Eclectic styling is a vague classification. Unlike 'minimalism' or shabby 'chic', where its looks are easily recognisable, eclectic styling's only definable elements is the feeling of stylish discord - that everything shouldn't work but it does.
'Eclectic' is defined as the derivation of ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources. A lot of people seem to define their style as eclectic as it seems to be a nice catch-all phrase for when their decor encompasses a lot of disparate elements. Eclectic also seems to be interchangeable with 'quirky' or 'kitschy', which to my mind are slightly different styles - incorporating a sense of irony into the mix.
It's a tough style to pull off well - simply because there are no rules to keep the space grounded - and it's easy to go overboard with too many different pieces screaming for attention in one space. So here are five pointers to help you achieve eclectic chic without making your home look like it belongs on Hoarders.
1. Anchor pieces
You can get away with mixing many different pieces in one space as long as there's one (maximum two) pieces that effectively draw the eye first. That's the way your eyes work, so it's really visually pleasing when you allow the eye to catch one or two stand-out pieces before you show the other pieces too. In the room above the bold black room lamps are allowed to dominate and are mirrored by the modern chess set. The LOVE cushion adds a cute sense of whimsy and bold coloured artwork holds it all together and adds to the sense of depth. Winning.
2. Contrast is your friend
You can't do eclectic charm half-heartedly. Every piece needs to be displayed with purpose. We love that the modern collage of polaroids above the mantelpiece contrast wildly with the classic armchair and roses. What's keeping these two disparate pieces together is that lovely sense of continuity from the recurring pinks, yellows and golds that have been woven into the room. Which brings us to...
3. Find continuity in different things
Continuity and symmetry help visually tie a room together. When you look at the picture above your first evidence of continuty is the bold use of yellow in the sofa and chair, right? Yes. But look further. See how the geometric book shelf mirrors the geometric patterns in the rug? And also in the cube coffee tables? It's these recurring shapes that give these otherwise disparate pieces a sense of continuity.
4. Clash patterns with an anchor
Adding patterns through different textiles can add a lot of interest and movement to a room. If you like the idea of clashing prints the key is to keep them tonal and apply them with a good sense of space and perspective. By this I mean spread patterned items of varying sizes and shapes sparingly. In the picture above the orange patterned chair works well the rug because they both contain splashes of each other's colours in them. And the monochrome cushion creates a stark contrast against both prints, effectively anchoring them.
You'll also notice the subtle clashing of prints in the room behind the chair - the striped rug against the floral wallpaper against the oriental vases - they're all in the same pastel colour family, which again creates continuity.
5. Go Bold or Go Home
The reason eclectic styling is such a popular trend is because it unequivocally represents you. So don't be afraid to go all out and do someting fun like feature a monochrome retro photo wall like this room above. Just remember to try and exercise some restraint in your choices. The room above does this by keeping all the furnishings so restrained - the neutral sofa and glass coffee table means that all your focus is on the walls - and because of that, you're never overwhelmed.
Do you have any tips for eclectic style? Share them with us on Twitter @moraapproved
And does your mum have eclectic style? Then spoil her with a special piece from our Mother's Day edit! (And score free shipping while you're at it!)
Image sources 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6