Eclectic Design Explained - Roots and How to Achieve It

Eclectic Design Explained - Roots and How to Achieve It

Decoration and Design
Additions and Remodels
Architecture
By Contractors.com Team July 22, 2021

Many modern styles today are restrained in their color schemes and conservative in their decor. It can get a bit tiring sometimes to see nothing but neutral modernist homes and staid traditional layouts with few interesting decorative elements and not much flare. Sometimes you need to spice things up in life to keep things interesting, and that means going for funkier and more interesting visual aesthetics. And if unconventional is your style, then you’ve probably had a few brushes with eclectic interior design. Eclectic design is about more than just putting some random colorful stuff together and hoping nothing clashes. 

Instead, it’s a well-developed design philosophy that has some basic guidelines that make this design style attainable for anyone. Unlike more traditional design trends, the eclectic setup is free of rigid rules, which allows for a lot more experimentation. All you need is a vision and an openness to new and unconventional ideas with your interior design. Building an eclectic-style home may be challenging at first since it is not like long-established styles such as the traditional style. But in the end, it can be tremendously rewarding as you’ll be left with a home that’s unlike any other in looks and character.    

Roots of the Eclectic Style 

The eclectic style is a product of aesthetic trends that began to make their way into architecture by the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. 

A Ride Down Etymology Lane

To understand its genesis, it’s worth exploring the meanings and origins of the word itself, “eclecticism”. This comes from the Greek word eklektikós, and it basically means “selective” or “choosy”. In the context of the eclectic design style, this translates to “choosing only from the best”, and that’s pretty descriptive. Instead of consisting of just one narrow design style, eclectic decor comes from a wide range of different styles such as Byzantine, traditional, Modernism, Neoclassicism, and many more. Originally, the eclectic interior design style was never meant to be a well-defined style. Instead, it was supposed to be an “anti-design style”, not mean to adhere to any strict guidelines.  

The Hidden Magic Behind Eclectic Interiors

The Hidden Magic Behind Eclectic Interiors

Modern Evolution of the Eclectic Streak

However, eclectic design did not remain as nebulous as intended by the original creators of the trend and has since gone on to become a distinct design style of its own. Nevertheless, it remains unique as a design style that does not play by hard and fast rules. Put simply, modern eclectic style is no Baroque revival. If anything, it’s the antithesis of the traditionally-rooted interior design trends. 

The modern eclectic design has evolved into a style that emphasizes the importance of choosing only the best materials and decor from other design styles. It is this design philosophy that gives it its distinguished look. While eclectic design has never quite reached the heights of popularity of modernism, it remains quite widespread. If you’re looking for something that will set your home’s interior design apart from the rows upon rows of contemporary designs, this style and its elements are definitely worth considering.     

Modern Takes On Eclectic Design

Modern Takes On Eclectic Design

How to Recognize Eclectic Design

International Motives

Because eclectic design draws from the best ideas of other interior design philosophies, it can also be inspired by global influences. Motives from Japandi, Victorian, Southwestern, and Feng Shui can all coexist harmoniously in eclectic-style homes. Of course, there is logic to this synthesis, and eclectic room decor isn’t meant to be chaotic. 

It also definitely shouldn’t be culturally appropriated, so any global influences in an eclectic style home will be balanced and tasteful. The goal is that these various decor pieces should play off one another, and act as accenting or gracefully contrasting pieces to one another.     

Most Noticeable Elements of Eclectic Design

Most Noticeable Elements of Eclectic Design

A Gallery In Your Home

Eclectic style is all about melding the most beautiful pieces of design styles from all over the world. In other words, central parts of the home such as the eclectic living room are a gallery for some of the most aesthetically pleasing furnishings that the world has to offer. But this gallery can also stretch to the walls in the form of art pieces from different periods and countries. This is a distinctive feature of the eclectic design style and is a key component of what gives an eclectic home its whimsy persona. The tastefully contrasting pieces keep the eye engaged and prevent the space from turning stale and becoming uninteresting.  

How to Balance the Chaos In Your Eclectic Interior Design

How to Balance the Chaos In Your Eclectic Interior Design

 Layering the Old and New

The pieces that make up eclectic room decor don’t just have to come from various places, but can also come from various time periods. This is part and parcel of the gallery effect that is reproduced with contrasting furnishings in an eclectic style house. It is perfectly normal to see a colonial-style antique sofa paired with a granite modernist table. This contrast is actually what makes an eclectic-style space look so distinctive and visually appealing. 

How to Integrate the Old With the New In Eclectic Interiors

How to Integrate the Old With the New In Eclectic Interiors

How to Achieve the Eclectic Look In Your Home

Because eclectic interior design doesn’t have specific rules, there are just a few general things to keep in mind as you bring the eclectic look to your house. 

Avoid Cultural Appropriation

We touched on this above, but it’s important to go over it in more detail. The modern eclectic style is especially unique thanks to the huge range of aesthetic traditions it can draw from. And indeed, this allows for an exciting range of aesthetic possibilities that opens up for your home’s decor, which is of course a good thing. However, as you go about curating your eclectic home decor, you should be mindful of the cultural significance and meaning of the pieces you select. 

Keeping Your Eclectic Design Tasteful and Respectful

Keeping Your Eclectic Design Tasteful and Respectful

In general, avoid selecting religious or spiritually-themed pieces based purely on cosmetics. For example, don’t buy an idol of a Hindu deity purely because “you like the bright colors”. This doesn’t mean that you can’t use this kind of decor piece, just be sure that your layout takes into consideration any cultural sensitivities (for example, don’t put leather on a Hindu deity). This can be a bit confusing, but in general, if you wouldn’t feel comfortable showing off your “Hindu-themed living room” to an Indian friend, then it’s probably a bad idea. This is necessarily an exercise in trial and error, so don’t let any setbacks discourage you. 

Instead, think of this as a new learning experience that teaches you new things, all while making your house look awesome! 

Select a Color Scheme

This is one of the main ways to keep your eclectic home decor from clashing. Picking a consistent color palette allows you to build your eclectic home design around it. Furnishings, fixtures, and trim pieces can all be based on this color scheme, allowing you to use various pieces for accenting and contrasting. Eclectic-style homes are meant to give off some funky vibes, so don’t hesitate to play with colors and incorporate some more vibrant hues. 

Selecting Colors for Your Eclectic Interior

Selecting Colors for Your Eclectic Interior

Textures

In the same vein, don’t be afraid to experiment with various textures as well. To do this, be sure to make use of a wide range of various materials. This is another place where you can do some mixing and matching. For example, a typical eclectic living room with hardwood floors can have an Armenian-style carpet as its centerpiece, and this can be lined with a variety of wooden and metal-framed furniture upholstered with linen or leather. This will help add depth to the space, which makes it all the more exciting to spend time in. 

The Many Textures and Materials of Eclectic Interiors and Architecture

The Many Textures and Materials of Eclectic Interiors and Architecture

Avoid Crowding

While an eclectic room decor should keep the eye engaged, it shouldn’t be overstimulating or overwhelming. For this reason, avoid putting an excessive amount of accessories and furnishings in a single space. An eclectic style home shouldn’t look like a highway pileup of furniture. Rather, it should be a tasteful and measured collection of interesting pieces. 

How to Avoid Clutter In Your Eclectic Interior

How to Avoid Clutter In Your Eclectic Interior

Balance 

When playing with bright colors, it's important to balance things out so that your eclectic style house doesn’t come off as too jarring. There are various ways to do this, and it ultimately depends on what direction you choose to go in as far as color palettes are concerned. The rule of thumb is as follows; if you choose bright colors for your furnishings, it is recommended that you use neutral, more restrained colors for your walls.  

Tips On Keeping a Balance Between Order and Chaos In Eclectic Interiors

Tips On Keeping a Balance Between Order and Chaos In Eclectic Interiors

CT

Written by
Contractors.com Team

Written by Contractors.com Team

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