Eclectic Solutions for Lackluster Spaces

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Despite our best intentions, design choices can sometimes leave a room looking a little flat. Yes, everything “matches,” the furniture is comfy, and the arrangement is functional. You may have even followed expert advice to a T in hopes of recreating a room that’s magazine-worthy. Yet… something is missing.

My solution for this home decor malaise? Dissonance, “a tension or clash resulting from the combination of two disharmonious or unsuitable elements.” It’s the curious touch of eclecticism that immediately elevates a design. Some naturally mix a range of styles, but if you need a little push, here are three surefire projects to enliven your space.

Use an Unexpected Pairing in the Dining Room

Eclectic Solutions
Image: Nuevo Estilo

Did you buy your dining table and chairs as a set? Don’t worry. You’re not alone. Many fall victim to what I call the dreaded Ps, “popular and prepackaged,” the trendy, manufactured looks developed to sell products. The solution to your dining woes is too easy to pass up. Simply swap the chairs, or table, for something completely different. In fact, I recommend this to anyone whose table/chair pairing is of the same style. Switch it up and add instant eclecticism!

Dinning Room
Image: Nuevo Estilo

Accessorize with Global Objects

Living Room
Image: A contemporary living room with global accents by Danielle Colding

I recently asked HGTV’s Danielle Colding about her go-to tips and tricks for an eclectic space. She was quick to reference the infusion of global objects, citing the mix of African masks and contemporary furniture as one of her favorite things. Taking a cue from Danielle, try accessories inspired by faraway places to add interest and texture. Whether from personal travels or your local home goods store, such elements can enliven rooms of various styles.

Image: A Turkish suzani with midcentury modern furniture by Elle Décor

Create an Eclectic Art Wall

Colorful Wall
Image: Salon wall by Jonathan Adler

If your room lacks personality, it may be time to rethink your art strategy. Replace that floral triptych or perfectly framed jazz poster with a salon-style art wall. For the salon wall novice, use the floor to experiment with your composition. Many recommend working from the center out. Conversely, designer Jonathan Adler hangs three pictures and then fills in with smaller ones. Whichever method you use, be sure to mix styles and themes (photography, old world masters, abstract works, kiddie scribbles, etc.) for eclectic flair.

Wall Art
Image: Salon wall by Architectural Digest

I should warn you that as an eclecticism enthusiast, I’m partial to using its principles as a design remedy. What are your solutions for curing the design blahs?

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Desiré is a designer, blogger, and lover of all things glamorous. Though primarily a self-taught decorator, Desiré studied at The Art Institute, where she honed a distinct aesthetic largely influenced by the Modern Glamour movement, the theme of her popular design blog, Sukio. Not only is she considered a "closet fashionista," discreetly stashing handbags and shoes whenever possible, but, as an MIT graduate, she’s also an undercover nerd. Fashion, nerdom, and several years as a Washingtonian have combined to shape her unique perspective on interior design.