Given its very nature, eclectic style is hard to pin down, and even harder to get right! Add in a global edge, and an eclectic room can translate into a cheesy one, or as one of my clients stated, "a little too Pier 1." Not that Pier 1 is all bad, it's just that there's something distinctly unauthentic about that type of global variety all in one room.
So is there a magic formula for incorporating lots of treasures from your world travels into your elegant home without tipping into the realm of chintzy? Well, probably not, but let's take a look at a few rooms that pull of a global eclecticism with classy appeal, and see if we can't learn a trick or two...
• Choose a subtle, sophisticated wall color. Light grays, or in Windsor Smith's case (picture 2) an airy pink, bring a little bit of unexpected glamor to a room infused with bright ethnic patterns. It's typical to find these type of prints in rooms with richly saturated walls, but a light moody color offers an elegant counterpoint.
• Bring in a little animal print. Ok, I can't really believe I'm suggesting this since generally I'm not a huge fan of animal print. However, since it's equally at home in glamorous and global rustic spaces, it can help bridge the gap between the two looks.
• Add something shiny and obviously "off" into the mix. An ornate gilt gold frame or even a...um, disco ball (picture 4) does the trick of drawing the eye and establishing the eclectic vibe because it is so obviously unlike the other pieces in the room.
• Carry one color through prints and accent pieces (pictures 1, 5, 6). For example, a rug from Afghanistan, a tapestry from India, and African winnowing bowls will look more purposeful if they contain at least one common or complimentary color. This is often the key to successful layering when using a wide variety of patterns. The colors need not be overly matchy-matchy, but they should relate well to one another to avoid the global bazaar look if that's not what you're going for.
• At least a few clean-lined pieces of furniture. They need not be modern, but something with sleek lines will add instant elegance to any room regardless of what else is in it.