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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Defining Design: Eclectic Interiors

eclectic frames

“Eclectic” is a word that has become rather ubiquitous. It’s an easy way to explain a look that doesn’t fit into any traditionally defined molds, yet it is a word that conjures up so many images for so many people. While traditional and modern aesthetics have slightly stricter definitions and parameters, eclecticism, like beauty, is completely open for interpretation and is often in the eye of the beholder.

eclectic dining

For example, “eclectic” could be used to describe the stunning dining room above, although most of the pieces belong to the midcentury modern aesthetic—Platner chairs, a sputnik chandelier, an abstract table, and painterly rug. These items come together in a room that is modern in sensibility but most definitely feels “eclectic”.

eclectic madeline weinrib 

Having said that, a space like this one featuring mostly traditional elements such as a bergere chair, hand-painted deGournay wallpaper, boxwood topiaries, warm wood finishes, and nailhead trim could also be seen as eclectic. After all, the bergere chair is upholstered in an abstract Madeline Weinrib fabric, the dining chairs are upholstered in cerulean leather, and the designer opted for a modern Saarinen Tulip Table. That’s definitely an “eclectic” mix, right?

eclectic todd romano {An Eclectic Room by Todd Alexander Romano}

An “eclectic” room can be polished or rustic, masculine or feminine, stark in palette or swathed in color and pattern. In my opinion, the most defining factor of an “eclectic” interior is the mix. Any interior, but especially an eclectic one, is all about the layers. Layers of color, texture, pattern, patina, and interest. The interiors I consider to be eclectic and also some of the most beautiful include an interesting assortment of pieces—items from various eras and places. Eclectic interiors are some of the chicest and also most personal because of the mix that I mentioned. Quite often, you’ll find sentimental pieces mixed in with expensive antiques and junk store finds, but the way in which they are composed and edited is what makes the provenance of each piece a little less obvious, but all the more special.

ecelectic ftrb

{Bold Prints via From the Right Bank}

ecelectic douglas mackie {A Mix of Traditional and Modern, Global and Abstract in a Living Room by Douglas Mackie}

eclectic albert hadley {An Eclectic Library by the great Albert Hadley}

eclectic allen kirsch {The architecture of this room by Allen Kirsch is traditional, but the furniture and accessories are most definitely an eclectic mix!}

eclectic bijou boheme {Glamour and Eclecticism meet in this Room by Christine Dovey of Bijou and Boheme}

ecelectic remodelista {Masculine Eclecticism via Remodelista}

ecelectic bruce budd 

{An Eclectic Room by Bruce Budd via Mark D. Sikes}

eclectic nuevo estilo {Layers of Patterns and Textures in an Eclectic Space via Nuevo Estilo}

What is your definition of an “eclectic” interior? Is this a style to which you gravitate? Do you agree that it is a very subjective term?



Sarah said...

OMG! I am in love with that over-sized leopard ottoman in Allen Kirsch's Clearlake Drive house. Any idea where to find something similar?


Joanne | a.k.a JoJo said...


I LOVE L-O-V-E this post!!!! It brings such a happy peace to my heart and eyes when viewing such a collection of ECLECTIC spaces!

I was just asked recently to name the overall style of my space in one word... and I used ECLECTIC. Because that is just what it is!

Eclectic design is SO complex, but really really fun! I used our home as a space to showcase our family's personality and style. It turns into one ECLECTIC storm of wonderfulness {at least I think so... but, I am biased... wink - wink}.

Here is the link to our Home Tour if you want to check it out, I'd love to hear if you think I nailed it with the word ECLECTIC ;)

Thanks again for posting this design style!!!!


Alanna said...

Eclectic interiors traditionally referred to mixing time periods, but your great examples show how patterns, styles and colors can be just as interesting and appealing... maybe that's why eclectic is predominant on the decorating scene these days? We have access to so many different materials and traditions. Synthesizing them in one space keeps us on our toes!

Jessi said...

Traditionally, I lean towards safe colors and prints. More of a beach, light feel. But, lately, I've been loving all of the eclectic rooms I've been seeing. They can really showcase a personality. And, when you are a couple, it's even easier to blend in both of your tastes and decor items.

Love This Space said...

My style is definitely eclectic although a less-kind person might describe it as mish-mash.

I love contrast so I tend to contrast styles as well as time periods as well as color. A person's space should reflect the person and who fits into one mold?

The Office Stylist said...

I am obsessed the purple chair from Madeline Weinrib! So fab, especially with those yellow accent chairs!!

--Sayeh, The Office Stylist

Laurel said...

I think that some of these spaces work better than others. The one with the three French chairs looks like they just stuck some pieces in a room for the photo and I guess when it comes to REALLY clashing colors, its not my thing. However, what I notice is that these are all architecturally beautiful spaces and to me, its like a beautiful woman in an orange dress with an hermes scarf, purple shoes and a green and pink polka dotted handbag. She'll still be a beautiful woman, but I would be distracted from that beauty by the rest of it. I do LOVE mixing styles and love a smattering of the unexpected.I think that's what gives a room its finesse In fact, my own living room which is on my blog is quite eclectic and maybe some people would hate it, but I love being in my living room, where I also work. In some cases here, it looks, IMO like anything goes--- whatever the stylist had floating around on the truck then they tell the driver, "Hey,just stick it anywhere Joe."

Dawna Jones Design said...

Love this Paloma. With all the styles that seem to surge then disappear, I will always keep this one close to heart. It defines us and sets us apart from one another, because no two people can duplicate, making each and every one of us entirely unique!

Thank you.

Amanda said...

Great roundup! I agree and have to say as broad as "electric" is, it's my most favorite style. No two visions are the same and that's what makes it so special!