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Eclectic interior design: how to achieve the look and why this trend is bound to stay

Eclectic style is becoming increasingly popular, and for good reason: it is a playground for designers' tastes and references. Adopt this style and unleash your potential – you won't regret it.

Blue sofa with pink walls and tapestry and plants.
July 19, 2022
Writer turned designer J.J. Martin’s eclectic home

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Hop online and the first thing you’ll see is someone – potentially us – auguring the end of minimalism’s reign. Now, we just covered minimalism and we think it’s a timeless staple, but it would take a conscious ignorance to dismiss the rise of maximalism and eclectic design styles.

In the most simple of terms, eclectic style is characterised by an individual blend of different interior design styles. On its own, it doesn’t have a tightly defined look, but it can be identified via the creative mix of inspiration, furniture and architectural motifs, which vary by trend, period, texture, colour and look.

Jonathan Adler’s Greenwich Village Apartment

This style of interior design and architecture was born from a countermovement amongst architects in the late nineteenth, early twentieth century. Some architects, tired of following strict rules and styles, decided to build only with their own wants and needs in mind. Ironically, their refusal to categorise themselves created a new style: eclecticism. 

While there are no guidelines to create an eclectic look in your home or design, there are some easy ways to create this atmosphere. Before you proceed, remember that eclecticism is about creating your own style and being guided by your taste, so let this be an inspirational guide and not a rulebook. 

Broaden your inspiration sources

Home of Terry de Gunzburg. The founder of French cosmetics brand by Terry 

Eclecticism is all about showing the expanse of your taste and inspiration, and drawing from different sources to create something unique. Think of eclecticism as the interiors equivalent of “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen – wholly unique, inspired by innumerable sources, joyous, and personal to the creator. 

To find new inspiration, go beyond Pinterest and Instagram – explore architectural history, discover styles outside the Western canon, go out in the street, buy a ticket to a museum, visit your friends’ houses… You never know when genius will strike. 

Think big and small – the details matter

Home of Angela Blehm

Eclectic style is all about mixing and matching styles and eras harmoniously, so make sure to think about the furniture, architecture and details all at once. Because so many elements are melting into one, you run the risk of getting messy very quickly, so feel free to take away things and add them back later, in order to achieve the right balance. When it comes to details, be creative and connect them back to your essence as a designer or your own history as a person – that’s how true eclectic design shines.

Find statement pieces you love

Lake Forest Show House by Sarah Vaile Design

Eclectic style relies on stunning focal points that draw the inhabitants’ attention and eye. For this, you’ll need architectural motifs, furniture, ornaments or art that really capture one’s imagination. You can look at our eclectic products selection for inspiration.

Choose bold walls or bold pieces – but not both

Interiors by Michelle Nussbaumer 

Wallpaper and wall panelling have reemerged in the public consciousness, and for good reason: they’re simple ways to add something quirky and colourful to your design. However, to create a balanced room that won’t overwhelm its inhabitants with time, make sure statements are not superimposed over each other. 

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Now you know everything about eclectic style but you’re still curious… How did we get here? Is this trend going to stick? There are a few reasons behind this shift from minimalism to eclecticism, which we briefly introduced on TikTok, but let us guide you through them so you get the whole story on this style.

The moderation to visual excess pendulum has swung (again)

If you look at the development of interior design across the ages, you might recognise periods of frugal constraint and joyous consumption. Marked by spiritual, historical and economic happenings, designers and home enthusiasts alike tend to respond to their surroundings in particular ways. 

In the 2010s, Instagram and Pinterest created a very particular, scaled back look that permeated photo backdrops for years. Walls were white, ornaments were scarce, silver or gold details were everywhere, and very importantly: the focus was cleanliness and open space. Of course, many designers were doing different things, but pop culture came to expect a certain aesthetic when it thought of luxury.

Meanwhile, thrifting and second-hand interior shopping started to rise. In other corners of the industry far away from the “crafted for social media spaces”, many were starting to look back in time for inspiration. Similarly to the fashion industry, the 2011 recession inspired many interior designers to think differently about consumption and adopt different patterns to their sourcing of furniture and hard surfaces. 

And so, the slow bubbling rise of vintage shopping combined with the oversaturation of scaled back spaces created a demand for more clutter, chaos… and personality. Enter a new age of maximalism.

The pandemic put a bigger onus on our homes and virtual lives

It’s safe to say we’ve never spent as much time at home as we did during the pandemic. Our Zoom backgrounds became windows into our self-expression, and we became hungry for vibrancy. As more and more people developed completely virtual personas, sometimes anchored on internet aesthetics, interior design started to change from a purely inward, functional space to a space designed to reflect oneself unto others. The privacy of the home became weakened, and so did our threshold for impersonal spaces that didn’t tell our story. Despite our lack of socialising, we didn’t stop connecting, hence our new desire to share ourselves in new, innovative ways.

The trend cycle is speeding up and microtrends are emerging

Until very recently, the world of interiors has been exempt from the fast nature of microtrends. Trends in the industry used to last five to ten years, whereas modern microtrends last for two to five months. With this fast cycle, we can expect people to accumulate more belongings and thus adopt a more visually-packed aesthetic, ultimately influencing the overall design choices and trends we see online.

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