Many people associate eclecticism in the interior with a riot of colors and a mixture of absolutely everything that can and cannot be mixed. Partly it is: this style involves freedom of action, bold decisions and unusual combinations. But in the design of an interior comfortable for living, any chaos must obey certain rules — we talk about them in this article. We also show beautiful examples from projects designed at the junction of different styles.
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Designing an eclectic interior
— Idea at the core
— no more than three
— Common denominator
— Connecting elements
— Playing with color
— Emphasis on decor
— Items with history
Ideas for different rooms
— Living room
What is eclecticism in the interior
Eclecticism in its essence is not an independent style, but a mixture of several directions at once. Initially, when it first appeared, it was about a cocktail of traditional and closely related styles: classicism, renaissance, baroque, sometimes gothic. European architects tried to find something new, to get away from the classical canons and rethink the appearance of buildings. Gradually, this approach spread to the interior design, and the number of ingredients of a possible stylistic cocktail expanded.
Today, the eclectic style in the interior is a skillful and thoughtful combination of the incongruous. Futuristic furniture against the backdrop of classic finishes, loft aesthetics with ethnic elements, Scandinavian and Moroccan styles in one room. There are no restrictions on combinations, but there are several popular schemes: classic and modern; adding oriental motifs; a mixture of loft and ethnics.
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1. At the heart of the idea
The rule applies to the design of any interior, but in the case of a combination of styles, this is especially important. If pure stylistics have a clear and understandable set of canons, according to which, like bricks, you can assemble the visual image of the room, then in this case it is very easy to slide into a set of chaotic, incompatible elements that simply clutter up the space.
Therefore, eclectic design should always obey some idea, be a reflection of the owner’s inner world. Whether you love contemporary art, travel often, or you are impressed by the combination of brutality and tenderness — all this can form the basis of home design. Then all the details will be chosen sensibly, fit each other in spirit and, as a result, will become the embodiment of the life philosophy of the inhabitants of the house or apartment. You can artificially create such a mix, but only personal tastes and ideas reflected in each design element will add a real zest.
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2. No more than three
So, you can combine anything. But in what quantity?
Designers recommend taking no more than two or three styles as a basis, because more will be difficult to make friends with each other. It can be directions from different eras and ends of the world. The overall look of the space will depend on which components for the “cocktail” you choose: it can be a restrained and monochrome classic-futuristic couple, a colorful kitsch look or a new interpretation of eco-design with oriental notes.
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3. Common denominator
Regardless of which direction you choose, eclecticism in interior design implies the obligatory presence of a unifying factor. It is he who will visually connect the patches of other styles so that everything looks harmonious together.
This role can be played by a common color, a repeating shape, the same texture, an ornament in different interpretations.
Depending on what is chosen as a common denominator, this relationship can be traced clearly or veiled — for example, the general shape of the smooth curves of furniture and ceiling design.
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4. Connecting elements
In addition to the common base, all contrasting elements must additionally be connected to each other using details. This role is most often played by jewelry, textiles, shades of the same color and prints. Such bridges help visually connect modern designer furniture with baroque finishes, loft with romantic details, Chinese motifs with colonial style, etc.
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5. Playing with color
The palette is one of the key elements of this trend. Since the canons of the styles used can be violated, this is an excellent occasion to play with colors and break stereotypes: for example, add one piece of furniture or an acid-colored accessory to the classic living room decor, decorate the loft in pink tones, use several equally bright colors instead of a pastel base.
But here it is very important not to overdo it and not turn the room into a lurid hall. Here are some tips for working with colors.
- Limit the number of colors you use. They can be muted or active, but it is better to take no more than four. One can be used as a base (for example, for decorating walls, floors or ceilings), the second for furniture and accent trim details, the third and fourth as accents and those very connecting bridges.
- Forget about the principle of «white top, black bottom» and the mandatory use of white in small spaces. Black ceiling, dark walls in a small kitchen, a controversial combination of green and purple — in eclecticism you can safely embody any desires contrary to the general rules.
- Keep a balance. When working with color, this is the only thing that matters. Even if you want an explosion of colors, remember that you have to live in this interior: colors should not put too much pressure on the psyche, and 3-4 active shades will simply draw attention to themselves, destroying the integrity of the picture. Combine palette elements by saturation, experiment with hues and color temperatures.
- Decide what will be the main thing in the interior. If you want to emphasize decor (especially when it comes to paintings and posters), finish colors should be neutral so as not to detract from them. If the focus shifts to textures, furniture shapes and color itself, you can opt for rich contrasting solutions.
6. Emphasis on decor
Eclectic design is impossible without decor. It is carefully selected details, most often from different styles, that give the room a special contrasting charm. Decorations can be anything and in any quantity. Here are some possible solutions.
- Picture gallery. Hang the wall with posters or paintings, turning it into the main focus. So that such a quantity of decor does not look clumsy and scattered, a common plot, frames in the same style or a common color palette will help to combine the elements. This technique is especially relevant for the living room.
- ethnic elements. Decor traditional for a certain culture looks interesting on a classic or modern background, dilutes the severity of minimalism, and is perfect for variations on the loft theme.
- Contrasts. For example, a Chinese vase next to a Victorian one, an antique-style figurine in the company of modern abstraction, a figurine brought from Africa against the background of an Impressionist reproduction.
- Classic with a modern twist. An easy way to create a wow effect and draw attention to your decor is to reinterpret familiar and understandable looks. For example, painting an antique bust in a bright color or hanging a modern interpretation of a famous painting in a frame.
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7. Items with history
In order for eclecticism in the interior of an apartment or house to look harmonious, it is important to fill it with meaning, gradually create a unique space, filling it with objects dear to the heart with their own unique history. These can be vintage pieces of furniture from a flea market; a service left over from a grandmother or an old sofa; paintings by young artists; objects of art independently created at the master class; gifts from familiar craftsmen; travel souvenirs, etc.
Ideas for different rooms
The living room, being the front room, provides maximum opportunities for self-expression. Here you can arrange an entire art gallery, put together your favorite decor, and place bold accents. The reception with a large chandelier or any ceiling lamp that immediately attracts attention looks very interesting. The main thing is to maintain a balance. If the emphasis is on decor, then the finish should be as neutral as possible, and the furniture should be relatively calm in color and ornaments. If, on the contrary, a bright sofa or vintage armchairs is in the spotlight, it is better to reduce the number of active decorative elements.
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The main goal in the bedroom is to create a cozy and relaxing atmosphere. An abundance of assorted textiles will help with this (layering is welcome!), 2-3 types of curtains, a real mini-garden of indoor plants and favorite accessories: figured candlesticks, figurines, a mirror, watches, etc.
The color scheme can be anything: light for those who like lightness, and dark if you want to create a mysterious and intimate atmosphere in the room.
In the kitchen, where the furniture is mostly functional and there is not always room for rich decor, you can experiment with colors and textures. These can be contrasting combinations at the base of the palette; large accent lamps; a combination of several textures (marble, tile, wood) and prints; designer decor and art objects; unusual furnishings.
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As in the kitchen, in the bathroom the design is primarily aimed at solving practical issues, and the area most often does not allow you to clear up. And yet, it is possible to create an eclectic interior even in a small utilitarian space by combining different types of tiles; finishes with large contrasting prints (ethnics and abstraction work well); unpretentious living plants in beautiful flower pots; accent fittings and lamps; bright textiles; mirrors in a curly frame; pictures or posters.