Keys to Good Eclectic Design
What is eclectic design? This seems to be a common question for aspiring designers everywhere. By definition, eclectic means, “deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources”. This still feels a little vague and is easy to misinterpret. Here at PatioProductions.com, we want to help you establish what good eclectic design looks and feels like.
Eclectic Design History
Eclecticism came into popularity in the late 19th century. The reason being that architects wanted a way to preserve styles of the past while still using them in more modern and current designs. This allowed them to mix and match styles from all sorts of different time periods. Rather than imitate past styles, the idea was to create something original by using inspiration from previous design trends.
We now know that eclectic design involves many different ideas, styles, and tastes. While there are a lot of different pieces involved, it’s important that everything is cohesive in some way. That brings up to our first big talking point.
It’s super important to have a relatively basic space to begin with when attempting eclectic design. This means neutral wall colors and textures. It’s best to use white, grey, beige, etc. when painting walls. Similarly we recommend concrete, natural wood, and natural stone for countertops and other decor pieces. You might be wondering why these neutral colors are necessary when a common theme of eclectic design is big and bright. If everything in your space is a different color, it’s no longer eclectic, just ugly. Having a neutral backdrop or a “blank canvas” allows you to showcase your furniture and art more effectively.
Cohesive colors is a huge aspect of eclectic design. However, we don’t want you to get confused with matching colors because then you’re missing the whole point of eclectic decorating. There should still be a general theme in your space. Picking a color and then using general shades of that color in your design is the move. A good way to mix it up while still sticking to your theme is to use different textures. An example of these is a rug that’s one shade of blue mixed with a wood chair painted another shade of blue, and art/other furniture that follows that general trend. You don’t want to beat people over the head with your color scheme, but based on the nature of eclectic design, you’ll have many different design elements in your space. It’s important to have some sort of consistency.
I touched on this briefly, but different textures are a staple of eclectic design. Having different textures in your space will give you a great eclectic feel. It’s still important to stick to your general theme, so relatively neutral colored texture pieces or pieces that follow the overall theme. Fur rugs, natural wood, wallpaper, velvet pillows, the list could really go on. If you’re looking for a more masculine feel, dark metals are a great direction to go in.
Mismatched Furniture and Styles
It seems a little crazy to purposely put mismatched furniture in your space. It seems even more ridiculous to use furniture and art that are different styles and even from different time periods. We get it, it’s tough to dive into this kind of thing. But take our word for it, it will look awesome. Once again, it’s crucial to maintain a general overall theme using a neutral base and a unifying color. Mismatched furniture will still look good if guests can tell that you put time and effort into picking pieces that go together. In fact, it’s much more impressive than buying a matching furniture set. It gives you an opportunity to express yourself through your design choices. As far as using art and furniture from different eras, as long as the pieces compliment each other, you’re in the clear. Having the old and the new together is also a great way to get people interested in your space. Most older pieces have a history, and who doesn’t love a great story?
At this point, we’ve covered all the basics of eclectic design. What’s a little more challenging is using statement pieces in your eclectic space. This is a little more difficult because it’s tough to find a statement piece that fits your theme and compliments everything else in your space. Of course, you could design your entire space around one piece, but that feels like a pretty big commitment. If you find a fun stylish couch or some awesome art, those are both great candidates for statement pieces.
Remember, eclectic design is a way for you to express yourself through design. You want to put something together that helps your guests get to know you a little better. When done right, eclectic design is really fun, looks unique, and can be done on a budget. We hope that our tips for eclectic design can help point you in the right direction.