Eclectic Home Decor: Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

For all of the decorating styles out there, the one that is the most misunderstood and challenging to create is Eclectic interior design. So often, a room that is a hodge-podge of colors and styles is referred to by this moniker, but it is just a mess. So what does define Eclectic design? We have dug deep into the exciting and fun decorating style to get you this answer.

Eclectic Home Decor: Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

We may include affiliate links and curated AI content to highlight top design styles.

Eclectic design is very intentional and well-thought-out. An eclectic room should have a unifying theme and follows the five core principles of design: line, color, texture, mass, and form. The main elements of eclectic decor are:

  • Neutral Base Color
  • Mixing Patterns
  • Contrasting Textures
  • Blending Decor from Different Decorating Styles
  • Mixing Furniture from Multiple Eras
  • Adding A Gallery Wall
  • Focus on a Point of Interest

These elements are all frequently used, but not all at the same time.

This is where it gets tricky, and requires some planning and forethought by the decorator.  If too heavy-handed, your room from quickly go from chicly-styled to a cluttered mess. Thankfully, we are here to walk you through the process, so your home is as fun and unique as you are!

What Is Eclectic Decor?

Eclecticism is defined as the mixing of “historical styles with modern elements with the aim of combining the virtues of various styles or increasing allusive content.” It in art evolved in the late 1800s as a way to bring together elements from multiple artistic styles in a cohesive and beautiful way.

The term was coined to describe a group of ancient Greek and Roman philosophers who studied a variety of philosophies and chose the doctrines that made the most sense to them, combining these into a ‘new’ philosophy.

German art historian and archeologist Johan Joachim Winckelmann use the term to describe a work of art by Carracci, whose paintings combined classical and Renaissance elements, and the term soon morphed into an artistic movement in architecture, then in interior design.

What Are the Main Elements of Eclectic Home Decor

Eclectic Decor uses several elements, but for a room to look cohesive, the elements chosen to interplay must follow the basic principles of design line, color, texture, mass, and form to look intentional. Here we will walk you through these elements and how to use them properly.

Neutral Base Color

Since combining ideas, decor, and furniture from different design styles or time periods can get busy looking; it makes sense to start with a calm neutral color palette to layer on.

For example, this all-white living room provides a clean canvas upon which to incorporate modern furniture and luxurious textures from the throw pillows and blankets. The line of furniture is low profile, so as not to block the views from the tall windows. An ornate mirror is tucked into the corner, reflecting the height of the windows and providing a contrast to the modern elements of the room. A luxurious brown area rug pulls the room together and provides warmth against the crisp white.

Get our FREE 7 design style cheat sheets
Subscribe for home design tips & inspiration
Get your free gift: Downloadable design style cheat sheets
Thank you for subscribing!
all-white living room with modern furniture and luxurious textures

Creams and brown as a color palette create a warm and luxurious living room. Use contrasting textures and a simple print to create visual interest.Eclectic living room design with brown walls

When mixing colors and patterns, a neutral base color is critical to prevent visual overload. White walls, 1970’s style modern brown leather sofa with straight lines and circular glass and metal coffee table are the simple elements that allow the boho mix of funky patterns to interplay.

Indulge yourself with these guest bedroom ideas!

If you like colorfully painted walls or even a bold wallpaper, then other significant elements of the room can be your neutral foundation. Here the emerald focal wall and colorful velvet pillows are accents in the otherwise brown and beige room. Three design styles are mixed here to make a chill, yet artsy living room: boho, coastal, and rustic.

living room featuring a neutral foundation with colorful accents

Mix and Match Patterns

Using a variety of patterns in one room can be tricky. It can easily end up in visual overload. The key when mixing patterns is to choose a complementary color palette. Here the prints are primarily in red and appear to incorporate a lower theme. A blue pillow with red print adds contrast, but still ‘goes’ because it contains red.

The scale of the print is vital, as well. Because the focal wall is such a vibrant yellow, a large scale red print would be garish. The diminutive print of the curtains does not compete with this bold color, and the colors of pillows are buffered by the neutral cream sofas.

eclectic living room with colorful foundation pieces like the sofa, ottoman, chair, and curtains

This eclectic living room contains more colors in the foundation pieces like the sofa, ottoman, chair, and curtains, so it makes sense to choose patterns in neutral colors. These patterns provide visual interest without overpowering the colors in the room.

The neutrality of these prints is the only thing that is cohesive, black and white stripes, cheetah print, and a floral tapestry are very different in aesthetic, but their differences are what gives the room its quirky charm. Also note that despite the colors, the other elements of the room are very simple in form, so they don’t compete with the patterns.

living room featuring bold geometric shapes and patterns, primarily in blue, gray, and white

Bold use of geometric shapes and patterns is at home in this living room. The blue/gray/white color palette of the room is what holds it together and kees it cohesive. If you look closely, the modern honeycomb pattern on the ceiling is reflected, to a degree, in the patterns in the traditional rug. This is where the intentionality of the designer comes in. This marriage of the two design aesthetics – traditional interior design and eclectic home decor – was clearly planned, and items were carefully chosen to create this look.

Contrasting Textures

Using textures that are in direct contrast to one another is a great way to give a room a simply designed room warmth and character. By using this technique as a unifying motif of the room, it enables the designer to take other liberties in decorating.

Here Scandinavian design meets rustic and boho. A woven cabinet, fur chair cover, sisal ottomans, and leather rug, all complement one another and add a warm lushness to the room. The details of the gallery wall also add visual texture. The photos are all in a similar color palette but are all very different in terms of the subject matter.

Scandinavian design harmonizes with rustic and boho elements

Texture is very important in this welcoming bedroom. From the aged wooden bench to the worn-looking bedding, natural texture is the key element of this space. The clean lines of the mid-century style console tables that flank the bed feel as they belong because of the choice of wood grains.

Aged wooden bench, worn-looking bedding, and mid-century style console tables with clean lines and chosen wood grains

Blending Decor from Different Styles

As we have seen in some of the previous photos, mixing decorative items from a variety of design styles can look quirky and cool. A good rule of thumb when doing this is to choose form no more than three styles and make sure that the room has a unifying quality.

Here an ornate room has been painted all in white to provide a calming base color for the rest of the room. A massive gilded mirror reflects the time period of the room and the gorgeous mantlepiece it is sitting on. A simple brown velvet sofa and a mid-century accent chair and coffee table provide clean lines to offset the ornate vintage qualities of the room.

ornate room painted entirely in white, offering a calming base for its vintage elements

Contrasting decorative items do not have to be so obvious, though. Here a minimalist dining area is elevated by the incorporation of an industrial-style table and chairs. The perfect clean lines of the room are kept whole by the equal proportions of the furniture and the kitchen island, all of which are perfectly aligned to direct the attention to the fireplace at the end of the room.

 minimalist dining area featuring an industrial-style table and chairs

Different Furniture Styles

Mixing and matching furniture styles a great way to add quirkiness to a room without filling it full of knickknacks and tchotchkes.

Green and pink velvet furniture that hails from the 1960s and a well-worn traditional style area rug are given new life when combined with cube-shaped contemporary tables. Modern-print throw pillows also make this look current and intentional.

living room featuring green and pink velvet furniture inspired by the 1960s

Mixing styles, colors, and patterns can create a fresh and fun vibe when done correctly. Here, we have furniture from several different eras: Victorian-style tufted sofa, a mid-century accent chair, and a funky moss green boho wing chair are all gathered around a 1970’s octagonal coffee table. They are entirely different colors, but each color is reflected in the abstract painting on the wall. Other decorative items are minimal, outside of a could of throw pillows that mimic the boho nature of the wing chair.

living room showcasing a mix of furniture styles from different eras

Gallery Wall

Incorporating a gallery wall gives the room a focal point where you can showcase your personality. The key here is to have a unifying quality to the pictures or items that you choose.

Did you know that navy blue is a neutral color? It is used to grand effect as a background for this gallery wall. The choice of color is a unifier itself, and different shades of blue recur in the portraits that make up the gallery, and the room as a whole.

Be creative and put together these ideas with this awesome bedroom walls!

For a more subtle take on a gallery wall, use prints in black, white, and beige for a consistent palette that adds personality without detracting from the focal point.

Eclectic living room design with gorgeous portrait behind velvet sofa

Point of Focus

Eclectic design has an element of freedom to it that allows the designer more options when styling a room to draw attention to one main focal point. The use of line, shape, and color can draw the eye to a particular location.

Long horizontal lines are evident in this room. The slightly curved sofas face each other to create a visual hallway directed at the stone fireplace. All of the lines of the room, from the wood beaming on the ceiling, the shelving, and even the floor tiles were chosen and installed with this end vision in mind.

Two slightly curved sofas face each other, creating a visual hallway leading to a stone fireplace

Which Materials Are Used For Eclectic Home Decor?

Since Eclectic Decor is a combination of various styles, almost anything goes. There are no hard and fast rules for what materials to use when striving for an eclectic design aesthetic. It is not a question of what to use, but more of a matter of how to put it all together in a way that makes sense.

What Color Schemes Are Typical of Eclectic Home Decor?

In design, color can be a great unifier or a great divider. While eclectic decor lends itself to the idea that anything goes, there are consistent themes in the way that color is used to help create a cohesive and interesting look.

Neutral Foundation Colors

Using a neutral color a the foundation for the rest of your combinations keeps a room being too overbearing.

White walls are always a great choice, especially when you want to add primary colors. The bright white is the perfect backdrop for red and blue.

White walls are always a great choice, especially when you want to add primary colors. The bright white is the perfect backdrop for red and blue.

Eclectic living room design with red and blue velvet sofa

A cozy minimal living room gets eclectic flair with the addition of a textured area rug and vibrant blue sofas. This color blue could easily overpower a room with other colors, but the white and gray background is the perfect frame for their vibrancy.

Neutral Plus One

Using one bold color in combination with a neutral allows the color to really shine. Bold red walls are set off by the white ceiling, carpet, and sofa.

Mustard yellow looks fantastic even in large doses when offset by white walls. The color is prevalent in the large sofa and area rug, as well as the painting. Other colors are minimally used, keeping the focus on the furniture.

a room featuring mustard yellow accents dominating the space, from the large sofa and area rug to the painting

Contrasting Colors

Using contrasting colors against a neutral background can make a room fun and festive.

Teal blue and fuchsia look stunning together but can be a bit too much on their own. Layering these colors as accents over a white background keeps the look funky and vibrant, without going overboard.

a room adorned with stunning teal blue and fuchsia accents layered over a pristine white background

Yellow and green, pink, and blue are all colors that are used in this vibrant farmhouse. The airiness of the room and careful use of patterns keep the look bright and cheery instead of overwhelming.

vibrant farmhouse interior adorned with yellow, green, pink, and blue hues

Shades of one Color

Create cohesion by choosing a color story and sticking with it. Use different shades of one color pulls the room together and makes it easy for mixing and matching patterns and textures.

Different color blues look great with the white walls, and blue paisley curtains ‘go” with a modern geometric area rug, because they are all unified by the same color scheme.

a room adorned with different shades of blue complementing white walls

What is the Difference Between Eclectic and Transitional Design?

This is a common question, as eclectic and transitional are similar in their use of items from different styles and time periods. However, transitional decor tends to use more traditional and contemporary items mixed with sophisticated antiques, whereas eclectic decor is less refined.

6 Quick Tips For Decorating Any Room in the Eclectic Style

  1. Always keep the five basic design principles in mind when planning: line, color, texture, mass, and form.
  2. Choose a neutral color to ground the room.
  3. Choose a theme. This will unify the room and keep it from looking too out there.
  4. Pick a color scheme and stick with it. This makes it easier for mixing and matching of patterns and textures.
  5. Limit the number of decorating styles or time periods to mix to no more than three.
  6. Use an area rug to tie everything together, whether by color, line, or style.

Eclectic Furniture By Type (Including Examples)

Eclectic decor, by definition, is a mixture of styles and designs mixed from almost any decorating motif. That being said, there are some items that are frequently used more than others.

Eclectic Tables

A modern style farmhouse table is a beautiful foundation piece. It has clean lines that are easy to decorate, however you want.

Click here to see more on Amazon

Make a beautiful traditional style dining set the focal point of your dining room. Add an abstract painting and a geometric rug with similar colors for a room that invites conversation.

An industrial coffee table crafted from metal and stone is a quirky counterbalance to a boho or contemporary living room furniture.

Incorporating a clear acrylic coffee table is a fun addition to a living room and can be combined with any decorating style or color scheme.

Eclectic Couch

An ornate statement sofa gives a room flair and works excellent when using color or texture to create an eclectic vibe.

Alternatively, a sofa with clean lines and a neutral color provides the perfect backdrop for more elaborate details.

Eclectic Chairs

Crisp black and white stripes make this accent chair an easy way to incorporate pattern into your design.

Click here to see more on Amazon

A contemporary style accent chair in a neutral pattern can easily be tucked into any eclectic design scheme.

Eclectic Beds

A simple frame is a good choice when you want to keep your look clean and straightforward. This light-colored wood frame will blend in with a variety of styles but will look good, especially in Scandinavian or Minimalist-heavy Eclectic rooms.

Click here to see more on Amazon

If you want your bed to be the center of attention, an elaborately scrolled version might suit your needs.


Eclectic Decor Items

It is the extra touches in Eclectic decor that allow you to bring your personality to life. For the quirky at heart, a buffalo shaped leather ottoman will fit right in. Its neutral coloring will enable it to blend into the background unless you want it to stand out.

Eclectic Lamps

Want something truly unique? Try a stacked tea service candlestick-style table lamp. This would be a fun addition to an entry table or dining room buffet.

Click here to see more on Amazon

Want to add textural interest without flashy color? Try incorporating a mother-of-pearl table lamp to your living room decor. The pale colors will blend with almost any mix of decor.

Eclectic Rugs

If you are looking for a nice rug to build a neutral foundation that still has personality, this ivory boho print rug its just the thing.

Click here to see more on Amazon

An area rug with geometric prints is a great way to add colorful patterns to your room and bring everything together.

Eclectic Wall Decor

Wall decor is where your personality can really shine. Take your time to find pieces that fit into your overall decorating plan, but express who you are!

Elevate your entryway or living space with this stylish set of two dark brown cast iron wall mount hooks featuring palms up design, perfect for hanging coats, purses, scarves, or jewelry, adding both functionality and unique charm to any room décor.

Palms Up Dark Brown Cast Iron Wall Mount Hook

Click here to find this on Amazon.

Create your gallery wall with a curated collection of prints. This set of six pictures were chosen to go together naturally.

Click here to find on Amazon.

We hope you found this guide helpful! Now that you have a better understanding of eclectic interior design, you can implement this decor style in your home.

Interesting in other styles? Try our guides for those too –

Rustic Home Decor for Beginners

Boho Home Decor for Beginners

Coastal Home Decor for Beginners

Industrial Home Decor for Beginners

Get our FREE 7 design style cheat sheets
Subscribe for home design tips & inspiration
Get your free gift: Downloadable design style cheat sheets
Thank you for subscribing!
Share with a friend -

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *