Designer Definition of “Southwest Eclectic”

by Ernesto Garcia | Mar 14, 2011

What is Eclectic?

To my mind, an eclectic interior is one that derives its generating ideas, style and taste from a diverse range of sources. Half of the clients who hire me want me to design this type of interior for their homes. As for the other half, we tend to start with a definite stylistic direction but somewhere along the way we transition to very eclectic spaces anyway.

Personally, I have studied too many styles, visited too many cities, walked too many museums, and seen too many movies not to be eclectic. How could we possibly be any different in such a globalized world? I have this bank of images and experiences in my mind, a well from which I am constantly tapping for inspiration because there is so much that is so beautiful about every style.

So… What is the key to a well-designed eclectic room? My short answer is a harmonious dialogue between all the parts. It seems simple at first but in fact, it requires extensive editing and evaluation. Comparatively speaking, staying within the boundaries of a specific style is much easier.


Consider this dining room I designed.

The columns came from a late 18th-century English estate, their rich texture surface frames the room and gives it importance.

The rosewood dining table is a French Deco reproduction, its clean lines, and rich graining give it the anchoring weight required in the center of the room.

The stylized Regency chairs in a dark mahogany display their graceful frame against the bone colored walls giving the room movement and interest.

This dining set sits on a wool and silk rug that I designed using the undulating lines that characterized Art Nouveau.

The contemporary chrome chandelier with Murano glass pendants was my boldest move in this room (just think how overwhelming a wrought iron chandelier would look in its place) it is its lightness that allows all the other pieces to reveal themselves.

As I mentioned before, a lot of thought goes behind every detail in order to achieve the perfect mix of styles. Each piece should have similar lines and sense of character to them to be able to work cohesively together. After working with every style, many times over, I can definitively say eclectic interiors are by far the most complex and challenging ones.

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