What Is Eclectic Interior Design?

What Is Eclectic Interior Design?

You’ve heard of maximalist interior design—but what is eclectic interior design? Learn the differences between these two busy styles. 



When it comes to interior design, most homes don’t fit neatly into one category. As our tastes and budgets change, we bring different styles into our living spaces without an underlying plan for how it will all fit together. 

But, with just a touch of effort, you can take this ever-changing hodgepodge of decor and turn it into an intentional style. That’s the beauty of eclectic design. 

What is eclectic interior design? 

Eclectic interior design is a collection of seemingly unrelated aesthetics brought together with intention. In this way, it can seem like just a different name for maximalist interior design. But there is more nuance to the distinction of maximalist versus eclectic design. 

Eclectic design actually fits somewhere between maximalist design and mid-century modern design.

Eclectic and mid-century modern are about juxtaposition: they both bring together the natural and the synthetic, traditional and modern, and have an emphasis on bold patterns. But mid-century modern design skews much less busy, with a lighter use of decorative elements and favoring function over form.

Eclectic and maximalist design, on the other hand, are both much more kinetic: busy design, high texture, and a sense of ordered chaos. But where maximalist design says “more,” eclectic design says “different.” 

Here are six tips to help you achieve a more coherent eclectic style. 

Pick a theme

Think of eclectic design as variations on a theme. Your theme doesn’t have to fit within any specific parameters: it could be as specific as Chicago, summer 1927, something a little less restricting like video games, or a theme as broad as the color blue. Whatever theme you choose will help guide what you bring in, what you take out, and where it all goes. 

Casual, off-center arrangement of furniture 

Playfulness is a defining feature of eclectic interior design. Lean into this by placing furniture off center from where it’s “supposed” to be. An uneven placement will create new and unexpected spaces in your room. For example: a couch placed much closer to one wall as opposed to being centered between two walls creates a sitting space and the potential for a place to put a curio cabinet, a collection of floor plants, or something else unexpected. 

Competing patterns, harmonious color 

Your theme doesn’t have to be based around a single color, but eclectic design calls for harmony within your color scheme. That means the frantic energy of your eclectic interior design should come from abundant patterns you pick, not clashing colors. Stripes, polkadots, floral patterns—yes, yes, and yes! 

Curate a gallery wall

One of the easiest ways to deepen the feeling of eclectic design is to squeeze in as much wall art as you can—or, at least, as much art as you want. As with maximalist interior design, ephemera is right at home next to deeply sentimental pieces. This mix-and-match approach allows you to add, remove, swap, and remix as often as you like. However, within eclectic design, consideration should be given to how the colors work together. This will give it a sense of intentionality while preserving a feeling of light chaos. 

Travel through time with pieces from multiple eras 

Do you have a vintage end table, a couch you love from college, and some brand new arm chairs? You’re well on your way to embracing eclectic interior design. Even if all your pieces are more or less from the last 15 years, bringing in a few pieces of furniture from different eras can amp up your eclectic feel—especially if those pieces are from starkly different time periods. 

Keep it simple…er

Yes, eclectic interior design is busy and should embrace multiple visual styles within the same room. But, in contrast to maximalism, eclectic design is not about bringing as much as you can into a room. Instead, pick a few unexpected elements outside the variations on pattern and texture to bring the aesthetics off the walls. If you are looking to add variety with rugs, consider rug layering or one large rug with an interesting pattern. Plants are another way to bring texture and a sense of connection between the floor, walls, and ceiling. 

Get started with a new rug

Are you ready to make your living space into an eclectic wonderland? Find the perfect texture, color, and pattern to iterate on the theme of your room with one of our custom rugs


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