Renovation & Design

CONNIE OLIVER: Eclectic decor offers design freedom

Eclectic decor -- by choice or necessity -- can make a rook colourful and really bring it to life.

There's something youthful and revitalizing about our feature bathroom photograph, (courtesy of Moen). The array of fresh, cheery colours allows this stark white bathroom to really sparkle. It reminds me of a refreshing fruit salad.

For those starting out in their first home, or perhaps a dorm room, with hand-me-downs and giveaways in hand, an eclectic decor is an appealing and sometimes necessary option. Using a diverse mix of decor items allows you to stretch your decorating budget by using what you have and topping off the look with inexpensive and often unmatched accessories.

Teens and young adults who still live with family may want to update their room with a fresh, youthful, yet affordable style. A diverse decor offers many options with respect to mixing old and new along with varying styles.

Renters can benefit from a similar style of decor. Even though you probably can't paint the walls, when you use colourful accessories against a white backdrop the room will come alive.

Got colour?

The added bonus of an eclectic decor is that you can really have fun with colour. There are no hard-and-fast rules in an eclectic design so colour mixing can be part of the creative process. Purchasing 'one-of' items at thrift stores, flea markets, dollar stores and garage sales can become a fun and affordable treasure hunt for colourful accessories. Just look at how the sum of small, colourful accessories found in our feature room comes together into a carefree yet cohesive look. Even the brown globe vase on the floor, which is an unusual choice, works well in this setting.

How to pull it off

Fabric remnants can be used to make toss cushions, window fashions and even artwork when framed. Fabric remnants are affordable and are often found at thrift stores for a song. You may even have clothing that can be used in a similar fashion. Inexpensive glassware of different shapes and colours can be used to add sparkle to a room. Leave them empty, fill them with coloured water, beads or decorative sand, or fill them with inexpensive fake flowers available at dollar stores. You can change out the flower colours on a whim because they are so affordable.

Small furniture items, like the bench in our feature photograph, can sometimes be found at thrift stores and flea markets. With a little paint these items can become useful and dramatic little accents. Make your own artwork to stretch your budget even further. Photo frames are plentiful at thrift stores. Use them in a grouping to frame anything from a swatch of great fabric to pictures from old calendars to add focus to the walls. Paint the frames in one colour for continuity or create an eclectic wall grouping of varying sizes, depths and shapes of photo frames. Add a wall clock to the mix for added interest.

Mix and match linens and dinnerware are usually found at a good price and can go a long way to supporting your efforts for a diverse decor. Table settings using two or three dish colours are unique and visually interesting. A long fabric remnant in a bright colour can be used down the center of the table setting to ground the table setting.

Putting it all together

With respect to colour, we can take a cue from the colour layout in our feature photograph. While the colour palette is made up of five bright colours, they make sense because of the placement of each one.

Take the pink, for example. The pink colour is placed in ever part of the room instead of all on one wall, for instance. The same can be said for the orange colour, which can be found in a hand towel, two of the flowers by the mirror and in some of the toss cushions. The use of a triangle placement of each individual colour makes visual sense. This technique keeps the eye moving around the room, which in turn, provides visual flow.

Even the palest colour green, is placed in a triangle with a toss cushion, a small green dish on the stool and a small green tray on the bench. Grounding the look with black accents adds a sense of sophistication.

This technique is carried around the corner where the toilet is to include this section into the overall design.

If you're not brave enough to choose a vibrant colour scheme like the one in our feature room but like the look, consider taking your palette from the colours in fabric design, a painting or wallpaper.

An exciting decor doesn't have to break the bank or be labour intensive. Colour can brighten up even the dullest of spaces.


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