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6 Tips for Mixing Design Styles

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, by Robert Abbey

6 Tips for Mixing Interior Design Styles

The most striking interiors rarely follow a singular design style. An eclectic aesthetic
is a fine art, and getting it right can make for a more dynamic, interesting space.
Here’s how to get there.

These days, it’s a rarity to find a home that is completely one design style. Not only is matchy-matchy kind of boring, but it pigeonholes you when it comes to finding awesome pieces that aren’t part of that singular design.

Why miss out on a velvet Victorian settee you love just because your home is mid-century modern? You don’t have to, if you do things right.

Here are our 6 tips for creating a space that’s a little of this, a little of that—and 100% you.

1. Be consistent.

It might seem funny to say, but probably the most important thing in creating an eclectic design style is consistency. If one room is eclectic and the rest of the home is uber-contemporary, it doesn’t look eclectic as much as cluttered and disjointed. Basically—while not every room has to have the same level of eclecticism—you want to carry a mixed look throughout the home.

2. Consider proportion and layout.

While the novelty of eclectic design might encourage experimentation in placement as well as choice of pieces, you still want your space to be livable and feel comfortable. When arranging larger pieces, always be sure to consider flow and that a piece doesn’t overwhelm (or underwhelm) in a room.

3. Avoid clutter.

Sometimes, when people think of eclectic design, they envision lots of quirky accessories, throw pillows, stacks of dusty books, etc. Basically, it’s a space that evokes lots of creativity without a lot of organization. But being eclectic doesn’t mean collecting all the things and stuffing them into your space. Take a step back and ask yourself if your space feels creative and inspirational…or a bit like you’re hoarding.

4. Choose a focal point.

If there’s too much going on everywhere, people could feel overwhelmed and not know where to look. Find that one amazing piece that you really want to show off. Make that piece the star of a space and then arrange other items around it to point your guests' gazes in the right direction.

5. Mix complementary colors and patterns.

Injecting a variety of colors into a space is a great way to start an eclectic design. But you also want the variety of colors to enhance each other, not clash. Not sure where to begin? Stop by your local paint store and play around with swatches. Or take your cue from the color experts at Pantone to find palettes that might be unexpected but work well together.

As with colors, too many different and incongruous patterns can be confounding and dizzying instead of interesting. Keep your pattern variants limited, and then incorporate them into every space to achieve a cohesive look throughout the home.

6. Look for themes in related styles.

Lots of different design styles actually pair together quite easily. For example, the sleek, fluid lines of Asian design are great complements to the clean, straight lines of the Arts and Crafts movement. Ornate, gilded Louis XIV armchairs are fun contrasts around a contemporary sofa.

Conversely, you can start your eclectic design scheme based on the one singular theme that touches you most: artist’s loft, modern steampunk, Paris salon, world traveler’s lair. From there, it’s easy to design and incorporate all kinds of pieces to create a space that you love and tells your story.