What Is Eclectic Style?

living room with lots of bold colors and objects

 

Andreas von Einsiedel / Getty Images

Eclectic style is one of those home decor looks that can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. But at its core, eclectic style is all about filling your home with personality. It's fun, funky, and full of visual interest.

Maybe you can't decide whether your favorite type of decor is farmhouse rustic or mid-century modern. Or you can't stand things that are too "matchy-matchy" or pristine. Eclectic style is a great way to define your home decor when it's a bit of, well, everything.

What Is Eclectic Style?

Unlike some styles, which adhere to a strict set of rules and trends, the eclectic look doesn't have as many requirements. It's characterized by variety and unpredictability. The eclectic style involves incorporating pieces from different periods and styles.

History

Though the word “eclectic” has been around for a long time, it has only recently become associated with an approach to decorating. Eclectic-style decor got its start in the late 19th or early 20th century when architectural pioneers prided themselves on the fact that they didn’t adhere to any particular style, then set about doing their own thing.

However, their work was so successful that their plan appears to have backfired, and these trend-setters actually birthed what became known as the eclectic style of decorating. Eventually, eclecticism morphed from an architectural style to a home decor theme.

Characteristics of Eclectic Style

Eclectic style is not characterized by rules or structure. It is often created by mixing and matching a few types of home decor looks into one cohesive, purposeful theme. Though there is not a guidebook to easily recreate eclectic style (and the best way is by making it your own), there are a few characteristics that are common to it.

  • Mixed patterns: One hallmark of eclectic style is mixing patterns. Few things match perfectly, but patterns are purposefully combined.
  • Global influences: If you love to travel and explore, eclectic home decor is for you. Often you will find worldly decor and inspiration woven throughout an eclectic home.
  • Old and new: It's typical to mix the vintage and the new in an eclectic home, meshing together different time periods into one beautifully done space.
  • Unexpected decor: While everything may have its place, you will often find unexpected touches in an eclectic home. Think trunks used as a coffee table or clear stools at a breakfast bar.

Because of this premise, many misinterpret the eclectic style as an anything-goes way of decorating, but the true eclectic style is actually very purposeful and well thought-out. The look is not about simply throwing things together, but combining decor styles in a way that is fully intentional.

Eclectic Style Ideas

To inspire your next home makeover, we've rounded up some of our favorite examples of eclectic style in action.

Go Wild With Plants

Mid century side board

JC Designs

Eclectic homes often have a lot of greenery. Don't be afraid to sprinkle in plants throughout your home to get that boho, eclectic vibe.

Focus on Your Entryway

Entryway with yellow door

Mocha Girl Place

Your entryway is the first thing visitors see when they walk in your door. Pack a punch and fill it with personality by mixing and matching textures and colors. A vintage rug is perfect for finishing the space.

Play With Color

Bedroom with lots of color

Mocha Girl Place

If you love decorating with color, eclectic style is for you. Bring in bold hues and bright tones, and don't be afraid to mix and match contrasting colors.

Display Your Favorite Things

Living room with records as wall art

Leaf and Lolo

Remember, eclectic style is all about personality. It's a great way to decorate your home with things you love and show off what is important to you. Here, records act as wall art and really elevate the whole look and feel of the room.

Try the Unexpected

Bathroom with wallpapered ceiling

Noelle Ryan Interiors

Ever considered wallpapering your ceiling? Now is the time. Eclectic home decor always has a hint of the unexpected, and we love the fun element it contributes to this light-filled bathroom.

Mix Up Your Art

Living room with wall art

Reena Sotropa

A gallery wall is a great way to style an eclectic home, but try not to make it too matchy. Pull in various colors and textures to give it a load of boho-inspired visual interest.

Add Worldly Accents

pink side board with globes

Rikki Snyder

Whether you opt for actual globes (like the ones in this fun scene) or you mix in vintage finds you've picked up on vacations, add in elements of your travels to your home for a lovely eclectic look.