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Eclectic vintage style guide: how to achieve this maximalist look in your home

Check out our essential guide to eclectic vintage décor and read up on the key elements for achieving this maximalist scheme to transform your home into a Wes Anderson film set

Teal sofa in a front room with orange panelled walls -
Published: January 26, 2022 at 12:37 pm
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Take a walk on the quirky side with eye-catching prints, retro furniture and cherished knickknacks with a house filmed with eclectic vintage charm. This look is all about cultivating a mismatched collection of vintage pieces, antiques (or replicas) and mid-century shades such as orange, teal and mustard.

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For inspiration from the big screen, turn to Wes Anderson’s catalogue of films. From the orange-and-pink wallpapers in The Grand Budapest Hotel to the animal motifs in The Darjeeling Limited, give your home a real sense of unbridled fun with charity shop finds and bold patterns. Think maximalism when pulling your scheme together, layering together lots of colours, textures and materials to create the curated, mismatched feel.

What is eclectic vintage decor?

This style is a celebration of retro and vintage items and the stories they have to tell. From family heirlooms to knickknacks picked up from travels, this look is similar to cluttercore – the more cherished finds the better! With a strong focus on reusing preloved and vintage finds, this scheme can be a sustainable one too, which resonates with the halcyon appeal of cottagecore and reconnecting with your past.

While there are countless ways to create an eclectic vintage living room or bedroom (it's mismatched, after all!), the classic colour story of mid-century decor is one that has instant retro impact. Think teal and deep turquoise, tangerine and mustard on your walls, sofa or accessories, then pair with lots of warm wood such as walnut and teak. Turn up the style dial with wallpaper in stripes, animals or Seventies florals, or create a calmer feel with statement furniture set against neutral walls and stripped-back wooden floors.

If you're unsure where to start, start with putting together items to create an eclectic shelf or dresser. From building a collection of fruit-patterned plates to stacks of Oberver's Guides, let the colours of these objects steer the colours in the rest of the space. You'll soon see which shades you and your room respond well to, which you can then continue with as you seek out a plush velvet sofa or headboard, sensational wallpaper and plenty of whacky cushions.

Key elements of eclectic vintage decor
  • Be generous with mid-toned colours
  • Play with pattern
  • Select second-hand furniture
  • Layer up the lighting
  • Let your personality shine
Orange reto wallpaper in a living room

Eclectic vintage decor inspiration

Be generous with mid-toned colours

Make sure your curated efforts really zing with mid-toned blues, teal, mustard, orange and greens. While you might think these colours clash, by choosing the same shade for each (eg. a mid-toned blue with a mid-toned yellow), they'll balance out each other's strength for a look that marries contrast with co-ordination.

Pick up a bright shade on the walls with accessories and soft furnishings dotted around the room, or take the impact of a statement sofa to even greater heights with technicolour cushions. Classic colour pairings include mustard and navy; teal and tangerine and baby pink with apple green - be bold with the application of these colours, as they'll have more impact when used liberally.

Teal sofa in a front room with orange panelled walls

Above: The Small Biggie three-seater sofa in Pine Green £1,429, Snug 

Wake up feeling refreshed each and every day with a bolt of colour in your bathroom. Often the smallest room in your house, splash out on statement tiles and lighting for a bold space for your daily rituals.

Blue tiled bathroom with square sink and industrial lighting

Above: Brooklyn glass funnel light with copper holder, £79, Industville (Image courtesy of @pier1bathrooms)

Houseplants can provide a welcome hit of green and natural texture; Swiss cheese plants are a staple choice, but fiddle figs, birds of paradise and yucca plants are other great choices, plus their height will add further interest to the scheme. Trailing ferns and ivy in retro planters or repurposed pots will also work wonders in an eclectic home.

Pink tiled bathroom with floral shower curtain and antiques

Above: Image courtesy of Jen Selk 

Play with pattern

When it comes to patterns, the more eccentric the better for a maximalist fan, or keep it refined to prevent overwhelming the room. When it comes to wallpaper, keep it restrained with a feature wall or go all-out and flood every wall with fun. Small-scale illustrated patterns, such as animals or plants, which are printed on a neutral background, will add interest to the room while creating space for your eyes to rest. Choose a retro or traditional print wallpaper to transport your space to the Seventies or Eighties, rather than a modern, abstract design.

Butterfly-patterned wallpaper in a home office

Above: Suzy Vintage Monarch butterfly wallpaper, £37 per sq m, Hovia

Orange reto wallpaper in a living room

Above: Groovy Baby wallpaper in Sunset Pink and Sunrise Orange, £42 per roll, Lust Home

Your walls aren't the only place where you can play with pattern, though. Experiment on your soft furnishings, curtains and bed linen, which can be given the eclectic treatment then dialled back when you're after a more restful mood. Stick to your colour palette, then select an eye-catching pattern to dress a bed, chair or sofa with.

Teal and yellow patterned bedding in a yellow bedroom

Above: Japonica bed linen, from £41, Orla Kiely

Select second-hand furniture

Keep the look sustainable and costs down with second-hand furniture. Check out reclamation yards, eBay, Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace and vintage furniture shops for mid-century pieces from Ercol, Eames and G Plan. You may need to give the pieces a bit of TLC, but this will only increase the charm and character of your scheme.

Choose wooden furniture in warm tones such as teak and walnut, as these will complement mustard, orange and teal. If you live in a Victorian or Edwardian home, turn the clock back further with your furniture choices - button-back armchairs and oak dining tables will add lots of historic character.

Teak unit in front of yellow wallpapered walls

Above: Bloom Blossom Goldenberry wallpaper, £85 per roll, MissPrint

If your second-hand finds have seen better days, give them a wash, sand and lick of paint in a striking shade. Take care to cover original details that you'd like to leave on show, such as chevron panelling and charming drawer knobs.

Mid-century modern living room

Above: Image courtesy of Abe Home Goods

Layer up the lighting

Make your interior efforts truly dazzle by lighting it up. Standard lamps with huge fringed shades, retro table lamps and ribbed glass wall lights... the possibilities are endless! Brass and burnished copper will add gentle warmth to the fixture, while chrome and nickel will add a modern twist.

Swap out dull downlights for a set of hanging pendants to add drama to your room - a row of three will radiate a pool of light across a dining table or kitchen island. If you'd prefer one large light, adorn it in a fabric shade in a zany print or a woven wicker shade for plenty of natural texture. Create a charming reading vignette with an arc or curved standard lamp, or overhaul a dark corner with a multi-bulb standard lamp.

Barker & Stonehouse

Above: White and brushed brass orb floor lamp, £129, Barker & Stonehouse

Illuminate your carefully curated mantelpiece or alcoves filled with books and oddities with wall lights; choose a warm white bulb for a cosy feel. Downward-facing lights will set a comforting mood, whereas upward-facing lights will draw the eye up and make the room feel bigger.

Brass wall light on a green tiled wall

Above: Peewit IP44 brass wall light, £144, Pooky

Set up a stylish bedside table, office desk or shelving unit with a chic table lamp or two. Metal-framed designs such as Anglepoise are a practical choice as they can be moved to suit your needs, or choose an unusual shaped base to give your reading zone character.

anglepoise

Above: 90 Mini Mini desk lamp in Kelp Green, £109, Anglepoise

Let your personality shine

Central to this theme is authenticity and personality - your favourite colours, hobbies and even animals can be inspiration for this scheme. Display a collection of themed pieces such as childhood toys; fill a gallery wall with your favourite records or museum exhibitions; or give a hand-me-down piece of furniture a new home with wallpapered panels. When it comes to curating a gallery wall, choose a mix of ornamental, wooden and metal clip frames to perfect that bespoke, characterful feel.

Mid-century modern font room

Above: Image courtesy of @lorriecos

Lastly, have fun when putting together this scheme. By combining vintage pieces with modern buys, you can experiment with colour and texture to ensure your space is packed with personality. Spark curiosity in your home with the eclectic vintage look!

Habitat Fresh Vintage collection

Above: Fresh Vintage collection, Habitat

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Inspired by our eclectic vintage decor tips? Check out our other style guides, to discover how to achieve every look, from cottagecore to Scandi!

Authors

Thomas PoadSection Editor

Section Editor, Your Home

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