When done ‘right’ the eclectic look can be effortlessly cool and packed full of personality. What better than being free of boundaries when it comes to decorating and home styling? However, I’m often faced with the same question from my readers and clients – how do I stop it turning into a jumbled mess of clashing colours, prints and patterns?
For some people this talent comes very naturally, or so it may seem, but these ‘natural talent’ decorators actually are very savvy when it comes to getting things to clash in the right way.
Equipped with some basic design knowledge, you can achieve that same natural talent for combining pieces to create an eclectic look.
- Use the 80/20 principle
When picking out patterns and prints for soft furnishings, use 80% of one and 20% of another. This stops too much clashing happening and keeps some sense of control. It’s also a great place to start if you haven’t really tried the eclectic look before. Also make sure to mix in block colours or neutral pieces to give your patterns and prints some grounding.
- Stick to a colour palette
Before you style or decorate your room, work out what the colour palette is or will be. This is likely to be a palette of about 5 colours with 3 main colours and 2-3 accents. When you source new items to get into the mix, ensure that they fit within your colour scheme or at least harmonise with it nicely. This will stop any nasty colour clashes! You can also create a palette of material finishes, like woods and metals and apply the same principal.
- Size and scale
This is a really easy place to fall down when it comes to creating an eclectic look. Make sure you are varying the scale of prints and patterns when mixing them – so you might combine a very large check (for 80% of your cushions) with a very small checked cushion for the remaining 20%. This keeps a good theme going but still shows variation. You can also do this with the size of pieces. Three plants at differing heights for example, when grouped together, can look really cool.
- All in
The eclectic look is one that doesn’t really work in half measures. This is something you really need to dive into, as the look works best with every new piece you add into the mix. Eclectic looks develop over time and have a really personal feel, so now might be the time to look through family heirlooms or vintage pieces that you may not have had a home for until now. Really go for it and don’t be afraid. Which leads me to my final point nicely…
This look is all about confidence. It will only look effortlessly cool once you decide to let your hair down a bit and relax into it. The reason I am so fond of the eclectic look is because anything goes – no-one can judge you on your taste here! What could look like the tackiest set of china ornaments can suddenly look kitsch and cool once combined with some more modern elements.
Why not give this a go in your home? Start with soft furnishings like cushions, which are easy to swap in and out to build your confidence, then progress onto more statement pieces. Enjoy!