Eclectic Decor – Everything You Need to Know

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Let’s talk about eclectic decor.  There’s been a lot of chatter and a bit of confusion around this term.  It’s become a popular new interior trend for 2020 and many people are curious about how to approach this style.

In this post, we’ll define eclectic and discuss what it means for home decorating.  I’ll also share a few places where you can find beautiful decorative accents.

Let’s get started.

Eclectic Meaning

What Does Eclectic Mean?

The word eclectic is used to describe ideas or styles that have been derived from a variety of sources.  These sources are diverse and when combined together create a unique style or concept.

For instance, we’ve heard the term eclectic used to describe music that has roots in a variety of genres.  A song that’s a little bit pop and a little bit hip-hop with a splash of country would be deemed eclectic.

It has its hand in a lot of different baskets, so to speak.

The term eclectic has also been used to describe philosophers and great scholars with a wide breadth of knowledge.

Furthermore, it’s been used to classify a particular approach used by psychologists and therapists.

But, in this post, we’ll focus on what it means for interior design.

living room

When Is Something Eclectic?

There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to defining an eclectic interior.

That is to say, it’s a subjective term that is interpreted in a variety of ways.  This, in part, contributes to the confusion around the style.

That being said, I would classify any interior featuring decorative elements from 3 or more diverse origins to be eclectic.  Meaning, a living room with contemporary furniture mixed with vintage accents and modern lighting qualifies as an eclectic interior.

Likewise, if a sofa has a classic structure, with vibrant jewel tones in its upholstery and a lot of bohemian style texture, this would be considered an eclectic piece of furniture.

You don’t need to seek out “eclectic home decor” to create an eclectic interior, however.  You merely need to curate your decorative accents from diverse origins.  This will result in a mix of decor styles coming together in one interior space.

We’ll talk more about how to design an eclectic space in a minute.  But first, let’s look at why this style has become popular.

eclectic living room
Photo Credit: Michael Hunter

Why Is Eclectic Decor So Popular?

As with many interior design trends, the emerging trend is in contrast to the fading trend.  In many cases, it’s a strong move in the opposite direction of the current trend.  This is due to fatigue.  We’re simply so tired of seeing the same things over and over again that we run from them.

For example, all-white kitchens and whitewashed interiors were incredibly popular for a long time.  But now we’re seeing the exact opposite with bold colorful appliances, statement cabinet colors, and black working its way back into the kitchen.

The eclectic decor trend is undoubtedly a reaction to the overstyled, perfectly manicured interiors that have been filling our Instagram feeds for the past 3 or 4 years.  For years we’ve been looking at spaces that are not only picture-perfect but firmly rooted in a singular decorating style.

It’s very easy to scroll through Pinterest, see an interior, and say, this is Boho, this is Modern Farmhouse, or this is Modern Industrial.

How to Take an Eclectic Approach to Interior Styling

Taking an eclectic approach to interior styling does not mean you have to collect your items on an Eat, Pray, Love style trip around the world.

Compiling items from a variety of diverse sources is not limited to geography or culture alone.

Although this is a common approach, it is not your only option.

Here are 3 ways to approach the eclectic decor style.

1. Style Mashup

The first way to approach is to mix together already established decor styles.

In the example below from you can see a variety of different styles displayed in this bedroom.  There’s a steel-framed modern industrial style bed accompanied by boho style accents like the rug, bedding, and decorative pillows.

These two styles mesh well together, but there is a third style present as well.  A modern nightstand has been placed next to the bed.

If you want to achieve that world-traveler vibe, try a style mashup like this.

eclectic bedroom

2. Old + New

Another way to create an eclectic look in your home is to mix the old with the new.  Vintage pieces mixed with contemporary accents are a great way to approach this style.  Throw in a few repurposed items and you’re really in business!

The room below has been staged by Vintage Salvation and has a wonderful mix of old and new pieces.  Included are a vintage chest, a contemporary sofa and accent chair, alongside a few mid-century modern accents like the console and coffee tables.

These are all decorative styles that are marked by time.

This is a really creative mix that works well together because of their similar color palette.

Suggested Read: Do I Have to Choose a Color Palette for My Home?

A lot of the examples of eclectic decor floating around the internet are colorful but, you don’t have to go that route.  This is a very muted color scheme with a rich variety of decorative styles and ages.

It’s a wonderful example of an eclectic interior.

vintage contemporary living room
Source: Instagram @vintage.salvation

3. Mixing Textures, Metals, and Finishes

The third way to approach eclectic decor is a bit more challenging.  This is achieved by mixing textures, metals, and finishes.  This is something, in my opinion, requires a professional (or a lot of patience).

It’s easy to end up with a hodgepodge of a mess using this method.

However, when done right, like the way Sally Wheat Interiors designs their rooms, you’ll end up with a masterpiece.

In the example below, you can see a wide mix of textures, patterns, and metals.  The decorative accessories are unified by the color palette.  They’re also expertly scaled and proportioned to create a marvelous room.

If you want to learn more about scale, proportion, and balancing color I’d recommend checking out Erika Fogleman’s Skillshare tutorials.  She has some wonderful lessons like Design is in the Details: How to Accessorize Like a Pro and How to Use Color Like a Pro.

eclectic living room
Source: Instagram @sallywheatinteriors

Eclectic Decor – Mistakes to Avoid

1. Extreme Color Mashups

One of the easiest mistakes you can fall prey to is using too many colors.  While it’s true that most home decorating styles align themselves with certain color palettes, you’ll need to be selective when mixing them together.

The bold colors you sometimes find in modern decor or may clash with the earth tones of mid-century modern or the neutral tones of the contemporary and transitional decor.  It’s important to be mindful of your color selection for this reason.

Color choice is crucial in making your design work.

eclectic decor mistakes

2. Too Much Stuff

Sourcing too much stuff can also be a problem.

While we want a diverse variety of decor to feature, we don’t want to go overboard.

Unless, of course, you’re into the Maximalist style.  If that’s the case, I recommend reading the post “More Is More: Maximalist Decor” for a closer look at how to approach this style.

eclectic decor mistakes

Buying Eclectic Decor

Where to Buy Eclectic Home Decor?

While I firmly believe this decorating style is more about the methodology than the actual stuff, eclectic decor can be purchased.

If you merely want eclectic looking pieces to pepper into your existing look, seek out artisan decor.

Etsy and Amazon Handmade are great marketplaces to find hand-crafted decorative accents.  If you prefer to buy from a single seller there are places like Modern Artisans, World Market, Ten Thousand Villages, and The Little Market.

eclectic living room


What do you think of the eclectic decor trend? Comment below.

I hope you found this post helpful.  If you did, please share it with a friend and follow Dianne Decor on Pinterest for more decorating inspiration.

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eclectic decor
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