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How to work the maximalist interior design style

For a long time now minimalist decor has been championed. We’ve seen neutral colour schemes and simplistic home decor in abundance. But the antithesis of this - maximalist decor - is gaining popularity. Whilst minimalism is about restraint and using less, maximalism celebrates the joy of bold colour and eclectic layers of texture and pattern.

Stairs and Right wall in Wharf Sacking No.127, Back wall in Sella

Maximalist design styles won’t be for everybody. Indeed, there’s a risk of styling a room in homage to an eccentric great aunt complete with chintz, mismatched furniture and random artwork.

Maximalism should feel joyful and balanced, not chaotic. There’s an art to this interior design trend. So if you’re ready to be bold and playful with your home decor, follow our tips on how to make maximalist decor work for you.

What is maximalism?

Firstly, don’t think that this is a new design trend. Maximalism has been around for centuries. The Victorians loved it! In that era, materials became more accessible. People began to use interior design as a way of showing their personalities to visitors. They were big fans of incorporating layers of patterns and texture with upholstery, furniture, textiles and elaborate wallpaper.

More recently, it’s become popular with younger generations. Millennials have embraced the vibrant design style incorporating excess plant life, bold colours and statement pieces into their homes.

Key themes of maximalism

Unlike the stark simplicity of minimalism, this is all about excess and abundance. The maximalist home is meant to induce joy and happiness. It’s not about excessive consumerism though. Fans of maximalism often curate a room with recycled or inherited pieces that hold memories.

Pattern - think floral wallpaper, geometric shapes on tiles, Art Deco style curves on furniture or rugs (as below), stripes and myriad other patterns to evoke a maximalist style.

Texture - mix and match wooden panelling, tiles, wallpaper and paint with different textiles. Adorn mid-century lacquered wood side tables with a glass vase or sleek, modern lamp in the living room for example.

Panelling in Blackout No.41

Layers - this is the epitome of maximalist interior design. Combine pattern, texture and colour to add interest. Instead of one rug, layer up several. Place statement pieces on your mantelpiece or bookshelves interspersed with other elements. This cheerful yellow dining room scheme is pure joy.

WALLS IN PIMLICO™ NO.136, SHELVES IN PIMLICO™ NO.136 (WOOD & METAL EGGSHELL) CEILING IN LEMON SALTS™ NO.43 - @THEHOUSETHATCOLOURBUILT

Vibrant colours - grab a paintbrush and roller and have some fun. Play around with bold colour pairings. Create cool colour-blocked shapes (curves are on trend right now) on your walls. Spice up your kitchen with electric blue cabinets or mustard yellow walls, or maybe both.

Tips on how to achieve the maximalist look

Creating a maximalist space may feel daunting. If that’s the case, start with the elements that you feel comfortable with. That may be vibrant colour combinations or new wallpaper ideas. Perhaps start with a small space (a maximalist loo makes a real statement!).

Woodwork in Market Green No.38

A few of our favourite maximalist home design ideas:

● Bookshelves stacked with colourful novels, plants, photos and knick-knacks
● A gallery wall featuring a mix of prints, textured frames and artwork
● Interesting colour combinations and painted shapes on the wall
● Tiled floors with geometric shapes and colour mixes
● Wallpaper with floral, plant or natural elements
● An abundance of plants (biophilia is a key trend and long may it last).

It’s important to remember that maximalism isn’t about adding more and more and more. You do need to know when to stop. Curate the look, don’t go over-the-top and incorporate all of the above. Choose your focal point and go with that.

Looking for more decorating ideas? Get inspiration from our colourful blogs and design tips, or browse more of our maximalist imagery below!

Foreground Walls in Proper Blue™ No.67, Woodwork in Sorrel Green™ No.207, Back wall in Cotton Street™ No.3

FRONT WALL IN LAVENDER GARDEN™ NO.30, REAR WALL IN PALE LILAC™ NO.246 (WOOD & METAL MATT), WOODWORK IN ROSE TAUPE™ NO.292 (WOOD & METAL MATT), FLOORBOARDS IN CADOGAN STONE™ NO.59

Cabinetry & Walls in Haymarket No.47, Shelving in Huguenot No.49, Ceiling in Charterhouse No.4