News flash: minimalism is out! Make way for maximalist interior design, with its bright colours, bold patterns and devil-may-care attitude. This style has taken the design world by storm in recent years and accepts everyone out there with an out-of-control shopping habit! Rooted in several previous interior design styles, the maximalist design encourages luxury, boldness and happiness. And don’t they sound like things we all need right now? This is the ultimate guide to maximalist interior design, complete with advice on how you can incorporate this bright style into your design.
Where minimalism requires as little furniture and decoration as possible, maximalism demands the opposite. The maximalist ideas began as a category of music, literature and visual art in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, allowing these artists to express themselves boldly, without limitations. Then, in the latter half of the 20th century, this striking style started popping up in interior design.
A rebellion against minimalism, the maximalist motto is “more is more”, which applies to every aspect of the design. The maximalist ideals embrace the idea of excess but in an organised manner. Rather than encouraging hoarding, it expects rooms filled with bold patterns, large pieces of furniture and masses of decoration that express the homeowner’s personality. Perfect for someone with outlandish tastes and a good style eye, maximalist interior design allows an ample room with well-organised chaos.
The maximalist design style gained popularity in the art world when artists create, bright, decorative pieces to rebel against the celebrated minimalist styles. These creations sparked inspiration across all design streams but hit heavily with interior design since artists used homely techniques like sewing, quilting and applique. Thus, as maximalism began to take over the art world, so it did in interior design.
The origins of maximalist interior design can’t be pinpointed. It encompasses a broad range of design styles that preceded even minimalism, though many of these styles are easily identifiable. Present in maximalist interior design are innovations like:
Since it’s rooted in various styles that came before it, maximalist interior design is timeless. It can be used in any kind of décor, including in the home and public places. In recent years, the design style has significantly increased in popularity (as the graph below shows[i]), and can be found all over social media pages and in celebrities’ homes. Many people have been adapting this style for themselves, especially through lockdown when as much as 75% of people in the U.K. have claimed that they had been shopping more online over the pandemic[ii].
The maximalist notions have inspired many interior designers over the years, and the interest remains as strong now as it was when the style was first used. Some of the most promising up-and-comers in the maximalist interior design world are:
Based in London, Luke Edward Hall specialises in designing ceramics and fabrics alongside interiors of all types of buildings. His take on maximalism is the desire to be surrounded by beautiful things, and his inspirations are as broad as his tastes. With his interests coming from food, the countryside and old myths and folklore tales, Hall’s view of maximalism is eclectic and enticing.
Helping to redefine Scandinavian design completely, Swedish-born Malin Glemme owns ‘Layered’, a Stockholm shop set up after one too many enquires about the rugs she had in her home that she had designed herself. Glemme includes bold patterns and colours to express her strong personality and incorporates these vibrant designs into the minimalistic Scandinavian design.
Sartogo was born in Milan to parents full of passion for collecting attractive décor items and high-quality tastes in art. Her designs take inspiration from their style. You can discover her work in her self-founded magazine Cabana, which comes bound in a different fabric for each issue.
Fighting against the traditional minimalist styles in office interiors, Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch inject their maximalist attitudes into the working atmospheres. With splashes of colour and bold décor that would make your boss nervous, they run the Roman and Williams Building and Interiors studio in New York to brighten up these creative spaces.
In their business at Dimore Studio, Emiliano Salci and Britt Moran merge maximalism with sophistication. They join styles and tastes to create a unique aesthetic. Not afraid to mix periods, colours, or shadows, they are inspired by the passing of time when making their mood affecting designs.
With so many interior design styles (and most of them taking inspiration from each other), it can be hard to differentiate. Spotting maximalist design features may sound simple – just look for bright colours and crazy patterns, right? You’ll be surprised how many other interior design styles had the same ideals, though. Some specific characteristics that set maximalist interior design apart from the others include:
Layering aims to make each element of a room design – from paint to décor accessories – work well together. Treating every addition like a layer will achieve harmony, maximalist style.
Prints in abstract styles, floral designs or animal prints all fit the maximalist style because they are repetitive yet busy enough to keep you on your toes.
Rich shades of gold, black, pastels, reds, blues and yellows all point to a maximalist conception.
Unique pieces of furniture and décor that set the room apart from the rest are perfect.
Combining textures, colours and patterns in a way that works is the basis of maximalism.
Loading up on objects the owner likes, such as books, artworks, plants, or sculptures, fills the space and expresses the personality.
Since maximalism is inspired by a varied range of design styles, mixing styles is perfect.
Maximalism is an abundant show of excess and can seem a daunting prospect when faced with an empty room. However, if you want to transform your home into a paradise that any maximalist interior designer would be proud of, there are several ways to get started. It’s important to remember that maximalist home décor is about expressing yourself and showing off your tastes with flare. Include all your little quirks and patterns, colours and décor additions that you can fit for a true maximalist style. Here are some ways you can start incorporating maximalist home décor in your interiors:
If it’s your first time dabbling with maximalist design, it’s best to start slow. Add bits of colour, a couple of layering patterns and sentimental pieces. This gives you the chance to experience the style, connect with it and easily make changes
Maximalism is all about expressing yourself. Fill your interior with colours, patterns and objects that you love
Add a combination of rugs, wallpapers, paintings and photos to your rooms. Go for different designs and colour schemes for a slight maximalist addition to any room
Choose furniture of different colours, patterns and textures. Pulling this off can be a little tricky – some colours just do not go together! A good guideline is to base your choices on the colour wheel, especially if it’s your first time trying maximalism. Colours that sit opposite each other on the colour wheel are complementary and will always match
Consider how colours make you feel and how you’re using that room. Colours can significantly alter our mood, so choosing colours that will create the right mood is important
Yes, design is vital to maximalism, but comfortable furniture is even more important. Having somewhere you can sit and bask in the beauty of your room for extended periods – such as these accent chairs – is top priority.
Add decorations you enjoy at every opportunity. Figurines, books, throw cushions, plants, photos – put trinkets that you love everywhere you can.
Not even your walls are safe! Don’t worry about about frame size, colour schemes or subject matter. Just create a wall full of art pieces that you want to show off
The maximalist style doesn’t require ‘perfect’, it requires joy. If your design makes you happy (and allows you to walk through without bumping into all your stuff), it’s perfect.
Designing a maximalist interior doesn’t have to be difficult, especially if you have a maximalist personality! So throw everything at your décor, and let it do the talking next time you get visitors to your home.
What’s your favourite maximalist design feature? Let us know in the comments below!
Office and marketing manager for Sloane & Sons Stylish Chairs, who sell a range of high-quality tub chairs, accent chairs and more.
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