We learn to combine the incongruous, balancing a fine line between a thoughtful interior and complete chaos.
Many people associate eclecticism in the interior with a riot of colors and a mixture of absolutely everything that can and cannot be mixed. This is partly true: this style involves freedom of action, bold decisions, and unusual combinations. But in the design of a comfortable interior 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 intersection of different styles.
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, and sometimes Gothic. European architects tried to find something new, move away from classical canons, and rethink the appearance of buildings. Gradually, this approach extended to the interior design, and the number of ingredients for a possible stylistic cocktail expanded.
Today, the eclectic style in the interior is a skillful and thoughtful combination of incompatible things. Futuristic furniture against a background of classic decoration, loft aesthetics with ethnic elements, and 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 ethnic.
1. It’s based on an idea
The rule applies to the design of any interior, but in the case of a combination of styles, it is especially important. If pure stylistics have a clear and understandable set of canons, according to which, like bricks at a time, you can assemble a visual image of the room, then in this case it is very easy to slip into a set of chaotic elements that do not combine with each other, which simply clutter up the space.
Therefore, an eclectic design should always obey some idea, and be a reflection of the owner’s inner world. Whether you love modern art, travel often, or you are impressed by the combination of brutality and tenderness – all of this can form the basis for home design. Then all the details will be selected meaningfully, match each other in spirit and ultimately become the embodiment of the life philosophy of the inhabitants of the house or apartment. It is possible to create such a mix artificially, but only personal tastes and ideas reflected in each design element will add real zest.
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 a larger number will make it difficult to make friends with each other. These can be directions from different eras and parts of the world. The overall look of the space will depend on what components you choose for the “cocktail”: it could be a restrained and monochrome classic-futurist pair, a motley kitschy look, or a new interpretation of eco-design with oriental notes.
3. Common denominator
Regardless of which direction you choose, eclecticism in interior design requires the presence of a unifying factor. It is he who will visually connect the shreds of other styles so that everything looks harmonious together.
This role can be played by a common color, a repeating shape, the same texture, or an ornament in different interpretations.
Depending on what is chosen as the common denominator, this connection can be clearly or veiledly traced – for example, the general shape of the smooth curves of furniture and ceiling design.
4. Connecting elements
In addition to the common base, all contrasting elements must be additionally 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 to visually connect modern designer furniture with typical baroque decoration, loft with romantic details, Chinese motifs with colonial style, etc.
5. Playing with colors
The palette is one of the key elements of this direction. Since the canons of the styles used can be violated, this is an excellent reason to play with colors and break stereotypes: for example, add one piece of furniture or an acid-colored accessory to the classic living room setting, 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 tacky hall. Here are some tips when working with color schemes.
- 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, to decorate walls, floors, or ceilings), the second for furniture and accent finishing details, and the third and fourth – as accents and those very connecting bridges.
- Forget about the “white top, black bottom” principle and the mandatory use of white in small spaces. A black ceiling, dark walls in a small kitchen, a controversial combination of green and purple – in eclecticism you can safely realize any desires contrary to the general rules.
- Maintain 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 elements of the palette according to saturation, and experiment with shades and color temperatures.
- Decide what will be the main thing in the interior. If you want to highlight the decor (especially when it comes to paintings and posters), the colors of the decorations should be neutral so as not to distract attention from them. If the focus shifts to textures, shapes of furniture, and color itself, you can make a choice in favor of rich contrasting solutions.
6. Focus on decor
Eclectic design is impossible without decoration. 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.
- Art Gallery. Cover the wall with posters or paintings, turning it into the main accent. To prevent such a quantity of decor from looking 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 against 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 backdrop of an Impressionist reproduction.
- Classic with a modern twist. An easy way to create a wow effect and attract attention to the decor is to give familiar and understandable images a new interpretation. For example, paint an antique bust in a bright color or frame a modern interpretation of a famous painting.
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, and gradually create a unique space, filling it with objects dear to the heart with their own unique history. These could be vintage pieces of furniture from a flea market; a set left over from grandma or an old sofa; paintings by young artists; art objects created independently during the master class; gifts from familiar craftsmen; travel souvenirs, etc.
Ideas for different rooms
The living room, being a formal room, provides maximum opportunities for self-expression. Here you can arrange an entire art gallery, put together your favorite decor, and place bold accents. A reception with a large chandelier or any ceiling lamp that immediately attracts attention looks very interesting. The main thing is to maintain balance. If the emphasis is on decor, then the decoration should be as neutral as possible, and the furniture should be relatively calm in color and ornaments. If, on the contrary, the focus is on a bright sofa or vintage armchairs, it is better to reduce the number of active decorative elements.
The main goal of the bedroom is to create a cozy and relaxing atmosphere. An abundance of assorted textiles (layering is welcome!), 2-3 types of curtains, a real mini-garden of indoor plants, and your favorite accessories will help with this: figured candlesticks, figurines, a mirror, a clock, etc.
The color scheme can be any: 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 lavish decor, you can experiment with colors and textures. These can be contrasting combinations at the base of the palette; large accent lights; a combination of several textures (marble, tile, wood) and prints; designer decor and art objects; and unusual fittings.
As in the kitchen, in the bathroom, the design is primarily aimed at solving practical issues, and the space most often does not allow you to roam around. 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 are good); unpretentious living plants in beautiful flowerpots; accent fittings and lamps; bright textiles; mirrors in a figured frame; paintings or posters.
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