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.

Eclectic personal style

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.


Selecting a neutral color to provide a palette base

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.

Eclectic design with a neutral palette

Neutral palette

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.

Eclectic design with bold colors

Bolder colors

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.

Using art or furniture for color inspiration
Colorful eclectic design

Color inspiration

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.


Mixing textures and finishes in eclectic design

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 in interior design

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 styles in eclectic interior design

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.

Interior design with global influences
Incorporating travel pieces into eclectic design

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.


Gallery wall

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.

Unexpected design

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.

Curated pieces

Curated pieces

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.


Eclectic style

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?

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2 of 3 comments
  • Rene Rene on Sep 07, 2023
    Thank you. This so me! I love colors and different shapes and cultural aspects in my surroundings. Thanks for all the wonderful input.
  • Allison Gomez Allison Gomez on Sep 29, 2023
    My house is, and always has been, eclectic. Therefore, it is timeless. I rotate different pieces in and out to keep it fresh and swap out pillows and throws on the sofa for the same reason. Loved my style being validated by this posting. Nice job!