Styling your home can be a minefield. We are bombarded from all sides by magazines, television and social media telling us how we should decorate, what's on trend and what's not, what's cool and what isn't. The opportunities for decor faux pas seem endless.
My own personal style has evolved into what I would call eclectic over the past years and it's met with various reactions from visiting guests. Some absolutely love it. Some say nothing at all and I know damn well they are thinking, how much shit is it possible to cram into one house? So please be clear - I know this is not everyone's bag. But if you like the idea and think that you may have a hint of the eclectic about you, here are the rules of the game.
Rule Number 1 - There Are No Rules
Eclecticism as a word means a conceptual approach that doesn't hold to a set of rules, but instead draws upon multiple styles or ideas to make the end result more interesting. This totally sums up my way of decorating. I ignore (nearly) all the rules. It's all about gut instinct. I'm not interested in practical although if it turns out to be practical then that's a bonus. I understand the concept of colour blending and matchy matchy but I don't buy into it. That's my starting point. As I said at the beginning, the idea is that your personality is reflected through your scheme and if you are restricted in your home decor then how can that shine through? So take those rule books down to the charity shop right this second.
Like It? Buy It!
i absolutely love searching for bargain home accessories and as I said in previous posts, the charity shop is my Mecca (I'm talking the holy city by the way, not the bingo hall). I buy and collect based purely on visual appeal. Most of the time, I'm not thinking of where it will go. If I have a space for it, great. I have a cupboard in the dining room which is like a 'holding bay' for items that have no home at the present time. Despite this making me sound like I'm one of those people who have a storage unit at the local Big Yellow, it's actually quite practical. If you follow me on Instagram you will notice that I am a big fan of moving things around. I don't like anything to stay in the same place for too long. Often Joe comes home and has no idea which room is which. So, even if something I buy doesn't have an immediate home, you can guarantee that at some point it will taken out and placed when I am restyling my rooms. If you are not sticking to a colour scheme or theme, then you can move anything anywhere.
Mix It Up, Baby
This is my absolutely favourite part of styling. I am obsessed with mid century furniture. Talking of which, is the sideboard drinks cabinet not the most practical storage item of all time? I can't understand why they stopped making them. The same applies to pantry's, another hugely practical addition to the home that was scrapped when they started producing fitted kitchen units. It's a travesty. Anyway, sorry, back to the point. Mixing old and new always looks super cool. A vintage table with a modern typography print. Or a modern table with a vintage floral print. The juxtaposition (love that word) of this combination is always a winner. Even the marrying of my vintage 60's glass desk and my Mac brings me happiness.
Symmetry - To Be Or Not To Be
The entire concept of eclecticism doesn't really lend itself to symmetry. I seriously struggle with it and have palpitations if things look like they might even vaguely be matched in terms of size. My bedside lamps are currently matching and it's actually disturbing my sleep pattern. However, that's not to say that I don't totally appreciate the beauty of a symmetrical arrangement - it can look absolutely stunning, particularly in formal gardens. And I love the natural arrangement of two sofas facing each other around a fireplace. As it is and should always be with interior design, it's personal choice.
A collection of anything always draws the eye. Glassware, books, mirrors, pictures. If it's got something in common that you like, then bring it together with other similar items. My insta friend, @lou_a_watkins, is currently curating a wall of women for her sitting room and has gathered modern, vintage, tray style, you name it, she's found it. Put together in a group, they immediately take your focus. I've been collecting art deco mirrors for the last ten years, never spending more than £10. It's taken a while but I have a wall full now and they are an immediate attention grabber. Coloured glass always looks beautiful and can be picked up for mere pounds at the charity shops and fairs. Or concentrate on items of one particular colour. I used to collect white china, both super modern and very vintage kitsch and the combination of them all together was a stunner. And my collection of religious images is about to be resurrected much to Joe's delight.
Welcome Trends But Don't Be Led By Them
I am not a follower of trends, but that's not to say that I don't think that they have their place in home decorating. Magazines are always pushing the latest trend but sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming when they shoot entire room shots in the same colour or style. You can't see how you can fit that into your scheme so you turn the page. Eclecticism is all about bringing together a wide range of different styles to achieve the aim you want. It's totally up to you which part of a new trend you want to incorporate, whether it be a colour, a texture or a particular style. I'm currently still a little obsessed with metallics although am probably a bit late to the party on that one as I think they were trending about six months ago.
Dark Side Or Light Side? Does It Matter?
One of the brilliant positives about eclecticism is that it doesn't matter whether you are into dark interiors or light, this look can work both ways. There are some stunning examples on Instagram of both of these styles - the Abigail Ahern, dark walls, dark everything school of thought and the polar opposite which is the neutral, natural decor, California stylie thrift shop laid back vibe. Both of these are strongly eclectic and yet they promote totally different ways of living. Some examples of Instagram feeds who do this just brilliantly are @cowboykate_ and @liz_kamarul both of whom take eclecticism to a new level yet have completely different feels to their homes.
In reality, your home should be an creative expression of your personality. Somewhere you can feel surrounded by things that bring back memories and make you feel grounded when you walk in the door. You want to be able to flop down into the sofa with a cup of tea (or possibly gin) and breathe a sigh of relief that you are in your happy place. You want to look around and feel content with what you've achieved in your space. Although if I'm going to be completely honest, if you are an eclectic decorator, you are never, ever content. Be transient. Change rocks.