Eclectic Interior Design

Eclectic Interior Design

Origins of Eclectic Interior Design

According to House Beautiful the term eclectic is derived from the Greek word ‘eklektikos’ meaning selective.  This ideology related to philosophy, and was interpreted to suggest that people should create their own philosophy by choosing the best philosophical ideas from a range of theories.

Over time the idea of eclecticism spread into other industries including the interior design industry. What this means in an interior design context is that one chooses the best aspects from different interior design styles and applies them to a space.

In an eclectic space you might find the Cabriole leg from Classical French style with a slim line from the Mid-Century Modern aesthetic. The colour scheme could be neutral Scandinavian which is peppered with some tribal art.

30Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

Why Eclectic Interior Design is Tricky

The appeal of eclectic interior design is that many people think they can do it themselves.  That it’s the easiest interior design style to achieve in your own home.  Buy shopping at secondhand stores or incorporating your grandma’s antique cabinet and with a few knick-knacks acquired over the years, people think they can achieve this complex style.

Eclectic interior design could be the hardest style to achieve.  Let me explain why.  Interior design consists of seven elements: space, line, shape, colour, texture, light, and pattern.  The five principles of interior design are balance, rhythm and repetition, emphasis, proportion and scale, and harmony.

Let’s take the principle of emphasis, in eclectic interior design what will you emphasise?  Your grandma’s antique cabinet or the tribal artwork you bought on holiday?  What connects these pieces?  What about the principle of repetition?  For a space to be harmonious and cohesive repetition is key.  In an eclectic space with individual items from different styles, with different shapes, colours and textures, which will you repeat to ensure the space is not chaotic.

Photo by Andrea Davis on Unsplash

Creating An Eclectic Space

Eclectic interior design has many interpretations from boho to contemporary.  It is essentially a space that comprises a wide mix of styles, colours, patterns, textures.  A space that represents your life story and the objects you love. 

It combines East with West, dark with light, soft and hard, glam with relaxed elements, it is a style with depth and interest.  The key to this style is deciding which direction to take from the outset.

In deciding the direction from the outset you could focus on a particular colour scheme, a material, a collection you have or a significant piece of furniture in a defined style.

Setting a Direction for Eclectic Interior Design

People who like this style have diverse interests and will almost always have existing pieces they want to incorporate into the space.  An interior designer’s job is to find the patterns within the existing pieces, art, collections and set a direction.

A good place to start will be with the focal point.  This could be an antique piece of furniture, or beloved piece of art.  An important aspect to getting eclectic interior design right is selecting a colour scheme.  A good colour scheme applied with balance will help ground the space and tie in all the different styles together.

Don’t go overboard.  With eclectic interior design, as the origins of the word suggests, it’s important to be selective.  To curate the space with the best pieces with intention and attention.  This is a fun style, that can be really interesting, with lots of talking points. 

Written by Trish Khoury
Founding Director
Grace Interior Designs for The Design Basics