Eclectic by dictionary definition is:
- selecting or choosing from various sources.
- made up of what is selected from different sources.
- not following any one system, as of philosophy, medicine, etc., but selecting and using what are considered the best elements of all systems.
- noting or pertaining to works of architecture, decoration, landscaping, etc., produced by a certain person or during a certain period, that derive from a wide range of historic styles, the style in each instance often being chosen for its fancied appropriateness to local tradition,local geography, the purpose to be served, or the cultural background of the client.
So, in us regular folk language it means using or incorporating a mix of styles. I find that to perfectly describe me. I have a respect, appreciation and love for all types of design styles and have pieces that reflect that throughout our home. For example, I have a very traditional chesterfield sofa across from a very sleek, clean lined gray leather modern sofa. Can’t forget the fuschia high back chairs next to them or the reclaimed set of doors on the fireplace wall. Something old, something new, something modern and something blue! (console table behind the chesterfield, that too is made of reclaimed materials)
Or our dining room has a traditional wood farmhouse table coupled with ghost chairs, a persian style pink rug, wallpaper mural and a very traditional crystal chandelier.
If you’re interested in trying it out in your home, an easy way to start would be to pick up a small, inexpensive antique or vintage piece like a side table or even some books as an accessory. Mix your new/old piece in with your current furnishings and see how it feels. Consider painting that antique side table your favorite color for a cute and personalized twist. I love and adore antique pieces. Nothing creates a sense of interest, warmth and character like a beautiful old piece of loved furniture. When you mix these items with whatever style you prefer it gives you a very well rounded lived in room.
This is an old vintage chair that I picked up at a shop for $40, 8 years ago. It sits in the corner of our family room and I love it. The style, the fabric, the colors, the comfyness (made that word up just for this chair). Sure it could use some new springs and a new seat cushion but it’s perfect to me just the way it is. Paired with it is a rustic modern style side table and contemporary art with a farmhouse clock. Lots of genres together! It works because the painting ties in with the greens in the chair, the wood table adds a natural textural element and the farmhouse clock is understated but complimentary to the green. Most importantly to why or how it works is that I love it!
In our daughter’s room there is an antique dresser and nightstands set, that I found at a local antique store. It’s beautiful and old with curves and inlaid wood. But, it was in rough shape and had a really dark stain. So I bought the set of 3 and painted it a cotton candy pink, it looks beautiful in her room, they’re still romantic and elegant but with a less serious fun color.
Eclectic, to me, is about having fun and really making your space reflect you. You don’t have to buy the entire matching set or keep it all in the same genre. If you have love for a midcentury style sofa but have traditional wingback chairs, go for it! Find something that bridges the two, for example an accent color you can use through pillows or a throw. Or a patterned rug that ties them together either through it’s style (try contemporary with this example) or it’s colors. Who says it all has to be the same? Or all the same color? If you love having matching furniture or one particular style that’s awesome too. Do your style and rock it all the way. I, personally feel like there are very few rules in design. I go by my gut. I say it all the time but, if it feels right it is!
Eclectic doesn’t just apply to my design style it actually perfectly describes my personality. We homeschool our kids but aren’t religious in the traditional sense (we’re more spiritual), I choose to be a SAHM but I have a very progressive outlook, I got my nose pierced and dyed my hair pink this year after I turned 34. I also got a matching quote forearm tattoo with my hubby for our 15th wedding anniversary. (My parents thought I was having a VERY early mid-life crisis!) I had a conservative upbringing in rural ND and have found that my sense of design and home decor style has really helped me to discover who I am and proudly share that through my surroundings. (along with my pink hair, tattoos and nose stud!) Design isn’t just about your home and making it look good or nice, it’s about celebrating yourself and your personality. It should make you feel the most comfortable to be there because it says “you” all over it. After all, it’s your home and your haven from this messy often chaotic world. Make it somewhere you want to be.