The Dos & Don’ts of Eclectic Styling


Create Transition

Dolores Wolfe, IDS, Wolfe Studio Interiors

I like to mix different styles of furnishings. A couple of antiques with a traditional feel pair with a contemporary piece that’s been painted. Use a neutral rug or sofa if you are layering multiple fabrics. Be careful of mixing too many different colors and textures. Woods can be mixed in too, but don’t put a really rough texture next to a polished piece. Texture needs to transition. But in the end, use things you love to look at and are important to you – that’s what makes your home special.


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Tiffany Anick, Allied ASID, Southerly Abode

Have a Focal Point

When going for an eclectic style, it’s important to consider scale – get a general sense of your layout before you begin collecting your furniture, art, and accessories. Then start with a focal point. Pick your “wow” piece and build around that. If you’re in love with your great grandmother’s Victorian chest, then use that piece as your foundation and accessorize around it. You can group a modern art piece, a bohemian upholstered chair, Turkish pottery, and mud cloth pillows if you keep the colors consistent. Color is the great unifier between pieces.


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Kimberly Varner, ASID, NCIDQ, Kimberly Varner Interior Design

Use Timeless Pieces

The term “eclectic” refers to ideas, style, or tastes from a broad and diverse range of sources. This approach is always at work in the design process. The goal is to arrive at a well-planned, curated, and authentic look for each client and to define a space from the moment you step into it. Do: collect things you love. Do: seek timeless pieces. Do: create beauty in your everyday surroundings. Plan, develop, generate, implement!


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Lindsey Frost, Frost Designs, Inc.

Use a Neutral Backdrop

Eclectic styling is about using things that you love and that make you happy. The best rule for eclectic design is to break all of the rules to create a space that is uniquely yours and visually intriguing. Use a neutral backdrop to let your collections shine by painting your walls and trim white. Benjamin Moore’s White Dove or Decorator’s White are go-to colors. Repeat the styles and colors that you are drawn to throughout your home to create cohesion. If you love mid-century modern lighting, run with it. If abstract art is your thing, use it. Do you love an Asian flair? Repeat it. That graphic wallpaper that you are drawn to is waiting to be the focal point in your foyer or master bath. Follow your gut when designing a space and don’t be afraid to be bold.      


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Julie Bledsoe, Dwell Designed Construction

Create Breathing Space

Eclectic styles have a well-traveled look, but can easily become overpowering to your senses if you don’t strike a balance. Neutrals become the breathing space in the room, whether that is your walls or furniture. If you keep your walls neutral, you can add pops of color in furniture, art, and accessories to tie the look together. Mixing your artwork and layering textures and shapes always work well to create an eclectic style. Really unique pieces are often the center of eclectic styles because they create their own vibe.


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Jimmy Adams, Nell’s Home, Gifts, and Interior Design

Select What You Love

Eclectic style is the blending of periods, colors, and finishes. To carry this off successfully, the basic rules of design still exist. Choose a focus, whether in the color, fabric, or style of the piece. The most important part of eclectic style is that you really love and care about your pieces. Be selective. You don’t want to end up with a garage sale in your home. Above all, love the pieces you own and others will as well.

Photography (above) by Emily Long


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