Table of Contents
- Eclectic Style Interior Examples (by Room)
- What Is Eclectic Home Decor?
- Interior Style Features
- Exterior Eclectic Style
- Eclectic Furniture Style
- Materials Used With This Style
- Eclectic Décor Principles
- Styles that Mix Well with Eclectic
- A Brief Historic Overview
- Why the Eclectic Style Looks Great
Eclectic Style Interior Examples (by Room)
The following are photo examples of Eclectic-style interiors (room-by-room). Below each photo are links that take you to extensive Eclectic-style photo galleries for each room.
This living room is decorated with a large artwork that hung above the L-shaped sofa paired with a storage chest coffee table. It has a stylish mirrored wall and beige flooring topped by a multi-colored rug.
Brown tiled backsplash adds a striking contrast in this white kitchen with stainless steel appliances and sleek cabinetry that blends in with the walls. It includes a built-in cooktop and an undermount sink with gooseneck faucets.
The classy dining room features velvet tufted chairs and a round dining table lighted by a fancy crystal chandelier that hung from the tray ceiling. There’s a buffet table behind that’s topped with brass candle holders and a lovely flower vase.
An upholstered blue bench sits in front of the cozy bed fitted with an eye-catching headboard. It is accompanied by a white nightstand and a gorgeous floral armchair that sits on a black printed rug over the light hardwood flooring.
This bathroom offers a sleek toilet and a blue sink vanity topped with a yellow counter and round vessel sink. It includes a rectangular mirror and floating shelves along with a towel rack mounted on the textured white wall.
Interesting foyer with eclectic decors showcasing dark wood sticks and a gorgeous painting mounted on the white wall. It includes a man sculpture and glass bowls in various colors that sit on a mirrored console table designed with arches.
What Is Eclectic Home Decor?
In a nutshell, the Eclectic home design style is about pulling together disparate, even chaotic elements together into a visual harmony that at first blush no one would think go together. Leopard print rugs with baroque chairs and a Roman-style cabinet?
However, there is a genius in madness, and when done correctly the Eclectic style can really produce some very unique and distinct home spaces that make the front of magazine covers because they are so striking. What’s required to make the Eclectic style work?
A good eye for unique items and components, a sense of what can work together creatively, and a judgment of what just looks like clutter versus making the synergy the whole even better.
For many, the Eclectic style tends to be probably one of the hardest home styles to understand how to implement. They like what they see when the finished product is presented, but getting there can frustrate many.
The style thrives on mixing and matching from across the spectrum, and it is probably one of the most liberal design methods out there in terms of both interior and exterior play. But the lack of structure and rules drives many away. It ends up being a true reflection of the mind and whims of the creator versus any paradigm already established by someone else.
Interior Style Features
- The eclectic style for interior design has been regularly compared to assuming a room is a blank canvas. Your job is to be the painter and create the entirety of what the room will be. The wall colors, attachments, fixtures, flooring, furniture, and accessories are the paints you work with to create the vision and final product. This is the part that scares a lot of people; it takes a lot of experimenting and trial and error to get the Eclectic style to work. More challenging, there’s no one right way to do it.
- The neutral base color for the walls and ceiling is often a good way to start. This allows the focus of attention to be on the collection of items and components added to the room versus the walls themselves. Many interiors start with a solid simple colors such as monochromatic white or black or shades of black or tan. All of these are extremely flexible and typically don’t clash with other colors. Unfortunately, they can also be a bit boring in and of themselves.
- The focal colors then become where attention and the viewer’s eyes will be drawn. The goal is to implement with core colors and build from there. It becomes very clear how an Eclectic style can have a unifying them with this principle in play. It doesn’t matter if one matches a colonial chair to the post-modern coffee table, they both have light blue as a color theme. Because your overall base in the room is neutral, there is no clash with the walls or ceiling, the focus becomes the center of the room.
- The interior does need to have a sense of balance. The approach of placement becomes much more important and symmetry shows itself in a very obvious form when not applied correctly. In a nutshell, all of the goods should not be piled up on one side of the room or area. They should be spread out so the eye sees a landscape of an Eclectic collection, not a jumble on one side and bare space on the other. This can be a bit tricky because functionally people might want to have movement space or a walkway through an area. That becomes part of the symmetry design versus an afterthought.
- Placement of furniture goes a long way towards improving balance. Things should not be located willy-nilly. Every furniture piece should have an immediate and obvious purpose why it is in that particular location in coordination with the rest of the room. It doesn’t matter if the couch is a Las Vegas special and the desk is French baroque. How they connect with the whole seamlessly makes the difference. You will get a feel for what works by stepping back and looking at the room in its entirety. When things are jumbled, the problems stand out. When they work, it really comes together visually.
Exterior Eclectic Style
The Eclectic style tends to be more an interior design approach versus an external one because its results tend to be built up over time. That said, in some intentional designs, it is possible to produce an architectural approach for a home structure utilizing an Eclectic approach.
However, such an approach is more of a design-to-build avenue that ends up being a one-shot experience, for obvious reasons. In rare instances, some people with the resources engage in a constant building or renovating of a home structure, but it is rare. For the most part, the Eclectic style is geared more like an interior design perspective on the natural.
Eclectic Furniture Style
- The furniture approach is wide open with an Eclectic style. Mixing and matching are the definite priority, again with more emphasis on a given theme versus just the specific furniture modes, eras, and categories. Who says a bed assembly needs to be just in the bedroom, for example? Eclectic is really building interior design without rules except your own. So, the furniture available can be a very wide open portfolio. Old, classic, antique and modern can all be included at the same time.
- Big furniture pieces can definitely be the core items that bring everything else together in play. Wingback chairs and large, decorated tables provide great tie points that people can build around. Art deco style for example has produced some amazing pieces that easily stand alone and become the cornerstone for entire room sets.
- Daring is good. Don’t feel that everything needs to be a set from the same maker and same collection. Many of the best Eclectic sets are really dramatic mixes of furniture and styles from across the spectrum.
- Distressed rugs tend to be great choices for bare floor covering and detail differences.
- Furniture choices often need inspiration and looking through various examples is a great way to get a better idea of Eclectic style in practice. Coffee books and photo collections provide a great source for furniture combinations, helping people visualize how to put together their own new environment.
- Pattern and print drapes can really make the windows pop, especially against a neutral background wall color. Consider these for additional detail in an Eclectic style once the floor pieces are chosen.
Materials Used With This Style
- Wall colors and surfacing should focus more on keeping texture and colors simple. They are the platform for your “canvas” and should not draw attention away from the masterwork of the design itself. Fancy and high detailed wallpaper, for example, would be incorrect. It confuses the eye and draws attention away from the center, and it could seriously clash with patterns in the furniture choices as well. Simple base colors provide a framework and background, which is essential for the Eclectic style to work well. That doesn’t mean accessories can’t be added to the walls. If elaborate sconces fit your picture, alternatively, they can easily be incorporated on the walls, adding to the total mix. Finally, remember that white is not your only choice for background color. It’s quite possible to use grays, light beiges, and even solid dark colors.
- There are no other set materials with the Eclectic style because, as mentioned before, it’s very open-ended to what the owner or designer wants to create. Specifying materials per se would, in essence, apply an artificial restriction to the creative process and become a source of frustration.
Eclectic Décor Principles
- Look for contrast. Don’t design your décor with everything being monochrome. Play it up a bit and use an entire palette of brights and shades to bring out a complete vision. You are the painter, and your brush is made up of the antiques, new items, fabrics, and fixtures that you put together. Keep in mind finding the right contrast takes some trial and error. You’re not likely to get a perfect mix the first time with anything. You have to experiment quite a bit to make the Eclectic mix work for your particular room or home.
- Some feel that a good Eclectic décor means subscribing to contradictions with every aspect involved. Examples are often made of vintage paintings placed in the same setting as post-modern furniture or a colonial brick fireplace setting. Part of the beauty of the Eclectic style is that it can also tell a story about the owner. Thinking of the style as a bit like walking through a museum may be a good way to get started adapting to the approach décor approach.
- Given our global society today and how much people travel, the Eclectic style can easily be a conduit for expressing where someone has been. Travelers are always bringing back mementos and souvenirs of where they have been as a tangible reminder of their experiences. The Eclectic style allows for an outlet and display of all these experiences in the same setting.
- The eclectic style involves texture as much as it involves colors and shapes. Texture can really go a long way towards changing up the entire feel of a room, and many times it’s used along with the floor as one of the primary contact points. A room might normally have wood or bare surface floor. However, if one matches it with a course hand-woven rope rug, for example, the room changes nature immediately, even if the couches and chairs are soft plush. The senses are met with a combination of feeling and vision at the same time, enhancing the experience.
- Finally, there should always be a core statement piece that the room revolves around. That might be a large table, a couch set, a significant desk, etc. The room and all of its parts are satellites to this core piece. So, no surprise, many who attempt the Eclectic style start first by looking for the unique item that will make the sun to their personal solar system. The core item is not limited to furniture, either. It could be a painting, a sculpture, a light display, or even a plant. Some very bold examples include a living tree with a skylight above letting natural light in, and the rest of the room revolves around the tree in the middle.
Styles that Mix Well with Eclectic
If you’re into photography the Eclectic style will work extremely well with your hobby. Putting up a combination of frames and photographs in different sizes, typically known as a gallery wall approach, is a very common style applied to an Eclectic room.
Not only does the owner or designer get to showcase dozens of images with personal meaning and attachment, but the gallery itself can also even become a focal point for the rest of the room, a bit like going to a theater and comfortably watching the show displayed on the screen wall.
The blend of photography and Eclectic style offers a great way to display personality and individual style not always possible in other settings. Further, the gallery wall technique is really easy to implement even on a tight budget. One can easily find unique and interesting frames in secondhand stores, remove the old content and insert your personal items instead.
A Brief Historic Overview
Many might think that the Eclectic home-style started with characters like Andy Warhol in the 1960s or maybe with the Beatnik era. Both are incorrect. As an architectural and interior design style, Eclectic design actually first came into play as early as the 1830s in Europe. The style was prominent and lasted for a good 60 or so years before the turn of the century.
Much of this was due to the collision of European history, culture, and upheaval across the continent. Families and peoples were moving around considerably at this time, finding their entire group and neighborhoods being relocated. That in turn created a lot of mixing and jumbling up of what people had available or could obtain as personal property. Additionally, many began to travel extensively as exploration was quite a in vogue at the time.
As individual expression and personal style again took hold starting in the 1950s after World War II, again a period of great movement and change and extensive traveling, people began to try the style by sheer accident or on purpose, and it caught on. Since then, the Eclectic style has floated around, often been favored by world globetrotters and collectors, and been featured in the extremes with luxury homes and celebrities.
Why the Eclectic Style Looks Great
As mentioned repeatedly, the Eclectic style is very much a personal presentation of the homeowner’s individuality and style. Not only is there no default standard everyone has to follow, but there are also oftentimes no specific rules. Work without artificial boundaries and amaze yourself with what is possible. Not only does it meet the full definition of personal art and creativity, but the style also allows a way to express the vitality of someone’s life and experiences as well.