This year will be the year of embracing your inner eccentric – a decorating style that defies rules and norms in favour of the individual and idiosyncratic. We have spoken to Matthew Williamson to get his take on what eccentric design is and how it can work in the contemporary home.
So, what does eccentricity mean, and how do they incorporate this elusive style into a home? For Matthew Williamson (opens in new tab), 'eccentricity means a cocktail of styles and influences gathered intuitively within one space. Once I’ve established what I like to call the cocoon of a home - the walls, ceiling, and flooring - my next step is to fill the rooms with unique, interesting and personality-laden furniture and accessories.'
Matthew recommends adopting an open-minded approach to sourcing elements of an eccentric decor. On the one hand, personalising your interior decorating scheme may lead you to your local vintage or antiques vendor: 'As much as I adore contemporary homeware and craft, my style often leads me to antiques. I thoroughly enjoy the sourcing process, finding a treasure amongst the bric-à-brac and curating the finds in my home and the homes of my clients.'
This doesn't mean, however, that eccentric style means living in a period property surrounded only by antiques. 'Eccentric interior decorating isn't the preserve of fuddy-duddy stately homes. I want to break down this misconception, highlighting strong pieces and great design, from tableware to wallpaper, that can work in contemporary homes. '
Jonathan Adler (opens in new tab) offers his own take on what eccentricity can mean in a contemporary home with his passionate advocation of 'eccentric glamour': 'My New Year's resolution? Two words: eccentric glamour. My goal is to be the most eccentric and glamorous version of myself that I can be. After a sobering year I am embracing sybaritic style, and I exhort you to do the same. We owe it to ourselves, and we owe it to the world!' A suitably eccentric and expressive statement for a trend that's all about not holding back.
Eclectic and antiques-oriented or glamorous and contemporary, eccentric style is the true wild card of interior styles – and it has to come from the soul. Author of English Eccentric (opens in new tab) and numerous other books on the history of design, Ros Byam Shaw, comments on the inimitable quality of true eccentricity: 'For me, the key to eccentricity, is that it cannot be manufactured. You cannot try to be eccentric. In an interior, true eccentricity derives from something very personal, whether that is a passion for the colour purple, or an extensive collection of found feathers.'
For Byam Shaw, 'eccentricity is an expression of personality, and takes a certain confidence - confidence not to conform, or follow fashion, or copy other people - at its best it is playful, joyful and seems a completely natural expression of a person’s creativity.' Our with the rule book, in with whatever ignites your passion – we definitely are ready to embrace that.
Anna is Consumer Editor across Future home titles. She contributes to Livingetc, Homes & Gardens, Ideal Home and Real Homes, and she has a background in academic research. She is the author of London Writing of the 1930s. Not just an expert in consumer shopping trends, she has also written about literature, architecture, and photography, and has a special interest in high-end interior design.
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