By Valerie O’Dowd, Senior Design Consultant

 Eclecticism is a 20th century design style in which a single piece of work incorporates a mixture of elements to create something new and original.  It might include antiques, decorative motifs, and other factors.  Many people use the term to describe a 'hodge-podge' of styles and colors, but it is its own style.  It can be difficult to pull off correctly, and can be smashing if done properly.  It is easy to love, but tough to achieve.

It upsets the old rule book -- mixing east with west, old with new and flashy with calm.  The energy in the style is drawn from the contrast and the variety.  Too often it is used as an excuse for a mismatch of the various design elements.  Many people call their setting 'eclectic' when there is no central theme. In today's world it has become its own distinct style.  It can be funky and individualized or mainstream and more serene.  If you enjoy combining different clothing and fashion styles, then eclectic is bound to be your thing. 

The style began in France, England and Germany in the late 19th century.  It allowed architects more artistic freedom than prior means.  It was well-suited to experimentation, and probably reached its peak in the great White Star and Cunard ocean liners of the early twentieth century.  You might say that the Titanic, Carpathia, Lusitania and Olympic didn't sink after all – they just transformed themselves into office buildings and mansions.  They live on today in people's homes and continue to evolve.

Because there are no ironclad rules, eclecticism can be tricky to accomplish with complete success.  It was succeeded by modernism in the 1930's, but has made a resounding return today as new forms of architecture and interior design have created new possibilities.  It works best when the 5 principles of design are incorporated evenly.  Those principles are: line, color, texture, mass and form.  Together they represent the elements that comprise your work of eclectic art.

At Larrabee's, we offer free decorating services to assist you in achieving a result that is stunning and supremely livable.  Our design consultants and senior designers are experts in blending styles, colors and layouts that are unique and stunning.  They are particularly adept at utilizing existing works with the appropriate newer pieces to achieve a result that is as individual as your own personality.  Remember, we are not striving to turn your home into a museum; rather to create an attractive and comfortable environment.  Our showroom has the widest selections of quality brands and styles available in Colorado.  Please come by and let us show you why we should be your first and last stop for selection and expertise in home furnishings and design.