How to Design an Eclectic Living Room

Eclectic style living rooms are unique and often highly personal. To achieve this look, you must combine furniture, d├ęcor, lighting, art and textiles from different design styles and periods. The key to creating eclectic spaces that are cohesive and purposeful is making sure that the elements in your living room relate to each other in ways other than just their style - such as through proportion, color, texture and scale.


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    Decide if you are eclectic. Most people who choose eclectic interiors have a natural appreciation for a wide variety of design styles. They may like elements of the Shabby Chic or the Mid-Century Modern movement for example, but they will not be drawn to decorate their homes fully in that style. If you are eclectic, you may have an appreciation for art, like to travel or enjoy hunting for and collecting vintage pieces. Look around at your current living room and take inventory of your favorite things. Do they relate? Do they vary widely on style?
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    Start with your best stuff. Eclectic design is really about appreciating the beauty of each piece, just as you appreciate art. It works better when you have well-made items with personality that speak to your heart. A vintage sofa, a tree stump side table and an inlaid bone box are cool items with a story and a great place to start. It doesn't work as well if everything you have is store bought from big chains.
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    Choose the right sofa. Make sure you choose a sofa that first meets your needs, then pleases the style gods. A sectional or a love seat can work, but just make sure it has clean lines and is not overly-stuffed, hugely proportioned or has giant rolled arms. If you go for something store bought, look to the modern options such as Ikea or West Elm for style direction. Higher-end style inspiration can be found at Roche Bobois or Ligne Roset. If you go for vintage, do an online search for Bergere.
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    Go to the flea market. Find a local flea market in your area and source cool, large scale accessories to add visual interest and personality. Large, industrial vintage letters, kilim rugs, mid-century planters, lighting of all kinds and vintage wool blankets are all desirable accessories that are trending now in design. Buy only what you love.
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    Find ways to unify the space. Eclectic design is not a free-for-all. Disparate pieces must relate. Look at the scale of things. A giant puffy sofa does not work well with a streamlined mid-century side chair because the chair will look too small. The person who buys the puffy sofa is not the same person who buys the mid-century chair. Keep in mind that texture through the material in a room should be balanced. You don't want too many furnishings to be glass or metal per say, rather a balanced mix of wood, marble, glass and metal will feel better. Also, balance your finishes - shiny, matte, furry, silky and nubby. Unify spaces through color. Try using a rug to tie living room pieces together. Sisal or jute rugs are classic options that never go out of style. Keep window treatments simple. Use flat roman shades and/ or drapery panels and sheers.
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    Read AD Espana Magazine. This is the king of eclectic high-end design. It is in Spanish but you do not have to understand the language to appreciate the boldness of the images. Study the images and try to visually see how things relate to each other without being necessarily in the same style. You can only buy this magazine at specialty bookshops or magazine kiosks in major cities / international airports. Check out their website or Facebook page - although the magazine is really the best to have and study.


  • Take photos of your living room using your phone so you can always refer to them when you are shopping. You must make sure that your new find will relate either in proportion, scale, color, texture or style to the other things in your living room.
  • Eliminate clutter and go for a more minimal look so that your favorite pieces can be appreciated and their details can be more easily seen.
  • Choose one amazing plant for your living room. The fiddle leaf fig is every decorator's best friend. It's tall, easy to care for and always elevates the room.
  • Mix and match dining table and chairs. If you have a wooden table, use metal chairs. If you have a glass dining table, use upholstered chairs. Don't be afraid to mix materials.
  • Never use overhead lighting unless a chandelier on a dimmer. Instead, use lamps throughout the room (in addition to your chandelier).
  • Your drapery panels should always be a minimum of 96"L.
  • Never place your sofa with it's back to the door. You should always sit being able to see who's walking in the door.


  • Eclectic doesn't mean that anything goes. If it doesn't look right, rearrange or take something away.

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Categories: Home Decorating