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Eclectic Interior Design

Eclecticism is a design and art movement that draws its inspiration from many possibly diverse sources rather than subscribing to any specific style or theme. In fact it is an ancient philosophy that dates back to the ancient Greeks who constructed their ideas on the world by mixing and matching from various doctrines.

To understand how eclecticism relates to interior design, we will first look at eclectic art. There are two ways of viewing this. Eclecticism is a formal artistic movement of the19th century which followed Neo-classicism, but it is also a general philosophy by which a single work of art is created by juxtaposing elements from various artistic styles which may be classical or modern. Thus, in interior design, eclecticism is not a specific style; rather it is an approach or a general philosophy. Eclecticism is characterised by the very fact that it is not a style.

The approach to eclectic interior design is the combination of various elements and styles encompassing various time periods and sourced from various origins. If this sound chaotic, and it is understandable that it might for truly it sounds as if there is a danger of creating the look of a second hand furniture store, the clever part of eclectic interior design is to combine these different elements in a way that creates harmony rather than discord.

If we are successful in our eclectic project than we will create a living space that has an inspiring overall look, that will be artistically tasteful, and which will have a connectivity that makes the design come together as a single entity. To achieve this it will be necessary to devote a considerable amount of effort, logical though and creativity to the project. Just throwing together a few pieces of furniture such as a modern sofa bed and some antique armchairs will not create the desired effect.

The major element attributes that we can use to create our unified look are colour and form. The simplest of these to understand is colour, which is a very strong unifier. Traditional furniture tends to be quite bold in colouring, with rich reds and blues and sumptuous fabrics. This suggests two approaches to incorporating these pieces in a modern setting. One is to place them in an entirely neutral environment so if we add say a three seater sofa we would choose one in neutral colours. Alternatively we can echo the colour of the traditional items in our modern pieces, possibly toned down somewhat; for instance we could harmonise a bright red period armchair with a modern chair finished in a much lighter and different shade of red.

Creating harmony with form can be more challenging, however an approach that can work very well is harmonising two disparate elements by interjecting a third element that embodies the form or line of the other two; some examples of these unifying elements are sculptures, lamps, and artwork. If you have a reasonably good eye for form this is not difficult especially if you enjoy exploring antique shops and second hand furniture stores.

Creating an eclectic interior is above all else a great deal of fun and an opportunity to be very creative. It is probable that you will find that it is an ongoing project that will never quite come to an end as you will always have your eyes open for that special something that you can incorporate.