The Eclectic Look: Shopping for the Right Blend in Home Decor

You might be moving in to a new place without a lot of baggage, but you still don’t want your home to look like it came pre-decorated. The most stylish homes display a blend of contemporary and vintage, high-end and thrifty pieces. But how do you know what the right combination is? It’s all about balance, coordination and the element of surprise.

Personally, I love the quirky feeling that vintage furniture lends to a room. You can find amazing pieces at second-hand stores for a lot less than a curated antique shop might charge. To make an older piece look contemporary and totally unique, have it reupholstered in a more modern fabric. Or you could just embrace the shabby chic!

Eye-catching accents are a great place to splurge on designer decor. This season’s Versace home line features textile pieces that can take any room to a new level of Euro chic. If you’re going designer, you want a conversation piece — something that’s bold and unconventional and will add unmistakable personality. Think silk throw pillows, geode vases, and fabulous gilt-edged snack bowls.

As stylish as your home is, you also want to be sure that it’s all about you and your family. Your favorite family photos deserve to be displayed just as prominently as any work of art, and can look great interspersed with other pieces on a gallery wall. Family heirlooms and personal touches like children’s arts and crafts are also perfect for making a house really feel like a home. Pieces that represent your heritage, interests and personal history, whether it’s a map of your home country or a collection of horse show ribbons, can double as great conversation starters.

So in between unique thrift-shop finds and high-end designer pieces, is there room in the eclectic modern home for middle-of-the-road mass produced items? Feel free to turn up your nose, but I say absolutely. Everyone’s favorite Swedish furniture store makes some basic pieces, such as bookshelves, that can perfectly complement your style while helping you save money for bigger splurges. Even “big box” stores sometimes offer solid basics that can be transformed with the right combination of unique accents.

To tie together all of these diverse pieces, it helps to do some planning ahead. Coordinating colors in a loose, flexible way, such as “I want my living room to be mostly warm neutrals with accents in bright blues,” will help a lot with your shopping. Also keep in mind the proportions of the room you’re decorating. If a large sofa dominates the room, a tiny painting won’t work as a focus point. If the room is small, large, heavy pieces of furniture will make it feel even smaller. Be sure to measure your space before shopping to make sure everything will fit just right in the space you’ve chosen for it.

Creating your fabulously unique decor can take a fair amount of effort and creativity. You might be able to do all your shopping online, but if you find yourself really falling in love with the process you’ll surely end up exploring thrift shops, design boutiques, galleries and rummage sales in your area and beyond. Hunting for those hard-to-find antiques can be a fun way to spend a whole weekend. And while you may start the process wanting to impress your guests with how chic your home is, the true reward is living every day in a space that’s perfect for you. After all, you’re the one who spends the most time in your house. Why shouldn’t it be designed to delight your senses and reflect your passions?