Mix it up
When designing your dining room, let the space be defined by your personal style and things that you enjoy. If you can't yet afford that dream dining suite, use your mismatched table and chairs for a look that is anything but boring, and definitely what you love.
However, if you're going to design your dining room in an 'eclectic' style, perhaps the best way to define this style of combining objects of different periods or styles is by establishing what it is and what is not.
First off, this is a planned style and not something you can create by creating a haphazard arrangement of furniture and accessories that have no other place in the home - no matter how many different styles may be present.
By compiling diverse furnishings, fabrics, finishes, and objects from any number of periods and countries, it's possible to arrange a totally unique scene.
Of course, in order to be successful, you'll want to keep all the principles concerning form, scale, composition, and proportion in mind. But, the more original, the better. The only requisite is comfort. You and your family and friends will never appreciate a space if it doesn't provide basics like good seating and creative lighting.
An eclectic-style dining room can incorporate the disparate possessions you've inherited as well as those vintage pieces you've collected. Assigning furnishings new roles is a tricky way to include pieces you like in a small space. A chest of drawers, for instance, might double as a sideboard in a teeny dining room.
Shop for bargains
Auctions are one of the most exciting ways to buy antiques, and good quality, well kept statement pieces will look good anywhere – especially in an eclectic setting. If you are serious about finding bargains at auctions, be sure to go regularly and attend previews, which usually take place a few days before the sale. This will give you more time to examine stuff properly and be sure that you are buying the real deal and not a cheap knockoff.
Some auctions offer goods sourced from executors' sales, liquidations and people moving house or emigrating. Obviously at these type of auctions there will be lots of drab, old stuff to wade through but if you have the time – and not a lot of money – the cheaper auctions could be for you.