ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Eclectic Home Styles of the 19th to 20th Century

Updated on March 9, 2019
artsofthetimes profile image

Ancient art and architecture isn't only for historians, but for people like us who’ve always been interested in anything olden and periodic.


Though many associate the eclectic style with the early 20th century, eclecticism actually became a style in the last decade of the Victorian era, in 1870, and so can be also be described as an extension of the era of Queen Victoria.

Interests grew as art magazines showcased awesome decorative materials from Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan, Turkey, India and China and people became fascinated with images of eclectic French interiors and soon began to import such decor materials into the United States. At the time, the growing wealth of the country could afford it.

And then there were the Parisian decorators who promoted furniture and furnishes of 18th century France and Louis style reproductions, bringing forth a renewed interest in stylish art and architecture. These top-notch decorators not only introduced French art styles, they also set up branch shops primarily for those who were building pseudo-French châteaus in the cities.

What is Eclecticism?

Eclecticism is a mixed bag of styles from different art periods which displays a widespread lack of harmony and uniformity. It is a non-rigid style of decor and architecture that doesn't conform to any particular period or era. Rather, the eclectic style is a conceptual approach that draws upon multiple ideas and styles, to bring in a new system of design and decoration.

It is basically a kind of mixed style in the fine arts - "the borrowing of a variety of styles from different sources and combining them" to create a new style and artistic effect that was imitative without being creative.

The Eclectic trend was evident in the smaller New York homes and because little thought was given to creating a particular period décor, anything that looked beautiful, exquisite and was European was desired. People didn’t hesitate to have a mix of period styles used in the same interior space.

A modern eclectic style
A modern eclectic style

Typical Features of Eclectic Home Interiors

An eclectic style is not easy to replicate simply because it is a mish-mash of other styles within an interior space and though it's a style that many love, it can be a bit tricky to achieve.

It requires a careful collection of interesting elements that work well together and they must have a cohesive look which can be achieved through form, colour, and texture. Also, furniture and furnishings must be placed in such a way that they don't end up making a space overtly cluttered without looking creatively put together. The furniture layout should be both visually and physically comfortable and must feel like a room you'd love to be in.

Eclectic doesn't mean anything goes as many may believe. There must be a design harmony.

Typical features that characterise the style include:

  • Accent wall to serve as a focal point like a wall filled with framed pictures or black and white images
  • Multitude of fabrics
  • Patterns and textures
  • Lamps - vintage and antique
  • Home accents like oriental rugs, vases, and paintings
  • Extensive use of objects d'art
  • Lots of throw pillows
  • A unifying colour to pull together the overall look
  • Baskets and trays
  • Bookshelves with a large number of books
  • Card tables
  • Wood chests, tables, and shelves
  • Chairs and sofas in leather, velvet, brocade, and damask

There is no defined period design in eclectic interiors. Notice the collection of different items of furniture and furnishings put together beautifully without overwhelming the space.
There is no defined period design in eclectic interiors. Notice the collection of different items of furniture and furnishings put together beautifully without overwhelming the space.
An eclectic style arrangement
An eclectic style arrangement

Eclectic Architecture

According to Wikipedia, "Eclecticism is a nineteenth and twentieth-century architectural style in which a single piece of work incorporates a mixture of elements from previous historical styles to create something that is new and original".

By the end of the 19th-century to the beginning of the 20th-century, people randomly choose the styles they desired without necessarily following the same styles or art periods both in architectural styles of houses and their interior design and decoration. Something against the rules of architectural forms and styles.

Architects chose the best of period styles and mix-matched their designs to produce their own architectural styles. Architectural forms they used for their creations include:

  • Medieval castles
  • The Normandy farmhouse
  • Tudor mansions
  • Georgian manor houses
  • Italian and Spanish style villas
  • Mediterranean houses

Because architects wanted their building designs to look proportional in structure despite the blend, each style/part/section was accurately reproduced to look like the originals. They were also built to have effective interior planning and were comfortably furnished with authentic reproductions used in the particular architectural style.

Building materials used were practical materials and include steel, wrought iron, cast iron and glass.

As architects became more comfortable with the concept of choosing certain elements over others and broke away from the strict rules of their design tradition, there evolved a new movement in architecture and eclecticism became a style.

Merits of the Eclectic Period

The eclectic period in American history was not without its merits economically. There was a boom in the importation of art because of the rising interest in the decorative arts and interior design found in European regions.

The Eclectic style era also served an educational purpose in that it taught the artistic expressions of other people and other cultures.

© 2011 artsofthetimes


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • artsofthetimes profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Thank you MelloYelloMan :)

    • MelloYelloMan profile image


      8 years ago



    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)