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Eclectic. Eclecticism. Sure, you’ve heard these words in everyday phrases, describing everything from someone’s personal fashion sense to a restaurant’s cuisine. But what do they mean in an interior design context?
Yes, decorating can be tricky. Especially when you're trying to marry different eras and styles — and that's really the crux of eclecticism. Aim for a carefully edited mix of furniture and decorative accessories, and you'll surely strike the proper balance. Always remember: There's a fine line between "living area" and "junk shop."
The element of surprise is a key aspect of eclecticism — and it’s often the very thing that makes an eclectic room look cohesive. Color is a great tool you can use to that end. The cobalt La Cornue range against the robin's egg blue wall in this kitchen is an unexpected, yet lovely, contrast — as are the red cushions, mahogany stained chairs and washed-out pink cupboards. None of it matches exactly, but it all works to create a charming modern-rustic vibe.
Low, dark ceilings give the room a sense of intimacy, and each decorative element draws on the next. The stainless fridge picks up on the range's stainless accents, and the hand-carved spool chairs mirror the deep brown ceiling and metal garage door tracks. The two-tier trestle table has been outfitted with casters and complements the original turn-of-the-century cupboard doors.
This bathing room is totally eclectic. First, it's completely unexpected, as the gorgeous (undoubtedly original) Victorian-era fireplace is more suited for a living room or dining room than a bathroom. Second, the gorgeous Wetstyle freestanding tub is so obviously contemporary. The muted olive-tone wallpaper, though vintage inspired, isn't original (though it could just as well be), and the furniture is midcentury modern, with a lovely Norman Cherner molded plywood armchair off to the side. And it's all overseen by a sparkly, contemporary chrome and crystal chandelier.
Although there aren't many elements within the room, each is tonally unified. And their organic curves are yet another connective factor — down to the horns on the serving tray. Very simple, yet brilliantly executed.
Keep an eye on scale and lines too. You'll know when things look off. Here, taller seating options just wouldn't work — but they might in a less traditional room lacking chair rails. Yellows and golds are the neutrals here, and accents are kept to a bare minimum. The result? A welcoming, comfortable living room.
Surprise elements are twofold: The ethereal, mustardy Susan Spies abstract and the mirrored coffee table are both lovely anchors. The round lines of the Michael Taylor club chair pair well with the classic, silk velvet Century Furniture roll-arm sectional — and nicely contrast with the angular moldings. Sharp marble, obsidian obelisks and jutting black sconces tie it all together while contrasting colorwise.
Height and scale also play a big role in eclectic style. The designer lets the floor-to-ceiling windows, empire chandelier, piano and opulent molding take center stage here while furniture plays second fiddle. Hulking pieces not only would ruin the verdant view, but they'd make the room look overly serious. Instead, low-slung modern sofas and a short glass-top table nearly fall away — and let the room convey elegance without being too precious.
The great thing about raw lofts is that they provide such interesting palettes. Whether you choose to go completely modernist or industrial, you pretty much can't go wrong. I love this room because the designer incorporated a well-worn Chesterfield sofa that looks as if it's been around for ages with sculptural and minimalist classics: the beechwood Marc Newson for Cappellini chair and Pepe Cortés' aluminum Jamaica bar stools for Knoll.
So Your Style Is: Eclectic