What is Eclectic Style in Interior Design? Here's Your Guide
Rules? What rules? I’m going to talk about an approach to interior design called eclectic style that can be the ultimate guideline for expressing your personal style.
Having an eclectic decorating style can mean different things to different people. But at its core, the eclectic style home is filled with personality–your personality!
The word eclectic is an adjective meaning to derive ideas, style, and taste from a broad and diverse range of sources. It’s not necessarily maximalism, although I have seen it presented in that way.
Maximalism is about “more is more” whereas eclectic style is the careful curation and blending of different eras, styles, colors, textures, patterns, and finishes in a deliberate but unique and unpredictable way.
We’ll explore eclectic design’s five principles: creating your personal style, choosing color palettes, learning how to mix it up, incorporating global influences, and adding in a bit of the unexpected.
Table of contents
1. Your personal style
Although there are no particular rules, the principles of interior design, like proportion, scale, balance, harmony, rhythm, unity, variety, and emphasis serve as guidelines so that the design doesn't devolve into total chaos and become a source of stress rather than the nurturing environment our homes are meant to be.
Not cluttered or overcrowded with plenty of breathing room for furnishings to shine, the eclectic style is fully intentional. It's about creating harmony between different styles, juxtaposing textures, and contrasting colors to create a cohesive and beautiful space.
2. Color palette
The color palette you select will depend on the styles you're working with and the feeling you want to create for the space. Selecting a neutral or two to work with will provide a base on which to layer the rest of your color palette and will help tie everything together into a cohesive and harmonious composition.
If every style you love is based on a neutral palette, then you're off to a great start and you can bring in elements of your chosen styles in the form of furniture, furnishings, and decor, expressing each style through forms, finishes, patterns, and textures.
But if you love styles with bolder colors, think about one or two core color families that will help anchor the space through larger pieces and provide accents that can be repeated throughout the space to help draw the eye around the room in a way that makes sense.
If you're not sure where to start, take your color inspiration from a piece of artwork, a fabric, or a furniture piece (top example).
The color palette in the bottom example couldn't be bolder or more varied, but it's clear the blue sofa is the anchor for the space with the smaller red-orange pieces as accents. The area rug helps tie them together and the gallery wall and other decor pieces help lead the gaze to take in the room as a whole.
This is a pretty extreme example, but it really illustrates how valuable the principle of repetition is when trying to create balance and cohesion.
3. Mix it up
A combination of finishes and textures adds to the visual interest of an eclectic space. Balance hard elements with soft fabrics and juxtapose smooth finishes and rough textures.
Adding visual punch
Unexpected combinations of patterns also add visual punch to a space and really express your personal style. A good way to incorporate finishes, textures, and patterns is to keep your core color families in mind so that these elements coordinate with each other and the rest of your space.
Mixing new and old
Mixing vintage, new, modern, and classic styles is a great way to bring together two or more eras. You can take advantage of architectural features already in your home and juxtapose them with more modern furnishings, or bring in an unexpected classic piece to lend added elegance to a modern space.
These seemingly mismatched lines, shapes, and materials that are both classic and modern are tied together through a cohesive color palette, patterns, and textures.
4. Global influences
If you like to travel and collect treasures on your trips, having an eclectic sense of style will help you incorporate your finds. Global influences in particular have been popular recently, and these types of items can serve as inspiration for your eclectic interior.
5. Gallery walls
An eclectic room is the perfect place for a gallery wall, and it can make a great focal point. Here you can mix different frames and types of artwork and play with color, dimension, and style to reflect your personality and interests.
6. The unexpected
Eclectic interiors are a great way to introduce the unexpected. This could be a quirky item or something that's a huge departure from the overall tone of the space. It's something that makes a bold statement.
One or two of these items are plenty for each space so that they don't compete for attention or overwhelm the design. One thing that's important to keep in mind as you curate your space is to be intentional with everything you bring into it.
Overloading the space with too many items makes it look cluttered and messy. When you allow breathing space for your special items, it allows them and your personal style to make a statement.
- Saloma Wall Mirror from Wayfair
- Solid Wood Abstract And Geometric Wall Decor from Wayfair
- Set of 2 Metal Ring Sculptures from Wayfair
Most of all, have fun, explore, experiment, and use these tips and strategies as a guideline when you play with eclectic style. In the end, it's your space, so use it to let your personality shine.
Let me know in the comments what you think about eclectic style interior design. Is your home eclectic?