Home Interior Design Styles: What is Eclectic Design?
Bending, but not breaking, design rules to match your style
September 20, 2019
*We interviewed a variety of home professionals and designers to learn as much as we could about the most popular design styles. After you’ve finished with eclectic design, take a look at bohemian.
A Brief History
Eclectic interior design is unique. It doesn’t exactly have a start date but has slowly evolved to become a style in its own right. It's not based on an art movement or a specific period of history but is the culmination of all other styles. As time goes by and styles evolve, eclectic stays the same in how it embraces the old and the new to create something different.
The Definition of Eclectic Interior Styles
The eclectic style is ever-changing and highly personalized. It’s combining multiple styles to create a sophisticated yet personalized look. While that may sound like bohemian, there is a key difference between the two. Bohemian throws out all the rules, favoring personal taste above design principles. Eclectic, on the other hand, bends but doesn’t break the principles of design. It relies on elements such as balance, rhythm, and proportion and scale.
Characteristics of Eclectic Interior Design
Eclectic interiors are the epitome of “opposites attract”, like mixing a pattern from farmhouse with an art deco light fixture. While it sounds like anything goes, it takes planning and care to pull off mixing opposite design styles. Eclectic follows a few select principles and guidelines to help unify a look that would otherwise look too chaotic and overwhelming. Through the use of color, texture, patterns, and finishes, eclectic environments form a cohesive theme.
To sum up the definition of the eclectic decorating style, we made this graphic that you can save to your device or to Pinterest to easily reference.
“Mixing the old with the new creates a blend that has staying power. Trends in interior design come and go, but a beautifully eclectic design will standout against any of the newer trends. The most important thing to keep in mind when designing an eclectic room is to be sure to introduce newer pieces that will complement older treasures that you love.” – Javier Fernandez, Transitional Designz
- The beauty of this style lies in using opposites together. Burlap and satin, intricate patterns and stripes.
- Combine different interior styles together, being bold with choices, colors, and textures.
- A place for everything and everything in its place. There’s no overcrowding or underwhelming the room. Every element works towards the bigger design picture.
- Choose one element, color, or pattern that will bring the room together. It can be a color, or that every piece complements a color or finish, or that they all support a statement piece.
“Eclectic design, per the name, does not adhere to any one-color palette either. You can plan your color scheme based on a sedate, monotone hue or use some bold colored piece like a rug or sofa and pick out the accent colors you would like to use throughout the space.” – Doreen Amico-Sorell, Sorell Interiors
“Have your home tell a story. The beauty of designing with an eclectic style is all the stories your home can tell. Whether you decide to display travel mementos, your favorite hobby memorabilia or family keepsakes – creating a space that is engaging and reflects your personal style will surely wow your guests. Décor is where you have the most opportunity to mix and match eras.” – Mercedes Austin, Mercury Mosaics
- Statement pieces should be limited to one or two pieces. After all, if everything is trying to hold the attention, nothing will hold the attention.
- Mix up furniture. Pieces aren’t supposed to match, so you could easily use a vintage rocking chair next to a mid-century modern coffee table and an overstuffed traditional couch.
- Mirrors, gallery walls, lamps, and rugs make great accessories to add those finishing touches to a room.