When I was in design school I learned A LOT about different eras of design and architecture. We learned about movements and revivals and all the nuances that defined each one. As with anything, there are some that I loved and some that I’m happy to do without but one thing that ‘History of Interiors’ did teach me was that every design style deserves respect.
Where I once would have seen a chair that looked ‘fancy’ I now see that the legs are Georgian where the seat back is Rococo and the fabric seat cushion isn’t period correct. After you’ve literally been tested about furniture, art work, fabric, and even plates – you never really look at them the same. I think this is where my love for an eclectic home began.
I would be at a second hand store and find something that reminded me of a classic style that I love and I would take it home with me. From then on I never really worried about finding pieces that ‘matched’. I pick things up for my own house when I find something that interests me and I worry about where to put it later. The best part about an eclectic style is the more you collect the easier to becomes to introduce it into your space.
I do follow a few rules when finding pieces to add to my ever expanding eclectic collection.
1. Love it. After years of buyer’s remorse I never buy anything that is just “okay”. I proudly say that every piece in my home is something that I really appreciate and every piece has something that attracted me to it. If it makes me do a double take in the store, there is a good chance it’s going in my basket!
2. Make it meaningful. The piece needs to mean something to you! Maybe that lamp reminds you of something your grandparents had in their house, or like for me, the color navy always reminds me of my mom. Select pieces that remind you of something cheerful in your life, then every time you see it you have a memory or person to associate with it.
3. Value quality. It is true that quality pieces CAN be more expensive but if you find something that you really love, spend a little extra and get something that is going to stand the test of time. It is also true that ‘they don’t make it like they used to’ so don’t rule out estate sales and auctions for finding quality pieces that aren’t going to cost you a fortune.
4. Craftsmanship. I love finding pieces that have handmade characteristics. This is part of the reason that I like needlework art and quilts so much, I enjoy thinking about the person that created it and what they drew their inspiration from.
5. Opposites Attract. It can be overwhelming to incorporate things with a lot of different colors and styles into a single space. Try positioning things that oppose each other near one another. You have an old wooden book end – try pairing it with a sleek modern lamp. The two pieces create a visual contrast with one another and force the viewer to gaze longer creating more interest.
6. Repetition. Anytime I find a pair or triplet of something, I buy the set! This allows me to either group them together in a vignette or spread them out within a space to create visual continuity. Using an orange throw pillow on your couch? Try finding a piece of art work that is stylistically different but uses a punch of orange. This will help the viewer’s eye travel around the room identifying common threads that make the space feel both cohesive as well unique.
What is your favorite way of adding personal style into your home?