Why Eclectic Is Here To Stay

Eclectic design is everywhere these days and has become so ubiquitous it is really what most people are talking about when they say contemporary.  There are many variations of course: farmhouse eclectic, boho chic, contemporary eclectic, etc.  A decade or two ago, eclectic design conjured images of your crazy aunt’s house that looked like a garage sale exploded in it with tchotchkes everywhere, dark oppressive colors, and a combination of styles of furniture that would give you a headache.  But I bet your crazy aunt loved her crazy house and it was truly collected.  It represented all the things she loved in her life however badly it all might have looked together.

But now eclectic is pared down with white or neutral backgrounds and interspersed with clean lines to give your eye a place to rest.  It’s thoughtful eclectic or contemporary eclectic–not busy or cluttered feeling, but with a collected feeling giving warmth to spare design.  It also draws your attention to the collected or eclectic items in a room so they are appreciated instead of lost in the shuffle.  This is why your great grandmother’s Victorian settee can work with the Eames chair you just bought at DWR and the Moroccan side table.






Source: decorpad.com via Heidi on Pinterest



Source: sfgirlbybay.com via cate on Pinterest





Whenever clients ask me for a trend-proof design, one that they won’t have to update in 5-10 years, I give them a variation of this answer:  The only design items that are trend-proof are the ones you love.  If you really love a particular trend, go for it!  But if you overdo it, be prepared to have to update it in about 5-10 years.  Do you love painted furniture?  Find one piece you love and incorporate it into your overall design.  But don’t paint every piece in your living room.  Do you love industrial?  Add an industrial light fixture you adore or a rustic metal coffee table you scored at a flea market but be cautious about incorporating too many of these pieces and creating too much of a theme that you will tire of more quickly.  Do you love a particular furniture line at Restoration Hardware or Room and Board?  Buy one or two of those pieces but don’t get the whole grouping.

Things you should always be prepared to update:  fabrics and paint colors.  Throw pillows and curtains will be updated more frequently than upholstered pieces and paint colors somewhere in between.  So many people are trying to figure out how to incorporate their espresso brown leather sofa into their recently painted slate gray walls (that probably used to be beige or Tuscan red).  And no matter how much you love gray right now, we are all going to be painting over our blue-gray rooms in about 7 years :).  But I bet we’ll keep that farmhouse table/metal coffee table/funky sculpture we bought because we really loved it.

6 thoughts on “Why Eclectic Is Here To Stay

  1. I’m laughing about painting over grey walls in seven years. What’s funny is that maybe because I’m so into design, I often have hard time separating what I love from the trend. Thats a hard one. But I will say that I’ve often regretted getting rid of items I thought were tired or out of style only to discover later that they really were classic after all!

    Great post, once again!

    • Oh Lord–I’m like a teenager in love with trends and totally fall head over heels and then get bored and tired and have to move on to the next one. I try to filter them though and err on the side of classic. It is hard though…

  2. Isn’t it great to be able to put your thoughts down on a computer? (I was going to say paper but hence we’ve somewhat traded paper for the keyboard – at least with blogging). My heart sings for eclectic interiors. I really believe in having classic $$ pieces that are timeless. A client who is reupholstering a few chairs asked me recently if she should do chevron on one of the chairs. My immediate response was no coupled with saying “if you think you’ll love it in 10 years then fine but personally I would not do a chevron” – now there are chevron fabrics that I’ve seen that are more neutral, smaller scale, and tolerable – but the bold color and larger scale is tired to me (I want to switch out my living room curtains already). There’s nothing better than taking your family treasures and mixing them with pretty fresh fabrics to make a room your own. I really enjoyed this post to Lane – well done!

    • I couldn’t agree more Holly! I love eclectic. And, I too am getting tired of my chevron! I knew it would happen eventually…

  3. I love eclectic, so this post totally rang true with me. I love your advice about buying one piece of something that you love while sticking with what you love. I’ve always been pretty good about buying what I love (vs. just the trend) but have been guilty of overdoing it, then being sick of it! Great suggestion.

  4. My house is starting to look like that “crazy aunt” room in the first picture – maybe I am taking the idea of using what I love a little too far?? :)

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