7 Designer-Approved Ways to Achieve an Eclectic Look (Without Venturing Into Cluttered Territory)

Green eclectic living room.

While Florian Sleeps

Antique décor next to IKEA finds, $1 thrift store frames, and curbside finds. Shiny chrome from the 70s, velvet from the 60s, and oil paintings dating back long before our time. Neon art, old family photographs, and vibrant patterns—what could these possibly have in common? All of these have a place in an eclectic home

Creating an eclectic space is all about embracing the items you love without worrying if they fit into one particular trend or match the inspiration you’ve seen on Instagram. It’s pairing metallic wallpaper and ornate frames together and calling it a look. It’s all about the process—you gravitate towards the pieces that move you, then figure out how the room will come together. 

But, how do you make sure your space comes together in a way that's both eclectic and intentional? You want your home to look unique, bold, maybe a bit quirky—but you also want to avoid becoming a cluttered shop of curiosities. 

We talked to seven designers who embrace the eclectic look for their favorite tips on combining estate sale treasures, modern buys, interesting art, and a big dose of personal style.

01 of 07

Incorporate a Few Quirky Touches

Navy sitting room with lots of art and ornate chandelier.

Brexton Cole Interiors

"My take on eclectic design includes unexpected pops in otherwise traditional design. Think of traditional wallpaper with unexpected modern art or a random colored sculpture mixed in with books. I love the, 'Oh, wow! That’s a cool but interesting touch.' The key though is to not add too many quirky touches—just one or two does the trick." —Valerie Darden of Brexton Cole Interiors

02 of 07

Give the Look of a Collection

"One easy way to achieve an eclectic look without it looking cluttered is to curate like objects together to give the look of a collection. Another tip: if you have a lot of books or magazines, create a book stack and top it off with a decorative piece or use multiple book stacks side-by-side as a surface and place leaning art on top of it against a wall." —Jess Reilly, Domicile 37

03 of 07

Keep Within a Theme

"When displaying eclectic décor, if you keep within a theme, be it a texture, color, or subject, it feels cohesive and planned—even when it’s not—instead of hectic and kitschy. Also, try not to decorate with pieces from a specific decade. Then, it could end up looking like a museum instead of an eclectic mix, which is the goal." —Kaitlyn Coffee, Harris Vintage

04 of 07

Layer Color Intentionally

Green eclectic living room.

While Florian Sleeps

"I love bold patterns and color. My approach involves layering patterns, color, and texture in an intentional way. I use bold colors on my walls, so my furnishings are solid, more understated neutral colors to allow for some visual relief, allowing the more bold elements to shine. In my living room, I have a wallpapered feature wall, emerald-hued walls, and a chartreuse ceiling, so I went with a cream shag area rug to give the eye a break while adding a layer of texture. When using multiple patterns in a space, I make sure they vary in scale." —Erika Kikola, While Florian Sleeps

05 of 07

Mix Old and New

"The trick to putting together a successfully eclectic space is to bring together pieces with varying degrees of personality. Too many show-stopper pieces will make the room scream chaos, and too much simplicity can leave you wanting more. Mixing up old and new or unexpected and traditional will almost always create an interesting and sophisticated space." —Julianne Strom Brill, Moss and Blue Home

06 of 07

Try Vintage Art

Eclectic living room with wooden beams on ceiling.

Indigo Leopard Home

"To create an eclectic look try picking up art from your local thrift or antique store. Style your side table or mantle  with vintage brass candlesticks or busts. I like to add in rugs and pillows with bright pops of color, but black and white elements are also great to add into any design. Most importantly, I think it’s about the mix. A little old, a little modern, maybe some wallpaper—have fun and play around." —Sarisa Munoz, Indigo Leopard Home

07 of 07

Collect Pieces With Meaning

Eclectic boho living room.

Jessica Brigham

"What I’ve always loved about being eclectic is it’s not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing. Naturally drawn to a smorgasbord of styles, I find myself collecting pieces that really speak to me—whether it’s a texture, a vibrant boost of color or something super unique. A few great ways to reel-in on the potential clutter-y look of a one-of-a-kind collection are:

  1. Make sure you absolutely love an item before taking it home. If it sparks inner joy, trust me, it’ll work.
  2. Have fun with the design by arranging different displays to find just the right balance of texture, staggered heights, and cohesive colors.
  3. If you get the urge to purge ‘cause you’re not feeling what you’ve got, trust yourself, do it and start anew." —Jessica Brigham

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