifiable. This will allow your eyes to relax and focus solely on the aesthetics of the pieces you’ve included.

    Eclectic furniture to consider:

    Coordinate with color.

    Use color as a common thread. Image: Pamela Hope Designs

    Coordinate with color

    Keep in mind eclectic design is not about getting rid of coordination altogether. Rather, it’s about making coordination a background note. To achieve a successful design, it’s critical to maintain a common thread throughout the space and, in eclectic spaces, color is the way to make it happen.

    You’ll want to choose a color that can be repeated throughout multiple areas in the room. Think about using it in your textiles, wall art and other accessories. If possible, try to find the color in a variety of prints and patterns. This will help you stay true to your eclectic mix while subtly pulling the room together.

    For an added layer of behind-the-scenes structure, try to coordinate multiple colors within the room. Just remember your color theory basics and choose one shade as the dominant while the others serve as accents.

    Eclectic decor to consider:

     

    Pick a statement piece.

    Choose one statement piece to be the room’s focal point. Image: Vintage Renewal

    Add a statement piece

    A statement piece — whether it’s a furniture item or work of art — is really where your eclectic design is meant to shine. Make it big, make it bold. In this case, no coordination is necessary. This is the piece you want to really pop.

    To use the statement piece correctly, make it the focal point of the room. (And, in case it bears repeating, make sure there’s only one.) Then, adjust the other items in the room so they subtly point to your signature item.

    For example, if you’re highlighting a one-of-a-kind mantle, you could angle the furniture in the room so it points to the fireplace or, if you’d rather draw attention to a painting, make sure it’s large enough in scale to anchor the wall.

    Statement piece art to consider:

    Eclectic design can tie together.

    There are ways to successfully tie together an eclectic design. Image: Corynne Pless

    To some, an eclectic design style can feel conflicting. While the ability to break away from traditional interior design do’s and don’ts is more than enough to peak curiosity, at the same time the style can feel too unwieldy to attempt — until now. We have the tips and tricks you need to pull off an eclectic design. Use this post as a reference as you plan out your next project and we’re sure your final product will feel stylishly eccentric.

    What do you think of eclectic styles? Will you be including this look in your interiors? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

    Home Design

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