Eclectic Clutter vs Chaotic Shambles: 6 Ways to Draw the Line

We've all done this: gone to the shop in a ‘casual’ look trying to echo a shabby-chic Keira Knightley, when actually you're more of a windswept Worzel Gummidge?

In reality, there’s a fine line between emulating a trend and getting it entirely wrong.

The same can be said for interiors. When it comes to interiors, we’re loving the eclectic space trend, but the trick is to make it appear curated, not chaotic.

To the untrained eye, an eclectic style looks like bits that are randomly thrown together and magically just work. In reality, it’s a decidedly curated, themed and blended variety of styles with a strategy.

What’s the secret? We’re breaking it down for you in 6 easy tips.

Keep a Neutral Canvas


(source: Revista AD)

You need to consider the walls, ceilings and floors as the blank canvas from which to build your eclectic expression. Pick from various shades of white and beige-like colours such as light greys, as these will give you the ideal background and act as a resting place for the eye.

Likewise, consider grey tones or hardwood floors, as these are compatible with a multitude of designs and colours.

Choose an Accent Colour (or two)


(source: Ruth & Joanna)

Your accent colour is going to dictate your overall colour palette that you’ll be building over time - so choose wisely. You can afford to be experimental here, but choose a colour that’s going to be a complementary base for your future decorative ensemble - steer clear of multi-coloured objects for now, as they might complicate the building process.

Furniture from Different Eras

A joy of eclectic decor is the varied combination of furniture styles you can introduce to a space to make it interesting - merge modern with rustic, Americana with Moroccan etc.

But the trick to giving visual chaos the swerve is to make sure that all the unique pieces are cohesive in some way. For example, a mixture of chairs can be given a common connection by painting or staining them in a matching colour.


(source: ELLE Decor)

TOP TIP: make sure you’re paying attention to the sizes of the pieces you’re introducing in relation to the rest of the room, as too many big pieces can be overbearing, while a few balanced pieces can draw interest. For instance, a huge chaise lounge can be intriguing, but if there are too many other large pieces of sitting furniture it could be too much.

Play with Pattern


(source: PAD Lifestyle - Photo by Luke White)

As your palette develops, you can start to experiment with patterns. Try out patterned rugs and scatter cushions with geometric shapes, fleur-de-lis and even polka dots. This variety can create aesthetic intrigue and keep a light-hearted atmosphere.

Remember, the element of surprise with pattern combinations is a winner, but keep it minimal so it doesn’t lose impact.

Experiment with Textures


(source: Erika Brechtel)

The key to eclectic style is variety and contrast, so adding different textures to your space can result in a wonderful complexity. Think smooth marble and wood combined with fluffy throws and woven rugs. You can even take it up a gear and introduce coarse stone and bumpy brick into the picture for a striking contrast.

Statement Pieces

Lastly, statement objects are going to give the perfect finishing touch to your space. Every piece of furniture should have a purpose and a story, and your statement pieces will be a talking point at any social gathering.

Think sculptures, vases, chandeliers, table and floor lamps, ornaments etc. Choose one or two items and choose an eye catching place in the room to showcase them from for maximum admiration.


(source: PAD Lifestyle - Photo by Susie Lowe)

To sum up, always remember your colour palette. Don’t stray too far, choose complementary colours as balance and control are the key factors in achieving an eclectic look. Determine and respect the boundaries and avoid visual overload, but stay true to your personal style - your space should be a reflection of you, after all.