Eclectic interior design can seem intimidating—how can you create a worldly space that isn’t wacky? Here are our guidelines to help you shape the modern eclectic space of your dreams.
Eclectic can feel unattainable for the uninitiated. One can look at a perfectly curated room and think, “Oof, that stylish person mixed a lot of things together and I could never even dare.” But you don’t need an impeccable sense of personal style to make this vibe work for you.
Good eclectic spaces celebrate the harmonizing of seemingly disparate styles, textures, and colors—while using a few keys tricks to keep it all cohesive. We’ve put together a basic guide of how to craft a refined (and not random) look at home.
1. DON’T BUY THE SET
The first step is to resist the urge to purchase pieces as a unit. Buying a furniture set can make shopping a breeze, but it’s the easiest way to make your home look like a showroom. Avoid purchasing coordinating pieces and instead vary the styles, vendors, and vibes of your large-scale furniture pieces.
If you’re hesitant because you’ve always followed the cardinal design rule of keeping bonded pairs together, don’t worry—you’ll still keep things united with some underlying guidelines. Combine different styles of accent chairs based that have one thread in common—like similar textures or close color families. You can also use more furniture (like a small accent table) to better connect pieces. In the dining room, try marrying two different styles—like a modern dining table with classic chairs or or choose to select an array of chairs, no two of which look alike, but are all united by the same hue.
2. PLAN A COLOR SCHEME
While the phrase “eclectic” might signal your impulses to throw your color chart out the window, the best designers know that’s not the case. A deliberate color palette will unite your mix of styles and genres.
You can stick with a single, limited palette (check out the many shades of black in ’s bedroom above) but it’s important that there is enough variety so the look won’t hit your guests over the head. You can also go the route of creating a tonal space—a sea-inspired palette featuring milky baby blues, navy tones, and other cerulean shades, for example. If you’d like to go a little wild, choose one feature that pulls many hues together—like bold Persian rug—and then pick accents that are all grounded in the piece. Creating a color scheme will help create cohesion in a space when there are a lot of different styles of furniture, patterns, and accessories.
3. PAIR DIFFERENT DESIGN ERAS TOGETHER
The furniture pieces you select for your home should be diverse in the type of design eras they originate from. Don’t be afraid to pair modern chairs with an Art Deco table that hails from 1920s Paris. If your look is a little less sleek, combining rustic pieces with vintage, vaguely French ones (think Amélie), could be a match made in heaven. It’s that twist of the intermingling design eras that makes an eclectic interior come to life.
4. FIND DIFFERENT TEXTURES
In an eclectic space, it’s about creating a look of controlled chaos. One way to add in layers without adding in too much visual heft is texture. It creates a level of visual intricacy—there’s a reason designers love tossing a nubby cream blanket on an all-white bed. Mixing loads of textures—sleek surfaces, velvet pillows, natural hide, mud cloth, wallpaper—provides a lot of impact while keeping the palette relatively restrained. If you like a moody, masculine look, try pairing exposed brick with dark metals. If you love a bit of glamour, try lacquered pieces married with plush fabrics like velvet.
5. KEEP IT PERSONAL
The whole point of creating an eclectic space is to make your home feel like it’s not out of a catalog or a knock-off of something a designer did for someone else. You can combine colors and textures all you like, but at the end of the day the most important way to make your space one-of-a-kind is by layering in personal touches that reflect who you are and what you love to do.
Sneaking in small accents and accessories throughout your home—not just on a bookshelf or in your bedroom—give you a chance to let your personality shine. Your home should be a living testament to your life, so display those trinkets, stylish souvenirs, and your children’s artwork (even if they aren’t Picasso) with pride.