I’m a self-confessed interiors omnivore. Much as I would like, I cannot commit to one or two styles or colours in my home. I’ve tried, but it’s just too much. I love the scandi-look, but I also love bright, bold colours. I love white on my walls, but need at least one room to feature matt black or a deep midnight blue. And, as you know, I’m obsessed with global textiles: the ultra-bright patterns in Mexican Otomi embroidery; the earthy tones of patchwork kilims; the tribal touches of African mudcloth; and the plush texture of Moroccan handira. They are all gorgeous in their own right, but how exactly do you mix colour, pattern and texture so that it looks cohesive, not cluttered?
Step 1: The basics
For me, the key to ensuring an eclectic, yet coordinated room, is keeping the big things simple. Go easy on the statement walls, furniture and floor covering and try to stick to neutrals, monochrome or natural textiles. For me, that means sanded floorboards or sisal/seagrass on the floor, white walls (with the occasional dark feature wall/bold wallpaper thrown in here and there – life is too short to not), and plain fabrics on my sofa or bed. This gives me a relatively blank canvas to work from. It also means that if you share my tendency to change things around
every fortnight once in a while, you have full freedom to do so without making more major changes in the room.
My one caveat to this is for boho-maximalists – you know who you are! If you tend towards a ‘more is more’ approach, then channel your inner Jungalow and go crazy with the wallpaper, carpet and prints on your sofa. For you there are no limits and I wouldn’t dare try to impose any on you, you crazy diamonds…
Step 2: Rugs
One of my regrets, and something that I am planning on remedying over time, is that I have not been remotely bold enough in my choice of rugs. Rugs are expensive – at least good, artisan-made, ones are – and as such, I have historically erred on the side of caution and opted for plain, neutral designs. And ok, I confess that one of my next major rug purchases will probably be a Beni Ourain rug from Morocco which is also pretty neutral. But, you know what, I am also seriously considering something way more vibrant and colourful like a vintage Turkish kilim or an Azilal rug with splashes of neon woven throughout.
The two photos below show that both vibrant and neutral rugs can work in a space alongside other conflicting, patterns. So you can really can have your cake and eat it too, opting for whatever takes your fancy. You won’t usually have your patterned cushions or throws sitting directly on the rug, so that separation enables you to mix colour, pattern and texture without it all looking like a big old jumble.
Step 3: Cushions and throws
Yay! My favourite part as we get to talk about cushions! Huzzah! Seriously though, this really is where you get to have fun and mix and match various textiles together. It’s a tricky one to advise on though, as this is a matter of personal taste and style. I tend to opt for a mix of my favourite patterned cushions alongside some plain, but more textured ones. I also group cushions together that have similar patterns or tones (for example, I have mudcloth cushions in indigo, white and mustard that look wonderful together) and then add in one that contrasts completely for maximum impact.
It’s worth playing around with a number of different combinations until you find something that just looks right. It will happen, I promise. And to bring in even more impact, you can layer the cushions over a patterned throw – either one that is complementary or one that contrasts for drama. The image below shows how mixing patterns can work together – the vintage textiles aren’t fighting for attention, even though they are all different.
Step 4: Bring it all together
Once you’ve found your perfect combination of colour, pattern and textiles, you can then add your finishing touches to the room. Shelves and side tables are great for showing off your favourite pieces. Allow larger pieces like lamps to make a statement on their own. Otherwise, group odd numbers of smaller items together, being sure to get a good mix of heights.
The coffee table in the above photo is too empty for me – even a vase of fresh flowers would be better than leaving it completely blank. The other trick I’ve found is to make use of decorative trays to group collections of items together in a neat display. It always looks deliberate and stylish – just make sure you leave room to put your feet up and your coffee mugs down!
Step 5: Enjoy (and don’t take it all too seriously)
So that’s it. You have now created a perfectly imperfect eclectic room with a mix of colour, pattern and texture. All you need to do now is live in it and enjoy it, tweaking things over time and adding to your collection.
I think there is a lot of pressure on us all these days to ensure our homes consistently look like the images we see in magazines and on Instagram. It’s easy to forget that these rooms are deliberately styled and don’t necessarily reflect how people actually live. I love that bloggers like Kimberly Duran over at Swoonworthy readily admit that behind every styled interiors shot is a pile of ironing/paperwork/general life-clutter tucked away from the camera. That’s life after all, and it is often way too short for paperwork…
Are you ready to mix things up at home? Let me know in the comments below!
Happy travels, and shopping