The days of playing it safe with interior design might be taking a back seat in 2024/2025, as bolder, more expressive styles make their mark.

If you’re feeling adventurous with your decor, you might be eyeing up two standout styles–eclectic and maximalist. Though they share a lot of commonalities like the fearless use of colours and patterns, they break the mould of traditional design in different ways. 

Let’s unpack what it means to decorate with eclectic maximalist flair. Who knows. You might even find a new design crush.

The vibrant styles don’t end there! Learn about Hollywood glam and Barbiecore.  

Eclectic Interior Design  

interior-decoration-inspired-by-mexican-folklore
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Eclectic design is all about freedom. Freedom to mix, match, and blend influences from different time periods, styles, and trends to create something truly unique. There’s no strict rule book to follow here, which makes this style extra fun and personal.

The philosophy of eclectic design has pretty interesting roots. Deriving from the Greek eklektikos meaning “selective”, the idea of this style originated in nineteenth-century Europe to give architects a way to create distinctive designs while preserving elements of traditional style.

Eclectic design is far from just “throwing things together”. It’s actually very deliberate. Key features of this style include:

A Mix of Visual Elements

From patterns, shapes, and textures to old and new, eclectic style thrives on the variety it incorporates. In these rooms, elements like smooth glass, rustic wood, and plush fabrics come together. This diversity creates a tactile experience that’s visually interesting and inviting.

Thoughtful Expression

Bedroom with pattern details idea

To some, eclectic decor may seem overdone or cluttered, but every piece in an eclectic space is meaningful and carefully curated. It’s chosen not just for its aesthetic appeal but for its sentimental value or the story it tells.

Freedom in Colour Schemes

While eclectic decor is known for its colour freedom, there’s still a method to the madness. Colours are often chosen to balance each other and repeat throughout the space to keep the space feeling cohesive rather than chaotic. Think of a vivid blue sofa against neutral walls or a bold artwork that pulls together the hues scattered around the room.

Focal Points

Often, eclectic rooms feature a standout focal point like a gallery wall or a statement piece of furniture. This serves many purposes–visual anchor, conversation starter, and bridge between all the various elements in the room. 

DIYer at heart? Check out our collection of online and in-person design workshops.

Maximalist Interior Design 

The maximalist style is a bold declaration of abundance and audacity. Where its very distant cousin minimalism says “less is more,” maximalism screams back, “more is more”. It celebrates rich details, vibrant colours, and big gestures in decor. It’s glam. It’s grand. It’s unapologetically in-your-face expressive.

a living room with green walls and colorful rugs on the floor next to an orange couch in front of a fireplace

With origins dating back to the mid-nineteenth century Victorian Era, maximalism creates a sensory experience that captivates and delights at every turn. In maximalist design, every inch of space is an opportunity to tell a story and fill it with wonder, nostalgia, and sometimes, literal fantasy.

Maximalism interior design is characterized by:

Rich, Vibrant Colours, & Patterns

Maximalist spaces are alive with colour. Bold, dramatic hues play with intricate patterns and prints like exotic florals and eclectic geometrics. This style dares to mix colours in ways that defy the ordinary for a visually stunning palette that is always memorable.

Layering of Textures & Objects

maximalist living room

Texture plays a critical role in maximalist interiors. Velvet couches might be adorned with silk pillows and wool throws to create a tangible experience that invites touch and exploration. Layering extends to decor items as well—books, sculptures, vases, and more are stacked for added depth and intrigue.

Abundance & Bold Statements

Maximalism means go big or go home. Whether it’s a large-scale piece of art dominating a wall or a collection of antiques displayed prominently, maximalist design encourages big bold statements that command attention. 

Ornate Detailing

As we’ve already established, less is definitely not more in a maximalist home, and this comes through in its ornate features. Crystal chandeliers, elaborately designed lamps, and embellished frames all play a pivotal role. These elements add to the opulence by creating lavish focal points.

Speaking of maximalist’s very distant cousin, explore the differences between minimalism and industrial design styles.

Eclectic & Maximalist Comparison 

When we put eclectic and maximalist designs side by side, it’s clear that their vibrancy is shared. But while they share some common ground, they don’t follow exactly the same path. 

Green armchair next to blue settee in colorful living room interior with painting and posters. Real photo

Similarities

  • Diverse Design Elements: Both celebrate diversity in their use of materials, colours, and textures. 
  • Reject Minimalist Tendencies: Both designs embrace a “more is more” attitude, with personal expression at the forefront of every design choice.
  • Personal, Visual Spaces: Both create spaces that draw the eye and deeply reflect the personalities of those who inhabit them.
  • Blend of Old and New: Both freely mix modern and traditional design aspects. 

Differences

Luxurious bathroom interior design with unusual ceiling
  • Approach to Space and Coherence: Eclectic design is harmonious in its diversity. It mixes elements in a way that might seem disparate but ultimately work together to create a balanced aesthetic. Maximalist design opts for thematic saturation. It piles on layers of patterns, textures, and objects, often within a cohesive theme to create a deeply immersive environment.
  • Mood and Atmosphere: The mood in an maximalist space is often cozy and curated, inviting one to explore the layered elements at their own pace. The more you look, the more you may find. Eclectic spaces are designed to overwhelm the senses with their front-and-center randomness and strangely beautiful artifacts for a bold statement that commands immediate attention.
  • Practical Implications: Adopting an maximalist style may be easier for some, as it allows for gradual accumulation and integration of diverse elements without requiring a complete overhaul. Eclectic design demands more planning and space to fully achieve a cohesion that keeps the ‘design’ in this design style, making it less adaptable.

Both eclectic and maximalist designs offer exciting opportunities for creative freedom, but they cater to different tastes and lifestyles.

If you’re considering revamping your interiors, remember that there are no hard rules. Both eclectic and maximalist styles are more about personal expression than strict adherence to design dogmas. Experiment with what feels right for you—start small if you need to, and gradually build up to more significant changes as your confidence grows.
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