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Mix'n'Match 101 | Playing with Contrast and Getting Your Eclectic On

Back in the day, I was once a queen of coordination.  Ideas like "mixing and matching" and "contrast" made me a little jittery.  From my clothing choices to my bedroom decor, I liked the colors and styles to coordinate.  Luckily, I grew out of that.  The older I've gotten, the more I've enjoyed getting my eclectic on.  Eclectic decor is freeing.  It's fun.  And these rooms that I've rounded up show just how lovely eclectic can be.  

Like in the photo above. It's a prime example of making mixing and matching work.  There's a bit of a color scheme to start with---the red and white bedding, the red and white curtains, and the red chair.  But there's baby blue thrown in here, and sunny yellow thrown in over there.  And blue and yellow thrown onto the big vintage sign on the wall.  The contrast really comes in with the furniture.  The red leather chair is contemporary and sleek... while the nearby ivory dresser is shabby chic.  The curtains and bedding are cottagey... the sign is vintage cool.  It all comes together to create an interesting and beautiful space!

I adore this eclectic yet very feminine corner.  The plush French settee gets a pop of color and pattern with yellow ikat pillows.  The upholstered bench is held up by elegant, spindly legs... while the floor lamp's base mimics a tree limb (painted gold, of course).  The floating shelves display an array of eclectic objects---pretty books, dog bookends, different vases, art and prints, and a rather masculine clock.  

Oh, how I wish this living room were mine!  Where to begin?  There's a whole modpodge of mixing and matching on the couch with all those patterned pillows.  Furniture styles contrast, too---an industrial cart holding magazines, a shabby cottage style stool nearby, a vintage printed ottoman.  And then an array of contrasting mirrors on the wall---traditional rectangular, thick circle, dainty oval, bold pink frame.  My favorite part is the unexpected white Moroccan-style chandelier hanging overhead everything.

Mixing and matching doesn't have to a daunting task.  It doesn't need to be extreme contrast to get the desired look either.  In this case, we have a beautiful traditional wooden desk with clean lines and a rather masculine look.  A black leather chair or wooden chair would look right at home pulled up to it.  But partner it up with a striking white chair with a few extra curves... and you've got a match made in contrast heaven.  The unexpected couple makes other subtle contrasts blend right in---stark technology next to natural textured baskets, a modern frame next to an antique one, and (of course) a modpodge of controlled creative chaos on the inspiration board.

Eclectic can be done with just a little touch.  This room would seem rather pulled together and coordinated... if it weren't for the kitschy gnome nightstand.  It brings the antique bed, tribal rug, and bedding colors to life and adds a dash of humor.  Every room could use a little funny. 

Eclectic can also be done overboard... in a good way.  And the easiest route to such a style is all in the artwork and accessories.  Fill a wall with a wide variety of frames and art---photos, prints, book pages, paintings, posters, drawings, sketches.  And flood surfaces with interesting tchotchkes.

Or do eclectic on the downlow.  At first glance, this room is quite coordinated.  The fuchsia is repeated throughout and even on larger scale pieces, really tying everything together.  But if you take a closer look, you see a lot of different patterns and ideas.  Stripes and florals.  Photography and different styles of art.  Contemporary furniture and vintage furniture.  A splash of goldenrod.  An emerald-green hued box.  

I guess this post is to confuse to go out on a limb and play around with your decorating a little!  You don't have to buy the color- and pattern-coordinated room sets at department stores. Your room will just look exact like it came off the pages of a catalog.  Infuse your personality into the space and let it be a little different.  Try things out to see what works and what doesn't.  When you get it right---when all of the contrast seems to just balance everything out---you'll know.  And your space will be fabulously mixed'n'matched.  


Lucy said…
SO many pretty rooms. It makes me want to own a mansion so I can go for a different style in every room!

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