Eclectic Decor: Create It With What You Love

Your home decor has become a menage of various period pieces, mixed patterns and colors.  And you love it all.  But the style eclectic has escaped it and your decor looks more like confusion?  Is it really or does it just need some tidying up and a new perspective?

I recently read a fascinating article in Elle Decor by Celia Barbour, HOUSE TOUR: Somber Colors Go Wild And Chic In A Paris Apartment.  It's the apartment of Sig Bergamin, Brazilian architect and designer.  Ms. Barbour writes about Bergamin's departure from the use of "juicy hues and luminous surfaces of his native São Paulo" to the darker more serious hues of Paris.  I admire his attitude towards creating a decor:

I’ve always been fascinated by taking risks, . . . I don’t worry about right or wrong.
— -Sig Bergamin for Elle Decor

Here are a couple of my favorite rooms from the article:

Sig Bergamin Paris apartment living room for Elle Decor

Sig Bergamin Paris apartment living room for Elle Decor

Paris apartment bedroom of Sig Bergamin from Elle Decor

Paris apartment bedroom of Sig Bergamin from Elle Decor

The rooms are masterfully created:  bold and dramatic and filled with fascinating period pieces that each tell their own story and design history.  Yet, simply put--the decor is eclectic.  

The living room (list edited from Elle Decor description):

  • vintage armchairs by Warren Platner flanks; 
  • modern sofa by B&B Italia 
  • orange Pierre Paulin chairs are flea-market finds,;
  • dhurrie rug by Sig Bergamin for By Kamy; and
  • artworks by (from left) Robert Rauschenberg, Gerben Mulder, Andy Warhol, and Michel Comte.

So let's take another look at that living room.  What really makes it  successful?  The hue of color hue,  for one thing.  That is, the intensity of color in some objects are balanced by the neutral colors in other objects, the contrast of light against dark.  Dominating patterns share proportions, even the size of patterns on the pillows as a group.  Then there is the paring and repetition of patterns and colors placed in manner that attends to order.  Mr. Bergamin doesn't concern himself with the "right and wrong" of creating a decor; yet, the underlying visual presence of the living room avoids chaos. 

Now, let's look at a few other successful eclectic decors.

An eclectic room doesn't mean that it has to be overly stuffed with furniture and accessories of various periods, fabric and other materials.  The room above was designed by Darryl Carter for clients living in a Tudor Revival resident outside of Washington, D.C.  Mr. Carter's interior design vision is to take a "low-key approach."

I’m all about hush,” the tastemaker says. “I like things that are subdued, abstract, and subliminal.
— -Darryl Carter for Architectural Digest

Period pieces for this living room include

  • A 19th-century Gustavian bench;
  • slipper chair designed by Carter-designed slipper chair clad in a Glant fabric and a
  • a Regency-style armchair; and a
  • circa-1920 Oushak rug flipped back side up, from Galerie Shabab.
From House Beautiful for stylist Peter Frank's Home

From House Beautiful for stylist Peter Frank's Home

The above eclectic interior design is the living room of Peter Frank. The theme here references the orient with the screened wall hanging of an 18th century Korean screen and accent pillows "made of vintage Japanese patchwork textiles."  Other eclectic elements include

  • contemporary linen slipcover and matching fabric for loosely fitted seat cushions;
  • Ekundu grasscloth walls by Motif Designs;
  • a Merida Meridian tatami rug, woven of twisted paper cord, topped with a contemporary cowhide rug;
  • Poul Kjaerholm cane easy chair from Lost City Arts; and a
  • modern tripod floor lamp and tables.

In all three designer examples, though very different, there is a recurring motif that makes these eclectic styles successful:

  • a theme: whether it is color, period pieces or both
  • order: the underlying classic placement of furniture that is grouped
  • repetition:  patterns, color or fabrics
  • confidence:  the absence of fear to achieve a desired, defined effect

Eclectic decors are always an adventure and filled with interesting furnishings, art and objects.  You tell a lot about yourself in what you collect and share with the rest of the world in your home, whether it's a piece handed down from family, something you found in an antique store or flea market find or your favorite modern furniture store. 

How do you share your eclectic finds in your home?  Oh please, do tell!!

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