The Percentage Theory
“Good design from any era can coexist together—that’s what eclectic design is all about.”
I developed this philosophy as a way to explain how I incorporate old and new pieces in a client’s home. First and foremost, when designing a space, I think it’s important to pay attention to the era the home was built and its architectural style. I never veer too far from the homes original character, which is where I get a lot of my initial inspiration.
It’s important when designing an eclectic space to understand and have an appreciation for modern design, but also a passion for old homes with character.
When working with an old home, for example, most of the design elements should pay homage to traditional design materials. (This is especially important when it comes to moldings, doors, and trims that are part of the structure.) In this case, I like to keep 80% of the design selections traditional, and the remaining 20% can be more modern. In fact, these contemporary elements provide a much needed juxtaposition and prevent your space from feeling stuffy or outdated.
Hanging an abstract piece of original art above an antique chest is an easy way to add a dose of excitement and interest into a traditional entry or living room.
The same goes when approaching a contemporary space. Modern architecture filled with modern furnishings can run the risk of feeling sterile and cold. I would use my 20% guideline to throw in a gorgeous vintage rug and a few well-chosen antiques. This makes a modern home more comfortable and interesting. DWR (Design Within Reach) does a good job showing off this mix in their catalogs— good design is ALL in the mix. It may sound simple, but it can be difficult to pull it off correctly. Hire a designer whose work you admire and trust them to pull it all together!