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From flooring to upholstery, eclectic decorating can be highly individual

June 14, 2013

Hardwood Plank FloorsFans of eclectic decorating, which combines a mix of styles both old and new, pull off the best room design when they don't go overboard. Sticking to a classic look with staying power, like Anderson Floors' Bryson II Plank collection, prevents eclectic decor from going over the top.

"It's always helpful to collect a few things, but don't go overboard," interior designer Michelle Homme told the San Francisco Chronicle. "Stick to your gut. The biggest mistakes occur when you try to do something someone else is doing."

The decorator, who runs a San Francisco furnishings shop called Homme, is a proponent of eclectic mixing and matching for herself and her clients. Whether they are making choices in upholstery,  hardwood flooring or window treatments, Homme said homeowners have greater freedom to combine finishes and styles than ever before. She encourages them to have an open mind about including vintage pieces with modern furniture.

Or as points out, there's a fine line between combining different textures, colors, time periods and trends and putting together a haphazard mix of furnishings with no specific theme that ties them all together.

Teach by example
Homme's design career reflects her widespread tastes. Before opening her own design business, she studied decorative arts at an auction house, helped design a fabric line and worked as a set designer.

Her particular passion is for vintage instruments and globes that look as if they've been plucked from a social studies class. One way to display globes is to take them off their metal bases and group together several of assorted sizes or one impressive globe by itself.

Homme is an inveterate shopper of flea markets where she often finds pieces that need a good scouring or new paint before being placed with a client. She also promotes the work of local craftsmen, whether they make one-of-a-kind pillows, contemporary photographs or handmade soaps.

Finding the right fit
When consumers are shopping for home design items, one barometer of how well a unique accessory will fit in their house is to ask if they really like the piece or if they chose it because it reminds them of something they saw in someone else's home.

Finding an inspiration piece is a good starting point for homeowners to find a look that's highly individualized. In that way, a home will truly reflect the style of the person who lives there.