Eclecticism may well be the most popular school of interior design. Most people seem to like putting together a room that expresses their unique tastes, experiences, and personal style, without feeling confined to one period, style, or color scheme. While the prospect of putting together an eclectic room that looks pulled-together may be intimidating, it’s not as hard as you might think to combine many very different pieces of furniture and art into a room with personality.
1. Pay Attention to Color
Color is a crucial design element when it comes to decorating an eclectic room. There are a couple of different ways you can use color to pull your room together. If you have several pieces of furniture in different styles or from different periods, color is one way to make them go together. For example, if you like finished wood furniture, you could choose several pieces that may be very different in style, but are all the same color of finish. Or, you could make mismatched pieces of wood furniture go together by painting them all the same color.
Another way you can make color work for your room is by pairing complementary colors and patterns to bring vibrancy and life to your decorating scheme. Use a color wheel to find the colors that work best together — complimentary colors lie across from one another on the wheel. Don’t be afraid to combine different patterns; a bold and colorful patterned rug from NW Rugs & Furniture can go well with a floral-patterned bedspread, sofa, or curtains, so long as the colors involved are complementary. If you’re going to go with a combination of bright colors and patterns on rugs, curtains, or furniture, however, you may want to consider a more neutral wall color, like beige or white.
2. Match Shapes and Proportions
Just because you didn’t go to a furniture store and buy a set of matching furniture, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay some attention to whether your furniture matches in terms of proportion and shape. If you have a big, bulky, overstuffed sofa, for example, don’t try to pair it with a delicate, thin-legged, glass-topped coffee table. Instead, choose a table that has the same visual weight as the sofa; it should be chunky, wide, and low to the floor to match your large, bulky sofa. On the other hand, if you’ve chosen an ornate cabriole sofa, go ahead and match it with a gracefully styled coffee table.
Make sure you consider the scale of your room when choosing mismatched pieces of furniture. Large pieces of furniture in a small room won’t look right, and neither will small pieces in a large room. Don’t cram in too many pieces of furniture either. Pieces should be scaled both to one another and to the room to look well together.
Another way to make mismatched pieces of furniture look like they go together is to repeat a common shape or stylistic feature all the pieces have. Choose, for example, several pieces that all feature ovals or rectangles — the piece itself can be an oval or rectangle, or it can be decorated with ovals or rectangles, as long as the shape is repeated in some way throughout the room.
3. Layer Contrasting Textures
Another interesting way to pull an eclectic room together is by filling it with contrasting textures. Juxtapose soft, upholstered pieces with hardwood pieces, or wool rugs with woven sisal ones. Decorate your sofa with a combination of silk and burlap or wool throw pillows. Display a selection of wood, metal, porcelain, and plastic curios and mementos.
4. Choose the Rug First
If you plan to use a rug in your eclectic room design, it’s a good idea to choose the rug first, and then build the rest of the room around it. You might be tempted to grab that perfect sofa or overstuffed chair, only to discover once you’ve got it that you can’t find a rug to match. It’s much easier to match a room to your rug than to match a rug to your room. Of course, if the rest of your room is bright and busy, a rug with a simple pattern in neutral colors will tie the room together without overwhelming the eyes.
It’s not as hard as you might think to bring an eclectic room together. With a good eye for proportions, colors, and textures, you can design an interesting and uncommon room that will have your friends coming to you for decorating tips.