The new eclecticism


The key to creating a distinctive, personal style is combining styles, colours and patterns, according to Country Life’s Giles Kime.

There are rooms you can identify at fifty paces; from Scandinavian and French country to Minimalist and Mid Century and while there’s a certain logic to this stylistic consistency, it doesn’t leave much room for expressing one’s own personal tastes.

At the heart of the new eclectic mood in interior design is the idea that we should all be the masters of our own style; like mixing paint on a palette, the possibilities of combining different styles are almost infinite. The secret is to do so without creating chaos; eclecticism needs to be just as carefully considered as any other style.

The breadth and depth of OKA’s designs make it the perfect hunting ground for furniture, lighting and accessories that will create rooms that sing with your own personal style.

1. Coherence not clutter

Eclecticism is about mixing styles rather than accumulating clutter. Careful editing and clever presentation are key.

2. Accent colours

A common colour will ensure that a collection of cushions or ceramics wont look chaotic.

3. A splash of pattern

As well as cushions, rugs and ottomans, patterned lamp shades offer a brilliant way to add a splash of pattern without committing to patterned curtains.

4. Take to the floor

Be bold when planning floors – a chic, multicoloured rug will pull a look together.

5. Create a moody backdrop

When a scheme includes a variety of colours and styles, a deep, rich paint such as Edward Bulmer’s Tingry helps to draw them all together.

6. Go as modern as you dare

Even just one or two contemporary pieces are essential in an eclectic scheme, however classic.

7. Two’s company

Use symmetry to impose structure on a table, shelf or mantelpiece with a pair of lamps or urns. The same goes for armchairs, they always look better in twos and add structure to the corner of a room.

8. Group dynamics

Collections of the same objects such as prints, plaster moulds, and paperweights always look better when they are displayed in groups, rather than on their own.

9. Creating a tablescape

A carefully considered arrangement is at the heart of an eclectic scheme and they rely on some unifying characteristics to achieve coherence, such as a colour or a metallic finish. Hierarchy is also key; surround a large item such as a vase or bust with smaller items to create structure.

10. Floral symphonies

Flowers – real or faux – add a finishing flourish to an eclectic scheme.

For more ideas on how to make a scheme unique, visit our Inspiration page which is brimming with stylish looks.