Ethnic-Eclectic Decorating Reflects a Global Culture









Between the advent of jets and the Internet arrival, Planet Earth has really become a much smaller place. The mingling of many cultural styles has resulted in a new interior trend that combines international folk art with functional interior design in a style called ethnic eclectic design.

Ethnic-eclectic can be difficult to determine first because of its nature. The best way to determine if a room has become an EE style is to control its overall mood. Decorating with accents and accessories that look like they come from remote places definitely qualifies as the new ethnic-eclectic style.

To create this style of interior design, start by studying the main interior design. These will typically have a definite ethnic style, such as a sofa in an Indian print fabric, African animal print or bold Mexican stripes. Many times the furniture will be robust but common and serve as a backdrop for a large display of eye-catching pieces with a clear global origin.

Take a look at these smaller furniture. Here is where ethnic-eclectic style will be most pronounced. Carved or hand-painted small tables, natural cane chairs that evoke African or Pacific Islander images and rough wedge rugs from Turkey are just some of the visible signs of global sensitivity. Accessories come from all over the world. They will include such things as Chinese brass cricket boxes, Indian brass candlesticks, carved wood boxes from many Asian countries, and candlesticks in carved wood, wrought iron or boldly painted ceramics.

Examine the floor coverings. Whether the floor is dark hardwood reminiscent of Asia, stone or terracotta tiles from Mexico, the floors will be topped with a number of the world's finest carpets: Southwestern rugs, African animal rugs, leather rugs and soft Flokati rugs from Greece.

Walls will also show signs of ethnic-eclectic impact, such as faux-color treatments similar to adobe or African or Asian cloth wallpaper. The walls will be adorned with folk music, Mexican masks, embroidered Asian silk, Balinese batiks or framed antique maps or vintage postcards with photos of exotic countries. Clothes from other cultures, especially vintage or feathered clothes such as Japanese kimonas or beaded Native American moccasins, are often featured.

Window treatments can be run in a variety of materials and styles. There may be bamboo matchstick blinds, Roman shades of woven wood, Mexican blankets hanging from large rings on wrought iron rods or plantation-style shutters. More conventional drapes are likely to be made of fabrics with patterns such as African clay, exotic florals, Japanese or Chinese writing or bamboo prints.

Lighting fixtures and lamps will also have an international feel. Candlesticks can be wrought iron or hammer. Lamps will have bases made of Mexican ceramics, terracotta, rattan and ceramic ginger. Lamps can be designed as palm trees or jungle animals in wood, resin, clay or metal, with woven rattan lampshades, plated linen or handmade paper to complement the cultural style.

Ethnic-eclectic decoration is one of the most exciting trends today because it contains the arts and crafts of so many wonderful human cultures around the world.