Creating Your Own Eclectic Interior Design Style

Article Topics:

  1. What is Eclectic Decor?

  2. Eclectic Interior Design Origins

  3. Eclectic Style Rules?

  4. Unexpected Decor - Eclectic Design Elements


When renovating or re-decorating your home there are myriad choices to make. One of the most important is to decide on a particular 'look' for a room or space. You may have definite ideas about the style you want. Or you might be less sure. Rather than sticking to a formal style, of colours, furniture, hardware and fittings, why not go for something a little freer and collected – something more eclectic?

What is Eclectic Decor?

Eclecticism in interior design is about mixing and matching different styles, periods and influences to create a unique and personalised space.

Instead of sticking to modern or traditional interior design as one specific style, eclectic decor is about blending disparate elements to create a more curated look – a look favoured by many of today's interior designers.

Eclectic interior design - mid century modern furniture - shabby chic blue rug - various obje d'arte

The eclectic design ethos of having no overarching theme allows you to incorporate the items that you love, regardless of their origin or era. It's like creating a three dimensional collage of design elements that reflect your personal style.

In this article we'll explore eclecticism in home decor and how you can use an eclectic approach to create spaces that are an expression of your style, interests and personality.

Eclectic Interior Design Origins

Eclecticism emerged during the 19th century. Victorians were known for their love of collecting and displaying a wide range of decorative items from different periods and from around the world.

In the 20th century, eclectic interior design gained popularity with Art Deco and the advent of modernism, which rejected traditional design norms. For example, the mid-century modern movement embraced eclectic elements by combining sleek, minimalist furniture with bolder, experimental pieces.

Eclectic interior design style - unique aesthetic - living room mixing modern suite, rustic coffee table, neutral colors with rich accent color rug

21st century contemporary interiors often embrace eclecticism with popular decor styles such as Japandi and Boho.

What are Eclectic Style Rules?

Well, there are no strict rules with to eclectic home decor. The only thing required for successful eclectic room ideas is that the overall style and look 'works'.

An eclectic approach should aim to take the best elements from a variety of different styles, but must above all things harmonise those differing style elements.

That’s the challenge with eclectic home decor, to create a curated look and feel with seemingly unrelated items and furniture pieces, opposing colours and textures, and mixing periods and aesthetic movements.  

Just be mindful of balance, keep wall colour understated, and don't over do it – less really can be more. Let’s look now at some typical eclectic interior design fundamentals.  

Eclectic interior - dining room - odd chairs - low brass chandelier - classical columns - modern ornaments

Unexpected Decor - Characteristics of Eclectic Design

As already mentioned, eclectic design allows you to express your personality and interests through your home surroundings. By mixing and matching elements that appeal to you, you can create a space that feels authentically yours. But where to begin?

Let's take a look at some fundamental principles of eclectic style decor, such as furniture, textures, patterns, colours, mixing time periods and feature elements, and how they can work together to create a satisfying and interesting eclectic space.

Mixing Old & New

Say you want to makeover your living room. Perhaps the easiest eclectic characteristic to use is mixing old and new items. That means juxtaposing modern and vintage, whether it's furniture, wall art, soft furnishings or hardware and fittings, to help give the space that collected look typical of the eclectic style.

Eclectic interior design - interior designer style - kitichen dining room loft

Several interior design styles used together, especially more traditional with modern, can create a timeless feel that fits well with the contemporary world. The image above shows an industrial-style loft kitchen.

Notice the oversized gothic candle holders, traditional wood dining table, mismatched rattan wood and metal dining chairs, and the mirrorball-style lamp shade.

It doesn't sound like this interior would look very good, right? Yet these disparate, eclectic elements work really well together.

World Influence

Another key element of the eclectic style is the appreciation of different world cultures. Whether it's objet d'art pieces, wall art or fabrics and patterns, including different cultural influences to accent a space can really help personalise it.

Examples might include wood and stone carvings, pottery, tapestry or pictures.

Interior design styles - interior designer style - room showing mix and match of exotic ornaments, textiles and soft furnishings

Incorporating world influences in interior design is nothing new. It's an element of Art Deco, which utilised styles from the Far East, South American indigenous cultures, and African art.

Statement Furniture

Statement objects, or statement pieces, are chosen and positioned to be a focal point in a room. There can be more than one statement piece, and carefully combined they can give a space a really unique feel.

Eclectic style interior design -

For example, in the image above, notice the quirky Art deco mirror and mantle ornaments, the tree branch chandelier, the wooden chest coffee table, and the geometric patterned floor-length drapes over large windows. They’re fairly bold statements on their own, but assembled together they give a 1930s 'lodge' vibe in what is essentially a traditional sitting room.

Simple Colour Palette

A good way to give an eclectic space a sense of coherence is to keep the colour palette on the walls and ceiling simple. That means choosing perhaps just one colour and using it in a few different shades, or just sticking to a single neutral colour. This will help draw the eye to the furniture elements in your room.

The image above shows an eclectically styled room which has a lot going on, with a large silver ornamental mirror, black marble fireplace, classical-style vase on a plinth, clashing pale pinks with chintzy arm chair, over bearing plant, Chinese dragons and more. This is a busy room, but is held together with the overarching neutral white wall and ceiling.

Picture Gallery Wall

If you don't want a full-on eclectic look, try taking a single eclectic idea as a focal point. A good place to start is a gallery wall. Gallery walls of framed art work, posters or photographs can create an eclectic vibe in a room, on its own as an accent wall, or as one of just a few eclectic elements.

An eclectic style living room combining traditional, contemporary elements and contrasting color palette

The living room pictured above shows an example of a gallery wall, with pictures of a variety of subjects and styles.

Combining Different Textures & Patterns

Notice too in the above image the other eclectic elements in the room: modern table lamp in green, and modern black cylindrical hanging light shade.

Also the 'out of place' coloured throw pillows, mixing of textures with velvet-style sofa, leather-esque poufs, and the neutral mushroom coloured walls for a more cohesive look.

The room pictured below is another example of mixing colour and texture. See the colourful weave of the floor rug and folded rug on the sofa contrasted with the cream leather-like sofa and chair, the velvet texture of the wheeled pouf, and the bright yellow fluffy cushion. This gives the room a subtle eclectic edge with, once again, neutral, single coloured walls.

Eclectic interior design - throw pillows - cantilever floor lamp - large abstract painting - mid century modern furniture

Hardware & Fittings

As we've already discussed, creating an eclectic interior design style needn't be difficult. Just by thinking out-of-the-box with furniture pairings, soft furnishings and contrasting colours you can get that eclectic look.

An area sometimes overlooked in interior design and home decor are hardware and fittings, especially door furniture. By applying eclectic principles to handles and knobs you can create interesting feature details and contrast.

Eclectic style door knobs - modern double ringed nurled-edged door knobs

The door knobs pictured above have a striking look. The double-ringed, knurled edge design offers a modernist vibe, with a Bauhaus-style appeal. In satin nickel finish the almost industrial look can work well when contrasted with natural timber and more traditional design elements.

Eclectic style - modern knurled lever door handles - matte black with brushed nickel detail

The modern knurled door handles pictured above offer a contemporary vibe. The matte black finish offers a more understated feel, with brushed nickel detail for contrast. Modern matte black handles and knobs can work well as part of an eclectic decor when combined with natural woods or mixed with bold primary colours.

Eclectic interior design - classical, Art Deco looking fluted door handle in antique pewter finish

The above Whitby door handle fuses classical and contemporary elements. The fluted lever offers a period feel, while the large on-rose design is strictly modern. In antique pewter finish it's perfect for eclectic interior design.

Eclectic interior design - various ceramic door knobs - white and gold, light pink crackle, blue flowers on white, and matte black -

Ceramic door knobs have a different feel compared with metal handles and metallic finishes. With a more traditional, sometimes quirkier look, ceramic knob patterns come in a wide variety that can work well in eclectic spaces – in particular the white knob with blue pattern, and aged crackle finishes pictured above.

Eclectic interior design - traditional beehive door handles - antique pewter finish

The traditional Victorian and Edwardian reeded beehive door knob is a design classic and can be an eye catching detail in an eclectic style space. Choose from a variety of finishes including brushed nickel, brushed brass, polished chrome antique pewter and more.

Eclectic interior design - gothic-style black iron door handles

For a more old world look, choose gothic-style door handles in black iron. There are a variety of handle and knob designs like this, and they can offer a certain historical charm, with gothic design in general being an eclectic favourite – remember the gothic candle sticks from earlier?

Final Thoughts

We hope this overview of eclectic home interiors has offered some food for thought when you come to decorating or renovating your home, and that the ideas explored provide inspiration to create your own, personalised eclectic style.

For more home renovation and DIY inspiration visit the Hiatt Hardware Blog for articles and how-to guides. Get the full range of door handles and door knobs at Hiatt Hardware.