Mid-century sofas on a Swedish-country, flat-weave rug. Vintage lighting and a concrete coffee table. An antique Indian sari coverlet on a sleek, lacquered bed frame.
Mixing and matching has become a trend in itself.
And this trend's more liberating than limiting.
"The look is about combining decorative elements and mementos from your personal history — the places you've been, where you're at and where you're going — and arranging them artfully to create a stylish, beautiful, lived-in space," says New York interior designer Elaine Griffin.
The explosion of inspirational media has helped drive the shift, she thinks; amateur decorators now get ideas and confidence from design blogs, TV shows and shelter magazines.
"Homeowners are at last masters of their own ships," says Griffin. "We've revolutionized the term 'eclectic' as a design style."
If you're updating a room this fall, here's a sampler of ideas to get the creative wheels turning:
SIZING THINGS UP (OR DOWN)
At the International Contemporary Furniture Fair this spring in New York, which presented a first look at what retailers will be offering for fall, designers were playing with scale, in lighting particularly.
California lighting company Cerno showed Silva Giant, a 7-foot-tall floor lamp with a slanted walnut base and barrel shade. The company's Valeo model had a crane-like walnut base that extended 9 feet, with an aluminum rod suspending a large linen shade. Despite its size, the fixture seemed to frame the space rather than loom over it. (www.olighting.com )
Moooi's Raimond chandelier was a sphere of LED lights that evoked a fireworks burst, while MioCulture showed whimsical, glowing LED-lit, floor-lamp cones. Tango Lighting's Memory Floor Light has a 3-foot black, brown or white shade with a choice of dramatic interior colours. (www.mioculture.com; www.tangolighting.com)
Big was big, but the show also featured lighting that occupied as little space as possible. Patrick Townsend's SuperString series played with naturally occurring patterns in science and astronomy. CP Lighting showed its new Growth collection of brushed aluminum branch-like fixtures. (www.patricktownsend.com; www.cplighting.com)
Retailers will also be offering slivers of table lamps with a slim profile.
For its textile collection this fall, Crate & Barrel is putting linen front and centre, but not the old-fashioned kind, says Sandy Kortright, a senior buyer at the retailer.
"For the fall collection, we hung our hat on linen that's casual and soft. The idea is not to iron linen but keep it lovely, organic and casual, with a few soft wrinkles spread throughout," she says. "The linen feels easy, welcoming and inviting to use." (www.crateandbarrel.com )
Indian-inspired soft cotton prints are also in vogue. West Elm and Crate & Barrel are offering pin-tucked, hand-blocked and embroidered textiles for beds and lounges. (www.westelm.com)
You'll see a range of throws in various textures, from cashmere to quilted motifs to nubby wools. There are thick, chunky knitted weaves on blankets, ottomans and rugs, but luxe wool and silk blankets as well.
Designer James de Wulff is turning concrete into small tables; concrete and stone — either real or faux — are being incorporated into many pieces this fall, including tables, lamps, and accessories such as vases and outdoor planters. . (www.2modern.com )
Look for warm metallics, too.
"Yellow metals — gold, brass and bronze — are turning up everywhere, as posts on bookcases, shelves, cutlery, edging and details of china, decorative objects, picture frames, furniture legs and feet," says Griffin.
Lighting designer Tom Dixon has a collection of gleaming copper shades on iron bases, a cylindrical web of etched stainless steel, and a cool collection of angular gem-shaped fixtures done in sand casted nickel-plated aluminum. (www.tomdixon.net )
Several retailers are combining rustic elements — such as wood slabs, industrial metals and rougher textiles — with chrome, plastics or luxe fabrics for a style tagged "rustic modern." These are versatile pieces that could sit well in a lot of living spaces.
You'll find pickled or washed grainy woods in furniture from Bernhardt and others, replacing some of the deeper ebony woods of past seasons. Crate and Barrel's Jeremiah rocker is a chalet-ready chair with a woodsy fabric cover. The Fonda rug incorporates slivers of rocky hues in a graphic floor covering.
West Elm's got a desk that's a mango wood slab on an iron base. There's a shaggy wool rug here too, that adds texture and dimension.
Pottery Barn has a collection of chunky, silvered-glass lamp bases with character, especially when paired with burlap lampshades. (www.potterybarn.com )
PATTERN AND Colour
A wide range of neutrals are strong colours for fall. Think deeper hues of graphite, chocolate and slate balanced by lighter tones of ash and stone — a mix of rock and woodland hues.
There's still a lot of punch in the palette, however. Citron and mustard work well with the neutrals. At the modern end of the spectrum, neons and deep pink provide counterpoint to muted naturals like vanilla and soft white. Saturated hues like oxblood, orange and ruby add heat and energy, and blues are big — sapphire, teal and navy play well with deeper tones as well as the whites and creams.
Accent pieces like pillows and rugs are a good way to incorporate new colour; look for examples in small furnishings, tabletop items, and towels and rugs at CB2, Target and other retailers.
Jacquard, ikat, paisley, tile and hand-block motifs are all over bedding and throw pillows, as well as rugs. Graphic modern patterns are also strong.
Carl Robinson designs matte black wall coverings accented with jet beading and gold designs; the luxe, art-deco vibe is echoed in other elements of fall 2013's décor, including quilted motifs and glass/brass combinations for upholstered accent pieces. . (www.carlrobinson.co.uk )
At Bespoke Global, Antoine Shapira's Brazilian Crab cabinet incorporates brass, slate and palm in a console perched on elegant curved legs. It's a mix of bygone-era sensibility with modern glam. (www.bespokeglobal.com )
Crate and Barrel has some pieces for fall that turn traditional furniture on its ear. The Arietta slipper chair is done in a sapphire-blue velvet with grey legs. The brass-hued Melrose floor lamp turns a classic mid-century table lamp shape into something unexpected.