5 tips for decorating your home in an eclectic style

When a man cave meets with a feminine touch, the first two things that you get are chaos and a few nights of sleeping on the couch. I know because I've been there. If you're at that point now, you may want to consider adopting an eclectic style for your home. An eclectic style is all about combining different design elements and surrounding yourself with what you love. Here's how to get the job done and restore the peace:

1. Create a Design Notebook

The first thing that I'd suggest doing is creating a design notebook. Fill it with pictures of furniture, light fixtures, fabrics and other items that you find appealing. Once it's finished, look through it together and decide what items you can both live with. Then look for commonalities and build upon them.

2. Choose Neutral Colors for Walls and Flooring

Choose a neutral color for your walls and flooring. Doing so will create flow, unify the space and allow your personal style to come through. For example, in my home there is a load-bearing wall that runs through the center of the house. On that wall, we used a neutral paint and added photo groupings to help differentiate each living area. The neutrality of the walls and flooring also made it easier to combine various fabric patterns and design elements throughout the house.

3. Identify Focal Points

Make sure that you identify each room's focal point and work out from there. The focal points are ideally where your signature pieces should go. In our narrow living room, the focal point was a wall, so we used an oversized, antique mirror as a signature piece. It helped draw the eye to one spot and gave the illusion of depth.

4. Highlight What You Love

Highlight what you love and keep things unified by picking a signature item and grouping similar items around it. In our household, we share a love of history and the ocean so we used a framed, vintage Titanic newspaper clipping and grouped it together with other nautical items like seashells and beach glass.

5. Seek Balance

When arranging your furniture, photos and cherished items, pay attention to scale, proportion and composition. You will want to work towards creating a balance. In other words, don't put everything at eye level or group all the same-sized items together. For instance, on our photo walls we varied the sizes, heights and subject matter of the photos but used various black frames with white matting to give it an underlying unity.

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