Your Guide to Eclectic Style
Also in this series: Your Guide to Modern Style
Eclectic style is curated and intentionally composed, bringing in pieces from many styles and eras to create a fully personalized look. Instead of being hemmed in by rules and conventions, eclectic style offers free rein to explore any and all areas of the design world that appeal to you, from funky vintage pieces to cutting-edge contemporary designs and everything in between.
- Confident. Color and pattern are used boldly and with confidence, from painted finishes to wall treatments.
- Curated. With so much going on, it’s essential to intentionally curate an eclectic space. Think artfully arranged.
- Creative. Eclectic style offers plenty of room to play. Get creative with use of color, quirky vignettes and art that speaks to you.
- Rule-bound. There is no one “right” way to do eclectic style. It’s right if it feels right to you.
- Random. Eclectic style is thoughtfully put together. What’s left out is just as important as what’s kept in.
- Chaotic. White space and symmetry help an eclectic space strike the right balance.
The juxtaposition between old and new, traditional and modern is what makes an eclectic space really come alive. Furniture tends to be mismatched rather than part of a set, with vintage finds mixed in among new pieces and interesting objects. Color and pattern can show up anywhere — on walls, floors, upholstery and accents — but it’s important to keep some items solid or neutral to give the eye a place to rest.
See more of this eclectic home for a creative couple
Nope! While the most wild and unusual spaces do tend to fall under the eclectic umbrella, there is no one right way to do this style. For example, in the space shown here from Lord Design, sedate leather club chairs, a cozy rug and oil portraits are given an eclectic twist with the addition of an unexpected wallpapered ceiling and modern accent tables.
Rich textiles bring warmth, texture and color to eclectic spaces. Look for layered rugs, wall hangings, pillows, slipcovers and colorful upholstery. In the eclectic guest room shown here from Beachy Boheme Interiors, a daybed is dressed with a woven coverlet and colorful bolster, pompom trim adorns the curtains, and a vintage Moroccan rug layered atop a neutral geometric rug warms up the floor.
Bold, vibrant color is a hallmark of eclectic interiors. Think of rich painted walls, bold patterned fabrics and wall coverings.
Great shades for eclectic spaces:
- Rich, vibrant hues. Teal, turquoise, coral, fuchsia, emerald, lemon, navy
- Soft washes of color. Pale peach, pale aqua, lilac, celery
- Neutral backdrops. Putty, cream, dove gray, parchment, taupe, architectural white
Certainly not. While eclectic-style spaces do tend to lean toward a bold use of color, it’s not the only approach. Mixing styles and eras within a serene color palette makes for a calmer-feeling space — especially welcome in the bedroom, where the goal is rest and relaxation.
Why stick with a solid color when you can have pattern? Eclectic spaces — like the colorful Missouri home shown here — are perfect for experimenting with wallpaper. Also keep an eye out for other wallcoverings, such as textured grasscloth and hand-painted murals.
Find wallpaper in the Houzz Shop
Eclectic spaces put treasured items front and center. In the New York apartmentshown here, homeowner Jeanie Engelbach has made her impressive collection of vintage lunch boxes a focal point by gathering them together on a row of wall-mounted clear Plexiglas shelves. Collections like Engelbach’s look best all in one place, where the impact is greatest, rather than dispersed.
Collective Wisdom: Display Ideas for Collections of All Kinds
Eclectic-style spaces tell a story with unique and bold objects and details that bring a personal touch.
Accessories for eclectic spaces:
- Accent chair with bright upholstery
- Green plants in colorful or hanging pots
- Unique artwork and photography
- Vintage and found objects and signage
- Books and collections
- Colorful rugs and pillows
Whether earthy and natural or bold and colorful, eclectic kitchens call on a range of styles to create a one-of-a-kind look. Case in point: The kitchen shown here from Gina Sims Designs pairs a statement tile backsplash with a vintage light fixture and rug and poured-concrete island top.
Find a local kitchen and bath designer on Houzz
- Statement tile. Whether used on the floor, backsplash or island (as seen here) statement-making tile is a great way to express personal style in an eclectic kitchen.
- Unique lighting. Look for vintage light fixtures, unique contemporary or Moroccan-style fixtures or anything that catches your eye.
- Something simple. It could be sleek cabinetry, white walls or bare wood floors — having at least one simple element keeps an eclectic kitchen looking curated rather than chaotic.
- Organic elements. Think of fresh potted herbs, a display of farm stand produce or natural wood accessories.
- Cool stools. Seating is another place to play in an eclectic kitchen. Look for counter stools that complement the style of your island lighting, or purposefully go in a different direction — it isn’t called eclectic for nothing, after all!
An eclectic bathroom can be whatever you want it to be. Love rustic stone sinks, a sleek freestanding tub, colorful tile and antique brass fixtures? Go for it. As in the kitchen, just be sure to include something simple to ensure the overall effect is artful, not jumbled.
Bathroom Workbook: 6 Elements of Eclectic Style