“Eclectic” is a popular adjective in interior design language, meaning a decor that comprises heterogeneous elements — a mixture of textures, time periods, styles, trends, and colors.
Eclectic style decorating got its start via the fine arts and architecture, when pioneers prided themselves on the fact that they didn’t adhere to any particular style, and then set about doing their own thing.
There is a fine line, however, between a beautifully eclectic room and a room that is merely haphazard and chaotic, with no unifying themes or motifs. According to interior design masters, for a successful eclectic decor that marry old and new, antique and contemporary, serious and fanciful, there are some very important characteristics to consider:
- A calm mix of periods and styles
- Neutral background colors
- Unexpected use of materials and/or items
- Uniqueness in art and furnishings
- A “pulling together” through pattern, shape, texture, finish or color
- Everything has its place, but avoid if look cluttered
- Old easily mixed in with new
- Handmade items or items with sentimental value
- Celebration of contrasts
In the following, I chose 10 images capturing eclectic decorating at its best, at least upon my taste, in a minimalist manner that involves classic majestic architectural rooms hosted by old buildings and cool, trendy furniture.
For example, Roche Bobois chose to show the furniture collection created by Marcel Wanders in spaces with Islamic architecture, while the Episode modular sofa signed by Roberto Tapinassi & Maurizio Manzoni is dramatically highlighted by a room with painted wooden ceiling and supporting beams.
Christian Lacroix completes the femininity of the amazing room with arches decorated in elaborate floral stuccos by adding velvet sofas, in contrast to the simplistic, masculine carpets, featuring black and white stripes.
Meanwhile, Bonaldo presents iconic modern furniture pieces in palazzo type rooms, playing the card of bold color, highlighting one of the pieces like a primadona in middle of the neutral color palette background scene.
My absolute favorite is the room with the Picabia red bed designed by Giuseppe Vigano, where the color theme blue-white-red strongly sends navy vibes, but leading to an eighteenth-century Venetian palazzo.
Also at Bonaldo, the grey sofa with squared angle corners, is the perfect matching contrast for the high ceiling room with heavy middle age chandelier from 12th century. The circles of the chandelier correspond to the spherical head of the modern floor lamp and the curvy shapes of the ancient fire place.
Eclectic decorating provides a dynamic canvas, where pieces seem to be thrown together randomly, but the magic is in the very subtle eye of the decorator, to match contrasts of design styles into an outstanding interior.
Photo credits: Bonaldo, Marcel Wanders, Roche Bobois, Christian Lacroix