I was all set to buy my furniture at a regular store but my girlfriend told me I should look at “eclectic” pieces in a “boutique store”.

Debra R. I was all set to buy my furniture at a regular store but my girlfriend told me I should look at “eclectic” pieces in a “boutique store”. Not sure I understand what eclectic means! Can this look be mixed with what I already have?

RDP: Merriam-Webster’s definition of eclectic is:

Adjective: Deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources. Noun: A person who derives ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources.

As the definition indicates, eclectic style of furniture and furnishings offer a broader dimension: these pieces are different, diverse, and crafted from natural resources, including wood, metal, stone, and /or glass. For example, the wall panel below incorporates metal, wood, and an unexpected layer of burlap fabric as the back drop!  Eclectic pieces can be built from re-claimed woods and old architectural elements, creating an organic look that still takes into account the functionality of a newly crafted piece. What truly sets an eclectic piece apart is that it is off the beaten path and not the “same old same old.” It is strong, bold, and often times a one-of-a-kind, like the beautiful, painted patina blue armoire below, re-purposed from an old hope chest, with the original wheels still attached. Whether your taste leans towards traditional or contemporary, you can easily introduce eclectic pieces to your design and decor mix. You may use professional help or do it yourself: either way, it is easy to achieve a cohesive look that creates much interest.

Eclectic furniture items are often statement-making pieces that also bring an exotic flavor, add some “pop,” and enhance your existing furnishings. For example, the Indian bench, Peruvian armoire, and Egyptian chandelier (below) all pull from a wide variety of sources. An added bonus to using eclectic pieces: they rarely end up looking dated. Quite the contrary, this style of furnishing modernizes the home, and these pieces have an enduring quality that lasts. It keeps your home décor looking fresh and inviting.

It is important to reflect your personality in your home, so pick out the pieces that you are naturally drawn to. Eclectic spaces make a statement as if to say, “I am confident and fearless. I am okay with being different because this is who I am.” Homes should have a relaxed, lived-in look. Try introducing color in the form of furniture that features age-worn patina, artifacts, and old architectural elements, like the old grain barrel below. And bring in colorful  and softening accessories, such as textiles, toss pillows, and area rugs; these items all improve the acoustics in your home. Also consider curtain panels as an alternative to traditional drapes. Since most homes these days have tile or wood flooring, we need textiles to absorb sound and prevent the echo effect! Above all, remember to have fun!