So Your Style Is: Eclectic
Bold patterns, clashing tones and a fresh mix of contemporary and classic pieces give the eclectic look its energy
Why it works: This is a look that celebrates the unique and original. It chucks out the style rule books in favour of a more energetic, one-off take on furnishing and designing your rooms. It sets you free to combine a range of pieces, in different styles and from different periods, but it by no means represents a design free-for-all. Thought and balance are necessary to create an eclectic scheme that looks striking, but hangs together beautifully, too.
You’ll love it if: Your approach to decorating is more magpie than minimal, you love hot shades as much as classic black, and you would happily shop at car-boot sales as well as contemporary design stores.
Black is a great accent colour in an eclectic room, delivering just the right dose of serious style, but also adding useful solid colour to anchor the scheme and balance out hotter shades. Imagine these shelves in traditional white and this living room would instantly lose much of its exciting, eclectic clout.
Browse brilliant ways to work in some black
Sitting hot, clashing colours against each other is a fast track to an eclectic look, but feaure walls often work better than vast expanses of turquoise, magenta or neon yellow! Here, a hot pink desk against a bold blue wall is the most eye-catching ingredient of this eclectic open-plan apartment. Look more closely, though, and you’ll see bright red stools sitting by the pink desk, mismatched art, a shelf made from a chunk of wood and dining chairs with bold chevron cushions. All this against a loft-style backdrop of exposed brick and pipework. Despite this array of influences, the space is ordered and bright, and perfectly carries off its eclectic look.
A little clash and contrast gives an eclectic room its energy and that exciting element of surprise. This bedroom has gone for a well-loved combination of black and white, which is not eclectic in and of itself, but when the black is on the bedroom wall and the bedhead is such a striking shape, the look becomes more edgy. Add to the mix a multicoloured bedspread, graphic curtains and masses of cushions in mismatched covers and the eclectic feel is complete.
While balance and order are essential when creating an eclectic space, the look does, nevertheless, invite you to take a more is more approach. In this cloakroom, gorgeous green metro tiles are not paired with a neutral painted wall – that would be missing an eclectic trick! Instead, they sit next to green and turquoise wallpaper with a softly retro pattern.
See more colourful cloakroom schemes
The eclectic look concerns materials and finishes as much as furniture and accessories. Here, a bold tiled floor gives this dining space extension a burst of colour and pattern. It is teamed with a mix of pieces, from industrial-style bar stools to a table that would fit just as well in a country scheme. A mix of vintage paintings adds another eclectic note.
Bold wallpaper, often sporting a graphic pattern, is a classic ingredient of an eclectic room. Forget tiny repeats or blowsy florals, the eclectic look prefers something stronger and crisper. Here, the wallpaper is bold monochrome, which is picked up in the black woodwork, but punctuated with an elaborate chandelier and striking table lamp.
A traditional piece of furniture gains a strongly eclectic feel just by painting it. Here, a trad dining chair suddenly looks fresh and striking painted in zingy yellow. This pops out against the monochrome elements of this home office, but the room is then rounded out with other eclectic elements, including a neutral beige sofa, pretty pink and red cushions and some space-age silver footstools!
The juxtaposition of materials, textures, colours and periods is at the heart of any eclectic scheme. This living room is a study in beautifully balanced eclecticism, with a piece of modern art in popping shades teamed with more traditional artwork. The sofa strikes a classic note, but it’s pepped up with cushions sporting a retro floral pattern. A neutral backdrop and the room’s tidy, ordered feel help all these disparate elements work beautifully together.
Essentially, this bathroom is simply a combination of a traditional white roll-top bath and a grey colour scheme, which doesn’t sound very eclectic – until you see the space. The grey colour, used on everything, including the fireplace, creates a really rich backdrop, but it’s the amazing white chandelier that really steals the show, creating an almost over-the-top focal point and taking what could have been a safe space into gloriously eclectic territory.
Who says tiles need to be laid to form a complete pattern? This cloakroom wall looks far more fresh covered with a selection of tiles, their designs banging up against each other. The same tiles are repeated here and there to prevent the wall looking utterly random, and are actually rather traditional in colour and design. They are then teamed with a super-contemporary basin and funky red tap.
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