The days of buying a complete matching furniture set are long gone. A collected, eclectic look is the all the rage in design today. Cultivating a personalized space with only pieces that you love is a natural way to express your individuality. Compiling diverse furnishings, fabrics, finishes, and objects from any number of periods and countries, it’s possible to arrange a totally unique scene. Not bound by any rules, you’re free to include whatever you like. Of course, in order to be successful, you’ll want to keep all the principles concerning form, scale, composition, and proportion in mind. But, the more original, the better. The only requisite is comfort. Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re considering this look for your home:
Cover Your Basics
You’ll never appreciate a space if it doesn’t provide basics like comfortable seating and good lighting. Start with some pieces of furniture that you
love, stay away from anything too matchy-matchy, add several lighting sources and build from there. To make sure the look you’re creating doesn’t lean towards messy, eliminating wallpaper and decorative finishes for a neutral palette is the safest route. Various styles mix peacefully when the background and furniture forms are simple. If whites and creams don’t excite you, choose a more contemporary color like pale rust, straw, or smoke. Reasonable amounts of color or pattern (at the window, on a chair, etc) will help unite all of the elements. For windows, stick to natural cottons or natural fibers blended with synthetics for greater durability. Simple roman or rattan shades are timeless and tasteful.
Once a comfortable sofa and chairs are in place, choose the supporting furnishings according to character. A 19th-century Spanish table and a set of American Empire chairs may not be a team anyone would normally think of, but try pairing them together. There’s an old saying that says if you buy only what you love, somehow it will all work, and it’s true! An eclectic room welcomes everything from the possessions you’ve inherited to vintage pieces you’ve collected. Assigning furnishings new roles is a wonderful way to include pieces you like in a small space. For example, a pair of leather suitcases, one on top of the other, could double as a coffee table or a bedside table can make a nifty desk when you pull up a chair.
A balancing, yin and yang approach takes well to a room such as the kitchen where you want the warm, welcoming aura of home with professional-style appliances. An old farmhouse table would look great with new, modern metal chairs. An eclectic style also works well in the bath where a vintage medicine cabinet can live in harmony with a modern lighting fixture. In the bedroom, stand a lucite lamp on an antique desk. Forget the notion that everything needs to match and have fun experimenting! Jackie Kennedy’s fashion advice to women was always to remove one thing from an outfit before going out. If you’re worried you’ve gone overboard, do the same with your room. You might be amazed at the difference.