A few months ago, an overwhelming number of interior designers predicted that true eclecticism would be one of the top trends to dominate homes everywhere in 2017. While we already know better than to purchase furniture in sets, it seems that when it comes to décor, we are still a little too concerned with making sure everything "matches"—but this is soon to be a thing of the past.
We won't see as many interiors that are entirely midcentury, bohemian, or nautical. Instead, homes will be feeling more eclectic and unexpected than ever. Interior designer Brian McCarthy gave us his forecast: "My crystal ball is showing less thematic interiors replaced with more layered, cultured, and eclectic combinations of architecture and design."
While we all love the layered look—where all styles seem to effortlessly come together to form an elegant whole—achieving the look is far less easy. Just like some It girls seem to have a knack for wearing T-shirts over dresses, dresses over pants, and sneakers with sequins, some interior designers seem to be able to mix Italian Giò Ponti chairs with an 18th-century commode without breaking a sweat.
For others like us—who prefer wearing sneakers with jeans and dresses without pants, taking the leap into truly eclectic décor can be intimidating. To help you achieve this layered, cultured, and worldly look, we laid down some rules that will help you mix and match with ease. Let go of all your preconceived notions of periods and styles; this is how you achieve true eclecticism.
When mixing different periods and styles, keeping a neutral or monochrome color palette gives the space a coherent theme. In his apartment, interior designer Charlie Ferrer mixed contemporary chairs with an antique console and a vintage rug, but because all the pieces are in shades of cream, camel, and warm wood, the space feels put-together and elegant.
Hand-me-downs and heirloom pieces passed down from our parents or grandparents may feel a little stuffy and out-of-place in our modern homes, but by surrounding them with modern pieces, it's possible to give them a whole new life. In this London dining room, designer Sophie Ashby mixed antique dining chairs with a streamlined bench to create a layered and eclectic dining setting that's fresh and sophisticated.
Courtesy of Studio Ashby
When dealing with more traditional pieces and settings, don't be afraid to be whimsical with your décor and give your antiques a playful touch. In her New Orleans home, designer and former editor Sara Ruffin Costello played with the old-world grandeur of her historic house by mixing classic pieces with bold prints and adorning an urn on the mantel with an African headrest.
If you're going to be mixing styles, periods, and patterns, be ready to take a chance. In this vibrant dining room, interior designer Amanda Nisbet mixed silk taffeta and bamboo chairs in bold prints with an ultra-modern chandelier from Gabriel Scott. The result is unexpected and fresh.
As much as people are reticent to blend styles that might not match together, bold contrasts are usually what catches the eye in a great interior. Use contrasts in colors and shape to your advantage: Try a combination of black and white, or place an über-modern piece next to an ornate antique one. These moments in your décor will be attention-grabbing and memorable.
If this is your first foray into decorating and you are hesitant to mixing periods and styles, try guiding your choices by sticking to a specific theme. Are you looking for a lush tropical greenhouse look? Maybe you want a dramatic moody library? Giving yourself a clear thematic angle can help guide your choices when decorating with different styles. Draw inspiration from a movie or TV show you love, and pick pieces around that theme.
What are you passionate about? Is it contemporary art or craft cocktails? Whatever your interests, let them guide your aesthetic choices at home. Mixing styles comes more naturally when each piece tells a story about who you are as a person. This is the one thing interior photographers notice the most about the homes they photograph—so don't be afraid to be very personal with your décor.
Remember: you can never go wrong if you go with what you love. For our CEO Katherine Power, this is a mix of well-curated antiques sprinkled with modern elements. Do you have an affinity for vintage Turkish rugs? Are you a fan of Danish modern chairs? Do you love antique French dressers? None of these things have any ties to a particular style, place, or period, but they will go well together if you truly love each piece.