As haphazard and unplanned as it may seem at first glance, the real driving forces behind the eclectic style are a dash of confidence and a whole lot of restraint. An eclectic space isn’t messy – far from it, actually. Its chaos is tightly controlled and there’s a definite method to its madness.
It’s very easy to turn a kitchen into a train wreck, but transforming it into a true eclectic space can take a lot of time and effort. To help you realize your dream eclectic kitchen, here are a few important design tips to keep in mind.
Don’t tie yourself down to one style. Eclectic is, at its heart, a mishmash of different design styles tied together with the homeowner’s own personal style. A rustic farmhouse kitchen with ultramodern light fixtures and a bit of Asian flair? Go for it! What about an irreverent mix of modern floor tiles and cabinets with a big, ornate table and chandelier as centerpieces? The different and unexpected thrive in the eclectic style.
Mix things up with care. Not everything that seems like a good match in your head will end up looking good together in reality. As with clothes, you can’t just slap a few disparate design elements and styles together and hope for the best. Take some time to do a round of trial and error. Like a DJ, sample the best parts of each style and element you want while always considering the finished look as a whole.
Eclectic isn’t always in-your-face. The eclectic style isn’t only about dramatic contrasts and irreverent combos. Restraint is an important aspect of designing an eclectic kitchen, after all, so it really should come as no surprise that you can still create a subtle, restrained space that is still distinctively eclectic. You can, for example, mix Craftsman elements with Japanese touches and make a subtly Zen-like space with handmade furniture and Japanese-style lighting fixtures.
Think globally but personally when it comes to decorations. If you often take vacations, feel free to display any cherished knick knacks that you come across. There are no hard and fast rules (aside, of course, from “don’t overdo it” – unless you want to turn your kitchen into what could pass for a hardcore hoarder’s closet), so anything basically goes as long as the pieces have a personal significance for you. It’s your space, so give it a splash of your personality.
Not everything has to come in a set. When it comes to eclectic dinnerware, you don’t have to find the perfect set. The whole mixing and matching ethos of the eclectic style extends to kitchen accessories – mismatched pairs of spoons and forks and wildly different dinnerware can add an adorable and fun vibe to your kitchen.
Bring together the old and the new. The eclectic style isn’t just concerned with mixing styles together. It’s also the perfect style for anyone who wants to display both well-worn retro pieces and sleek, shiny modern elements. You can, for example, add warmth and visual interest to a sleek and shiny contemporary kitchen with some bold Mediterranean-inspired terra cotta tiles.
Create contrasting textures and finishes. Mixing together natural and man-made materials such as rough-hewn wood and intricate hand-woven textiles is a hallmark of the eclectic style. A kitchen with a distinct farmhouse feel can be brought straight into the eclectic side of design with the simple addition of cutting-edge fixtures and contemporary backsplash design.
Feel free to break some color rules. You can start planning your eclectic kitchen’s color palette by choosing a neutral color as your main grounding force, then add on to it with colored and textured solids. Bold patterns and geometrics also add an eclectic flair to a space.
Remember restraint. This is so important that we have to say it again: eclectic design is all about restraint. Sometimes, all you need to turn a drab, cookie cutter kitchen into one that reflects your eclectic taste is a single new and different element – a modern light fixture in a completely countrified kitchen, for example.