Eclectic interiors- we love to love them, but the natural, layered look is deceptively hard to pin down. By looking at a range of ways different interior designers interpret the elusive style, I'm going to help you get the look in your own home, with a handy list of tips and tricks to make your living space sing. Ready? Lets take a look at some beautifully curated and balanced spaces.
Eclectic style is defined by the mixing and matching of design ideas and features from a variety of eras and periods, hopefully combining to create a cohesive, layered feel to a space.
Designer Henri Fitzwilliam-Lay's Ferney Hall was a huge design project- a Shropshire country house derelict since before the war and had very few original features. While not many of us could dream of renovating such a beautiful, large space, you can see from this lounge in particular the expert use of balance in the choice of colour, artwork and furnishings.
I wanted to bring the house into the 20th Century while respecting its historical roots. It was a house that would need to showcase many different styles and eras and show that when well curated they all work well together. - Henri Fitzwilliam-Lay
Fitzwilliam-Lay has revived the original Victorian woodwork and ribbed plasterwork ceilings, but then has made reference to a wonderful range of periods and styles; from the sixties artwork to the ceramic lions flanking the fireplace. She achieves this tricky feat by using colour to hold the mix of textures, patterns and styles in perfect balance.
Different textures in the wallpaper; the rich velvet of the couch juxtaposed with the sheen of the glass coffee table and the rich mix of artworks all lend this space a depth which could easily be emulated in a more modest space.
And now for something completely different... Martyn Thompson is best known for his photography of still-lifes and interiors; work he has translated into his collections of Jacquard woven textiles, furniture and wallpapers.
His live/work Manhattan loft is a constantly changing landscape of new artworks, murals and found objects, depending on what project he is working on. But the unifying feature in this eclectic interior is the richly textural fabrics; artistic splatters in subdued colours sit pretty with photographic representations of flowers in similarly subdued tones; all adding up to a patterned feast for the eyes.
Combined with soft linens, Indian quilts and roughly woven rugs, his tapestry-like textiles are used to create cushions that are odd, pebble like shapes which add to the organic, raw mood of the space giving a classic, lived in feeling.
Although the initial impression is one of chaos, Martyn Thompson uses soft, worn fabrics of a similar weight and tonal quality to bring his every changing apartment into a sensual equilibrium.
Eclectic doesn't necessarily have to mean cluttered- Dimore Studio (always a favourite of mine!) reference '70s glamour, Art Deco, post futuristic references (those carpets!) and a mix of materials and textures all in this one space at Salone del Mobile this year.
Their showroom apartment in Milan was a genius mix of all of the above styles but in a pared back, thoughtful and balanced way. A masterclass in control and flair.
Once again, colour is key to making this space work. The designers have used colour from floor to ceiling in these rooms, even covering the door frames and skirting boards, and designing the carpets to sit beautifully within each room's colour scheme. The effect is cocoon-like, and quiet which one would not expect from such an eclectic collection of styles, objects and accessories.
Equally the accessories lend themselves to not making the colour too overwhelming by the fact that the combinations are so unexpected; the colour and the selection of styles balance each other out to perfection.
To recreate this look in your own home and make the concept more "liveable", look to the moody lighting, rich colours and clashes of materials and textures.
You can read my blog post about how to use dark wall colours in your home here, and there will be more to come soon about using seemingly clashing colours in your home.
Tips & Tricks: How to get the look in your home
- Aim for layered and collected not busy and distracting.
- Use colour as a unifying factor throughout your design. All of the designers we've looked at use colour in some way or another to bring different styles together.
- When picking colours for your walls, paint them onto boards or card not straight onto the wall. Colours together can completely change the way they look and make it more difficult to choose the best tone. Also these boards can be taken with you as swatches when shopping for fabrics and furniture- useful!
- Eclectic accessories are having a moment right now and are great for providing a focal point in amongst all your layered pieces! Playful ceramics, hand-me-downs and fleamarket gems feel so at home when layered, if carefully curated
- When choosing accessories and artworks look for details that will link seemingly random objects together. A colour; a highlight; a shape or scale.
- Combining different textures adds depth to a room. Contrasting smooth, lustrous velvet with a chunky knit or textured weave adds interest. More in the coming weeks on how to choose different textiles for different spaces so stay tuned!