Eclectic style refers to interiors that combine various design elements, influences, and decor pieces from different eras and genres to create a unique personalized space. If your aesthetic is drawn to an assortment of diverse styles blended together in harmony, you likely have an eclectic decor taste.
Decorating with an eclectic style allows you to customize your home to match your individual personality and interests. You can incorporate vintage, modern, traditional, rustic, industrial, boho chic, and other design styles that you love into one cohesive look. The freedom of eclectic decor makes it a great choice for those who don’t want to be restricted to any one particular aesthetic.
While it gives you creative liberty, achieving a well-curated eclectic style requires careful thought and planning. Furnishings, colors, textures, and decorative pieces spanning various movements and time periods must work together in a way that feels purposefully collected yet not haphazard. It’s all about discovering the right balance and blend.
If you resonate with the eclectic design ethos, this extensive guide will help you understand the ins and outs of the style and pull off an artfully arranged eclectic interior with panache.
What Defines An Eclectic Decor Style?
Eclectic style is characterized by a few key qualities:
Diverse Influences And Elements
As the name suggests, eclectic interiors incorporate a diverse mix of pieces, eras, materials, colors, patterns, and textures. Mid-century modern furniture may sit alongside antique finds, ethnic textiles, and modern minimalist decor accents. You may also blend geographical influences, with Moroccan poufs next to Scandinavian posters and Chinese porcelain.
Combining Vintage And Modern
Eclectic decor typically brings together both vintage/antique items and contemporary or modern pieces. The blending of old and new is what creates visual interest and depth.
A Highly Personalized Look
Every eclectic home is uniquely customized to the homeowner’s individual taste. You get to handpick exactly which styles, eras, colors, and decorative elements appeal most to you. This personalization makes each eclectic space highly distinctive.
While containing diverse influences, eclectic decor should feel curated in an intentional way so that the look comes together smoothly. Careful selection and placement of items creates a polished blend rather than a haphazard hodgepodge.
Well executed eclectic decor has an elegant, collected look while still feeling approachable and inviting. Rooms feel thoughtfully composed yet not formal or stiff. The blend of fine antiques and vintage finds with casual accents creates relaxed sophistication.
The Origins And Evolution Of Eclectic Style
Seeking to understand the origins and trajectory of eclectic decor gives insight into properly executing the style.
While the term “eclectic” wasn’t used to describe interiors until more modern times, early eclectic style could be seen way back in the Victorian era in the late 19th century. Wealthy Victorians loved collecting diverse decorative objects from their travels abroad and blended them together in their homes in an early display of eclectic decorating. Rooms of the time frequently combined Turkish rugs, Asian porcelains, Egyptian revival furniture, neoclassical busts, Rococo-revival chairs, Gothic items, and more.
Eclecticism Reborn In The 1960s
After more minimal, matchy decor dominated the first half of the 20th century, eclecticism saw a major revival in the 1960s and 70s alongside a renewed interest in antiques. This time period generated a playful “anything goes” approach to pulling together vintage, modern, and diverse cultural pieces in fresh new ways.
The Layered Look Develops
In the 1980s and 90s, eclectic interiors evolved into a more refined “collected” aesthetic with layered combinations of fine antiques, found objects, artwork, textiles, and plants. Multiple era and style mixes remained, but with a focus on unity and blending. The eclectic look became about telling a story with meaningful pieces displayed artfully together.
Current Eclectic Style
Today eclectic decor maintains the principles of vintage mixing, global inspiration, and personalized collecting from past eras. But modern eclectic style also incorporates a lighter and brighter aesthetic along with the bold combination of statement patterns and textures. Homeowners can take the look in a glam direction or opt for more boho or industrial vibes. The freedom to make eclectic decor your own continues to be central.
Common Elements Of Eclectic Style Decor
While every eclectic space is unique, some typical design traits tend to shine through. Keep these key elements in mind as you craft your personalized eclectic look.
Mix Of Old And New Pieces
The careful combination of vintage, antique, and contemporary furnishings and decor creates the foundation. Mid-century modern can blend beautifully with 1970s retro finds and modern minimalist accents.
Layering And Displaying Collections
Eclectic decor has a curated, collected look thanks to ample layering and display of treasured items. Showcase your collections of books, art, plants, ceramics, glassware, and more through layered shelving, hanging arrangements, and thoughtfully placed vignettes.
Diverse Textures And Patterns
Smooth, rough, glossy, nubby—embrace contrasting textures. Florals, geometrics, plaids, stripes—don’t be afraid to pair bold patterns together. Just aim for cohesion in your blending.
Incorporate exotic globetrotting finds like Turkish kilims, Indian block prints, Moroccan poufs, Balinese baskets, and more with other decor pieces for a worldly eclectic space.
Unexpected Color Combinations
Think beyond safe color schemes and mix vibrant hues and eye-catching pairings. Try tomato red with marine blue, burnt orange with midnight black, or canary yellow with soft gray.
Fill your home with pieces that tell your story rather than aiming for an impersonal, matchy-matchy look. Include sentimental items, travel mementos, artwork, books, and collections you’ve gathered over the years.
How To Pull Off An Eclectic Style: Design Tips
Ready to tackle decorating your home or space with eclectic flair? Follow these top design tips for creating a stellar eclectic interior that blends eras, styles, and pieces seamlessly.
Seek Visual Harmony
The key when mixing diverse elements is achieving overall visual harmony while still allowing each piece to stand out individually. Similar colors, textures, lines, shapes, or materials threaded throughout the space create cohesion. But don’t match too closely—contrast is key.
Vary Scales And Proportions
In each space, incorporate a mix of furnishings and decor of varying sizes, shapes, and silhouettes. Contrast tall and low, oversized and petite, angular and rounded. The eclectic look thrives on variation. Just avoid extremes.
Repeating Color Palette
While embracing bold colors, limit your main color palette to 3-5 core hues that you repeat throughout the home for continuity. If you have a soft sage sofa, bring in sage throw pillows and vases for a unifying effect.
Display Meaningful Collections
Carefully curated displays say “refined collector” rather than “random hoarder.” Take time to thoughtfully arrange your collections—books by color, ceramics symmetrically, etc. Allow breathing room between arrangements.
Mix High And Low
Layer antiques and finer vintage pieces with budget-friendly accessories and flea market finds. The combination of high and low adds depth and keeps the look approachable. Just ensure cheaper items still have quality craftsmanship.
Choose Eclectic Artwork
Select artwork that reflects the diversity of your space. Try framing vintage prints, abstract paintings, photography featuring diverse cultures, and found object assemblages. Grouping art together builds energy.
Incorporate Natural Materials
Natural textures like wood, wicker, rattan, stone, clay, and jute add warmth. Use internationally made textiles like dhurries or kilims on walls, floors, and furniture. Bring in live plants for organic contrast.
Add Striking Lighting
Interesting lighting immediately amplifies eclectic decor. Try antique chandeliers, sculptural mid-century lamps, beaded pendants, or exotic lanterns. Include varied lighting levels in each room.
Mind the Layout
While eclectic style invites mismatched pieces, remain mindful of layout and furniture placement for optimized flow. Section seating areas, leave pathways clear, and anchor furniture.
Eclectic Living Room Inspiration
The living room is a prime spot to bring eclectic flair front and center. Review these eclectic living room examples and ideas to inspire your own unique creation.
Merge Eras And Influences
This space artfully blends mid-century armchairs, antique rug, impressionist painting, industrial coffee table, contemporary media console, and exotic pouf. The common neutral color scheme ties it together.
Display Meaningful Finds
Grouped minimalist shelving packed with personally curated art and objects makes a big eclectic statement while keeping the room airy. A vibrant Turkish suzani rug pops against neutral walls.
Warm Eclectic Mix
Elements like a distressed wood cabinet, Persian rug with modern stripe, organic textured pillows, and tribal mask create a cozy eclectic living room. The neutral and blue color scheme warms it up.
For bolder eclectic decor, layer in more colors, patterns, artwork, mirrors, plants, accessories, and textures as shown in this space. Contrasting hues prevent overwhelm.
Invite Global Finds
Add far-flung flair with worldly decor like these Uzbek textile pillows, Balinese basket, and Turkish pouf. International pieces add exoticism when blended with modern furnishings.
Exposed brick, reclaimed wood shelving, retro factory carts, and piping mixed with 70s chairs and palm print pillows creates an urban industrial eclectic vibe.
Eclectic Dining Room Inspiration
The dining room presents another opportunity to highlight your eclectic style sensibility through creative blending at the table.
Mix Modern And Antique
This light-filled eclectic dining room pairs a reclaimed wood table with Lucite chairs and an antique cabinet. Modern artwork collides beautifully with a Japanese screen.
Built-in shelving and plate racks allow ample display space for cherished collections while keeping the look cohesive. Touches like the beaded pendant add eclectic flair.
Coordinate Through Color
Tying together diverse chairs like vintage velvet and contemporary leather with a unifying blue palette creates harmony in this eclectic dining space.
Invite Plant Life
Strategically placed greenery in an eclectic dining room enlivens the space and adds organic contrast to the mix of furnishings and accents.
Embrace Bold Patterns
Make a vibrant statement by complementing vibrant patterned chairs with equally bold textiles. The dark walls ground the eclectic energy.
Rustic Industrial Mix
The combination of reclaimed wood table, retro neon sign, factory cart, and bell jar lighting creates an inviting rustic industrial eclectic dining area.
Eclectic Bedroom Inspiration
Bedrooms present a more intimate and personal opportunity to express your style. Use these eclectic bedroom ideas to craft a relaxing retreat.
Display Meaningful Pieces
Surround yourself with cherished items that spark joy. This bedroom displays special books, artworks, photos, and collected objects in a casually artful way for eclectic flair.
Layer Eclectic Textiles
Introduce diverse global textiles into your bedroom through pillows, throws, rugs, and wall hangings. Tying colors together creates harmony, like the green accents here.
Mix Vintage And Modern
A mid-century bed frame and sculptural lamp complement the traditional charm of a painted antique dresser and Persian rug in this bedroom.
Add Worldly Touches
Small global accents like this hand-painted Indian stool, African basket, and vintage maps make a worldly eclectic statement.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with unexpected pairings like industrial metal nightstands flanking a tufted vintage headboard. Eclecticism embraces contrast.
Infuse Bohemian Spirit
Embrace boho eclectic style by layering in elements like woven blankets, macrame wall hangings, fringe, Ikats, flower vases and antique door turned headboard.
How To Make An Eclectic Space Cohesive
The array of contrasting pieces within eclectic decor can start feeling disconnected if you aren’t careful. Use these tactics to keep your space looking cohesive.
Work in colors used in main furniture pieces throughout the space. If you have a mustard couch, bring in mustard pillows, flowers, books, accessories. The repetition builds continuity.
Incorporate Same Materials
If your coffee table is wood, opt for a wood side table and shelving too. Or if you have a marble dining table, add marble vases and countertop. Repeat materials unite.
Choose Same Color Wood Tones
While wood types can vary, limiting your space to similar wood tones creates flow. Mixing stark darks with lights looks disjointed. Opt for different woods in the same light, medium or dark tone.
Anchor With a Large Rug
A large area rug visually anchors your seating arrangement, connects furniture to the space, and sets a color/pattern palette for the room to build on.
While asymmetry suits some spaces, leveraging symmetrical arrangements makes eclectic decor feel more purposeful. Flank a sofa with matching side chairs or table lamps.
Allow Breathing Room
Avoid cramming in too many pieces. Let furnishings and displays breathe. Comfortable space between groupings and simple walkways prevent a cluttered look.
Use lighting in thoughtful ways to connect the space. Try repeating the same pendant shapes or lamp styles. Position lighting to highlight displays and illuminate entire groupings.
Eclectic Decor Mistakes To Avoid
Steer clear of these pitfalls to keep your eclectic decor looking artfully composed rather than haphazard.
Clashing Color Schemes
Limit your main palette to 3-5 core hues so furnishings, accents, textiles, and artwork don’t clash but rather complement each other through color repetition.
Overly Matchy Pieces
Some cohesion is good, but matching furniture sets look flat. Seek unique vintage and antique finds over store collections for more originality.
Unconsidered Furniture Layouts
Carefully plan your layout and furniture placements for optimal flow and function. Section seating areas and leave adequate pathways.
Extreme Scale Contrasts
While you want variation in sizes, overly huge furnishings mixed with tiny pieces looks odd. Seek balance in your scale contrasts.
While you want to highlight collections, clustered jumbles read as disorganized. Allow negative space between and around displayed objects.
Don’t jam pieces together just because they seem different. Ensure contrasts make sense and complement in a purposeful way.
Only Trendy Pieces
While current eclectic style incorporates some trends, focusing just on what’s hip now results in a space that appears dated faster. Mix current and classic.
FAQs About Achieving Eclectic Style
What colors work well in eclectic style?
Opt for an eclectic color palette that combines both warm and cool hues pulled from your furnishings. Try pairing dusty blues with warm grays, rich greens with plum, or deep teals with orange and cream.
How do I decorate eclectically on a budget?
Seek out secondhand scores at vintage shops, flea markets, thrift stores, and online auctions. These provide one-of-a-kind items with less investment. Mix high and low.
How do I mix patterns in an eclectic room?
Start with patterned area rugs or accent pillows to establish color/pattern inspiration. Then layer in mixing and matching prints in similar colorways for coordination. Add contrast through varied textures and solids.
Should eclectic decor be colorful?
You can opt for colorful eclectic decor with vibrant patterns and hues or take a more neutral approach focusing on texture mixing and displayed collections. Either way works—just ensure colors complement.
What makes a space look eclectic?
A mix of vintage and modern furnishings, diverse cultural and antique accents, collections of books/art/objects, and an array of colors, patterns, and textures artfully blended together create an eclectic space.
How do you decorate eclectically but not cluttered?
Allow negative space between and around displays. Section furniture arrangements. Keep pathways clear. Limit color and pattern mixing to 3-5 per room. Take time to thoughtfully edit and curate your items.
If you crave the creative freedom to blend beloved styles, eras, and globally inspired treasures from your travels into a personalized haven, then embracing eclectic decor is for you. Remember to seek visual harmony through considered blending of colors, textures, materials, and scales. Display meaningful collected items artfully. Mix vintage with modern in fresh ways. And infuse your individual spirit. When thoughtfully executed, eclectic interiors brim with layers of covetable style waiting to tell your unique story.