Eclectic style is all about mixing prints, patterns, quirky art pieces, and fun fabrics into a space. While there's a lot of freedom involved when embracing this aesthetic, there are still several pitfalls that you'll want to avoid to ensure that your home looks top-notch.
We spoke with four eclectic design experts who weighed in on the six common mistakes that people make when decorating their homes in this style. Note that the spaces pictured below all exemplify rooms that absolutely nail eclectic style design—so most definitely look to them for inspiration on how to adapt this look correctly.
Forgetting to Edit Your Space
Not every item is going to be an automatic yes all the time. "It’s great to love a lot of styles, and usually, I buy whatever I like and try to make it work," designer Bari Ackerman says. But, she adds, there isn't room for everything in a home, and a bit of editing is key.
"As Chanel said to get dressed then remove one piece of jewelry, do the same with your home," Ackerman comments.
Home design influencer Kate Pearce agrees. "Eclectic style doesn't mean just throwing a bunch of disparate items together in a space," she notes. "Have elements that pull it all together and make the room feel cohesive. That usually involves some level of restraint."
Not Defining a Color Palette
"In other words, use color intentionally," Ackerman advises. She personally decorates her home with orange, green, pink, and a few pops of blue.
Of course, there is still room for a variety of tones. "Use varying shades of your chosen colors to create interest, depth, and a dynamic color flow throughout your home," Ackerman explains.
Home design influencer Tiffany Barino feels similarly. "Not having one signature color throughout, conjoining the different styles, can make the space appear more messy than collected," she comments.
Not Paying Attention to Scale
"When attempting to achieve an eclectic style, often people will collect pieces over time," designer Michelle Gage explains. "That’s certainly a good way to achieve the look, but if you aren’t designing a room all at once, you really need to be paying close attention to the scale of each and every piece you’re sourcing."
Scale is essential in creating a cohesive, functional space. she adds.
Forgetting About Scale When It Comes to Prints
The concept of scale isn't just important with regard to furniture, it's also key to keep in mind in terms of prints in wallpaper, art, and textile form.
"A swirl of different colors and patterns goes a long way to achieving an eclectic look," Gage says. But keep in mind the size of various prints—as Gage puts it, "You can’t have a whole room full on only oversized patterns; you need scale printed to provide balance and contrast."
Incorporating Too Much Décor Off the Bat
"I think people mistake eclectic for maximalism, so they pack on the décor and then feel overwhelmed," home design influencer Monica Benavidez says. "The styles definitely go together, but if you're transitioning to a more eclectic style in your home, resist the urge to add a lot of décor right off the bat."
Instead, Benavidez suggests layering in pieces as you figure out what eclectic means to you. Master your color scheme first, then think about the smaller pieces that you wish to showcase—art, glassware, sculptural objects, and the like.
Paying Too Much Attention to Traditional Design Rules
Why not make the design process joyful? "Buy and collect pieces you love, whether they're from the 18th century or the 21st, and just have fun," Pearce encourages. "One of my favorite spots in my home combines a 19th-century ornate chair, a sleek mid-century desk, postmodern décor pieces, and a kitschy popsicle stick table lamp."
Though this feels like it shouldn't all work together, it does. "Because they all have warm wood tones that complement one another, the space is just fun, interesting, cohesive, and, most importantly, it feels personal and like a true reflection of my style," Pearce explains.
What could be better? All in all, Pearce urges us to have fun, but be mindful of telling an intentional story through aesthetic tools, such as color, pattern, scale, and texture.