classic interior design styles and how to light them – eclectic style

Image: Rosanna Bossom


Continuing our series on the great interior decor trends and how you can use them for inspiration in your own home (with a special emphasis on lighting), here’s how to be stylishly eclectic…

See also: Classic interior design styles and how to light them – 1. Mid-Century Modern Classic interior design styles and how to light them – 2. English Country House style Classic interior design styles and how to light them – 3. Industrial style

Eclectic style might well be the Marmite of interior design; you’re unlikely to be neutral about it. But what exactly is eclectic style and is it right for you? Maybe you’ve been inspired by some of the highly individual and sometimes quirky interiors that feature right here on the Pooky blog, or in the weekend supplements pages and in style magazines. So, if you do like it and want to give your home the eclectic touch, where and how do you start?


What is eclectic interior design?

This is where we dispel some of the myths. Opting for an eclectic approach to interior design simply means bringing together styles, features and furniture from different periods and design movements, together with colour contrasts and a variety of textures. There’s an element of fun; you can experiment and you don’t need to spend a fortune. And, if you’re a keen upcycler or DIYer, so much the better – because opting for an eclectic style home means that your skills will be put to good use. The aim, however, is to bring everything together into a harmonious whole so, yes, you need a good eye and a degree of chutzpah to pull off the look. Take these extraordinary rooms for Belmond La Residencia by Matthew Williamson:

Slightly more achievable perhaps is the Todmorden home of Wendy Lockhart and Paul Slade (Guardian Weekend, 15 February 2020), a great example of the eclectic approach. The couple have equipped and furnished their former mill home with inherited items, vintage charity shop finds, and eBay bargains. These include a Formica kitchen, a sixties shelving unit, and kitchen flooring that started life in a baseball court. Converted industrial spaces and similar non-residential buildings with a bit of history seem to lend themselves to eclectic style, like the Nissen hut transformed by Damian Webb and his family to create a second space for a three-generation family living together in Wales. The temptation with eclectic styling is to overdo things, so you have to be prepared to curb your enthusiasm. Mixing and matching (or not matching) furniture, décor and accessories is all about careful layering rather than random cluttering; after all, you want your precious or quirky finds to be seen to advantage.

Keep to core colours

When it comes to colour, think contrast and balance; so use a neutral base colour and tones and shades of a strong, contrast colour. Sticking to a neutral base means that any pieces that feature your chosen strong colour will stand out, without being overwhelming. And don’t forget that neutral tones will enhance the sense of space in a room – as long as you don’t fill it to capacity with all those vintage treasures! This room by Jessica Buckley hits the magic spot - calm walls, explosive spots of colour, and somehow all harmonious.

Image: Jessica Buckley


The light and dark of walls – and your own eclectic gallery

If most of your walls are light or white, you can think about having a single wall in a dark or strong colour, which will add depth and warmth. But stick to plain finishes for walls, to provide a backdrop for decorative features, such as framed photographs and paintings, mirrors and wall hangings. A single colour also provides the perfect setting for what is known as a gallery wall, where groups of paintings and prints or photographs are hung together. Use different types of frames for variety and enjoy rummaging through those boxes, usually on the floor, at car boot sales and auctions, for vintage prints, portraits, maps and old frames – whatever takes your fancy. Online auctions sites are also a good source. This is one area where more, rather than less, is just about right, although it’s a fine line. Luke Edward Hall knows how to do it...

Choose contrasting textures and patterns

A blend of textures and patterns from different periods offers a simple and cost-effective way of achieving the eclectic look. Spots, stripes and geometric shapes can work together as can metal, wood or leather with soft throws, cushions or thick rugs - even feathers (see the room by Barbara Ramani below). In other words, you can build up your theme in layers. If your room could tell a story, what would that story be?

Image: Barbara Ramani


Eclectic style – flexible enough to work anywhere

Because eclectic style is such an individual approach, you can apply your own version of it to just about every room in the house. This rather sumptuous but decidedly eclectic bathroom by Lucy Barlow, for example, features contrasting patterns and single strong colours, plus prints and plants. Plenty of pleasing features to contemplate while you soak in that deep tub.

Image: Lucy Barlow

There’s a little bit of everything in this kitchen at Jamie’s Farm - perhaps not surprising as it was a collaborative effort between multiple designers. Bu it has all been put together in a thoughtful way – and it works. There’s a real sense that this is the heart of the home – where people gather and cooking and conversations meet.

Image: Anna Yanovski


Lighting your eclectic style home

Getting the eclectic look right often revolves round key ‘statement’ pieces that stand out – and, when it comes to statements, lighting can really take centre stage. One of the things we’re proudest of, here at Pooky, is that you can play around (online as well as in person) to your heart’s content until you have exactly the right combination of light fitting fitting and lampshade, or lighting that carries echoes of a particular period. Here are some of our favourites...

Top of the table

Doesn’t the Artur table lamp in citrus (below) look splendid against that deep blue-grey wall? It’s a ceramic artichoke with a rustic glaze - instant eclecticism!

The floor lamp that nearly wasn’t

We love it when a design emerges from an unlikely source. Our Trafalgar lamp was a mistake that worked; we picked up a brass offcut from the workshop floor, and lamp-ified it. A few tweaks later and we had one of the most elegant, stylish lights around. (You see what we mean about upcycling skills being handy when you’re going all-out eclectic?)

Hanging out in Morocco

If you want to introduce a hint of Moorish design into your eclectic kitchen or dining room, Pooky’s perforated Mundo pendant light would be an excellent choice. It comes in antiqued brass and those perforations will shed a soft but clear light when you are preparing or sharing a meal - a tagine, fish chermoula, or harira, possibly? Moroccan food, with its Berber, Jewish, Arab and French roots is appropriately eclectic.

Perfectly patterned paper

Who doesn’t love marbled paper? You could score bonus eclectic style points with our Empire handmade marbled paper shade (shown here in yellow piave) – pattern, colour, texture, a centuries old tradition. It’s shown here with our Rose wall light fitting in antiqued silver, but you can view it online with different fittings and decide which will work best in your home.

Let Pooky light up your eclectic style home – browse our full range of affordable designer lighting here.