As a designer, I work with such a wide array of interior styles, sometimes glamorous, sometimes calm, sometimes bold. But by far, the most difficult to achieve is the eclectic interior. When done right, this style appears completely effortless and therein lies its appeal. It is a relaxed yet confident style, rich with personality.
The concept of the Eclectic Interior has traditionally been associated with the English, cottage style, with its cluttered mix of objects and artifacts. Do you recall Kate Winslet’s delightfully romantic English country cottage in the movie
This is what most people think of when they hear the term eclectic home. But eclectic interiors don’t have to be busy and old fashioned.
At Design Intervention, we are increasingly using the term “Modern Eclectic” to describe homes that ooze originality but in a fresh and contemporary way. In our globalized world, interiors are becoming homogenized as this year’s latest Milan offerings are showcased, almost immediately, to anyone with internet access. Shopping Malls across the world offer identical products and anything absent can easily be ordered on-line. Creating a singular home has become increasingly challenging and eclectic design, with its unexpected combination of elements, is emerging as a popular choice amongst homeowners, looking to add a unique signature to a homes.
The rule to achieving an eclectic look is that there are no rules to follow and that is precisely why it is so difficult to achieve. These interiors delight in an unstructured mix of elements, from an array of design styles and eras – where everything works together to set the mood. They are works of art composed of the basic elements of interior design, crafted with a careful eye to ensure a balance that appears effortless but in fact is anything but.
An eclectic room combines seemingly disparate objects: old with new, flat with shiny, plain with intricate-juxtaposing colour, scale, pattern and texture to create a room that is totally unique. It is NOT about piling on object on top of object. Remember my design motto, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should!” This style requires restraint above all else. The look is derived from the combination of elements and how they work to enhance each other. What you leave out is just as important as what you put in and including plain elements to allow the eye a place to rest is critical.
Eclectic homes can reflect whatever mood you wish to create. They can be crisp and fresh or vivacious and glamorous depending on the combination of the items that you include. Think about the atmosphere you wish to create in your home and then begin selecting and combining the various elements accordingly.
In the dining room above, we have adhered to a neutral palette of grey, black and white. The omission of colour is key to achieving the serenity that the owner wanted. The cold steel arms of the mid-century Bruno chairs, balances the rustic charm of the antique rain drums that forms the base of the table. A glass tabletop keeps the look cool and fresh and a console formed from poured concrete anchors the space.
In the dining room below, however, it is the very inclusion of colour that is the linchpin of the design as the colour of the furnishings echo the tones of the art work, thus, providing a cohesive backdrop for the art collection. Notice how this eclectic setting enables us to show case art from widely different genres: in this home, modern art sits comfortably alongside antique textiles and Pop Art posters, in a home designed to best highlight a homeowner’s disparate art collection.
And who says that Eclectic rooms cannot be glamorous?
In this uber-sexy bedroom, a classic French armoire sits against a tropical leaf print mural, framed by antique Indian columns. This is a dramatic room full of vitality.
These are all very different homes, with their own inimitable vibe, designed for very different clients. They each have a unique, natural look that resonates with charm and charisma. The beauty of eclectic design is that these homes don’t feel contrived. On the contrary, they feel spontaneous as if they have evolved over years to truly reflect the character of their owners.
***Please get a copy of Singapore Tatler Homes, December issue for my Design Speak article.