Eclectic Decorating | 5 Tips for Success

Designer mentors, professional interior designers Beth and Carolina, founders of Pulp Design Studios in Seattle and Dallas, share 5 great tips for successful eclectic decorating! >>

Eclecticism is quite possibly the hardest style to do well. Eclectic style is all about breaking rules, collecting what you love, and being unique. It takes a bold sense of style and a strong sense of personality to do right. Here are a few tips to achieve eclectic success.

1. Mix & Match – The key to eclecticism is mixing and matching. The heart of a collected look is not being “match-y match-y”. Be sure each piece is something you love & not a part of a large collection. In an eclectic context, your side table should be a different style than your coffee table & your pillows should not be the ones that came with the sofa. It’s all about finding what you love and collecting over time. Mix everything from styles, to metals, to patterns. Be bold, fearless, and design with what you love rather than designing to impress.

2. Collected Details – It’s often times the little things that we collect & find over time that can tell the greatest story of our spaces. You might find a beautiful shell on a meaningful vacation or pick up a great find at a flea market. These little details that are collected over time provide the dialogue of our lives and make a house feel like a home.

3. Be Unexpected – Don’t you love a great conversation piece? It can be humorous or serious, but either way incorporate something that gives your guest something to talk about. Unexpected details can be in the form of a quirky coffee table book or even by finding new uses for old things. In the bathroom above, an old bottle becomes a platform to store and showcase jewelry. An old vase becomes makeup brush storage, elevating the style of objects that are usually tucked away in drawers.

4. Grounding – With all this mixing and matching and added details, the tricky part is tying it all together. In the Living Room pictured above, the fluid art collection is grounded by a subtle stripe painted on the wall and the unmatched furniture grouping is grounded by a large bold rug. It’s important to give your collected objects & furniture a framework to hold the look together.

5. Personal Style – Make sure it’s your own personal style! Eclecticism can vary from Jonathan Adler’s ‘Happy Chic’ look to Judy & Jane Aldridge’s dark edge. Just make sure that it’s yours and that it tells a story about you.

Beth Dotolo, author of this feature, is principal of  Pulp Design Studios,  an Interior Design firm in Dallas. You can also see more of professional photographer Kevin Dotolo ‘s work on his website.

A full list of all our global mentors [ who are top professional interior designers ] on our Mentors Page.

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