Americans are living longer, divorcing and remarrying more often, which makes for an interesting game of musical chairs, musical sofas, musical bedroom suits, etc. Marrying makes what is yours and mine – ours, which leads to choosing what to keep and what to let go, while divorcing separates my stuff from your stuff and leads to buying even more belongings to fill the void.

What might be useful when marrying or divorcing is to have an eclectic sense of decorating. Eclectic: deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad, diverse range of sources.

We have an enormous number of fabrics, paint colors, furniture styles, and accessories available today. It's freeing to know you have literally thousands of decorating choices at your fingertips whenever you set out to create or recreate a beautiful home. Decorate with an eclectic sense of style and that freedom of choice will definitely work in your favor.

Are your furnishings a mixed up mess? Are they dissimilar in style, shape and texture? Use color as a blending agent. Chalk paint (in a contrasting or coordinating color) easily updates furniture pieces that are still functional, but not quite to your liking. Also, a muted paint color on your walls will go a long way to consolidate and unify furnishings of mixed origins.

Rugs can magically lift your mix-and-match décor. Modern rugs made of two-ply yarns have a sophisticated sheen and are soft to the touch; they'll add interest from the ground up. Solid-color polyester shags will anchor your décor in colors from true black, fudge and ivory to sky and terra cotta. If shags aren't your style, opt for an organic natural fiber such as jute, sisal or seagrass in a corded, down-by-the-sea weave, as is pictured.

The personality of this room hinges on its details. The small sitting room looks relaxed and decidedly feminine with its combination of sage green, turquoise, coral, aqua and printed pillows. Life is breathed into the space with bright fabric accents paired with geometric prints whose lines seem to move.

Here are some tricks you can borrow to create a beautiful décor: Vary the levels by stacking a few items; use accessories of different heights; juxtapose smooth and rough textures; and when using a soft palette, throw in one surprise color. Notice the sofa's center pillow is the inspiration for the room's palette, but the terra-cotta/coral accent color feels like a real treat.

Let texture play a key role. From the nubby tan-and-gray weave of the sisal rug, to the cloud-like fringe on the sofa’s cushions, to the peeling paint on the round wooden frame, texture works to make the living room feel tactile and inviting.

A small collection of books and paintings grace the stack-shelf bookcase, an artful undersized coffee table with a whimsically upholstered top, glass, porcelain and painted accessories complete this small sitting room.

Eclecticism isn't meant to be just a collection of odds-and-ends and a pieced together fragment of styles. Eclectic décor reflects a seemingly slowly acquired collection of furnishings that express individuality and personal interests.

Live in beauty!

Stephen Thompson has been creating tasteful interiors since 1975. For questions, comments, or consultations contact Designer Connection, P.O. Box 361, Tupelo, MS 38802 or stephen2816@mac.com.

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