After decades of minimalism dominating interior design trends, the pendulum has swung the other way. It’s no longer a case of less is more, but rather more is more.
Maximalism, a style first popularised in the 1960s, is back – in an explosion of colour, character and glamour.
As the name implies, the ethos is over the top and excessive. It’s big, bold, bright and busy. And above all, it’s fun. Although there’s no fixed definition, maximalism is in some ways reminiscent of the ornate, lavishly decorated interiors of British stately homes, but with a contemporary twist. It’s a flamboyant design style that packs colour, pattern, and texture into spaces and fills them with curated collections of keepsakes and meaningful mementoes.
In contrast to the neutral tones and pared-back aesthetic of minimalism, which favours soothing palettes and neutral spaces where personal style is subdued, maximalism is all about expressing – even celebrating – the many facets of your personality.
Its appeal is both visual and tactile: it embraces colour, prints and patterns, but there are also contrasting textures, prized possessions and eye-catching statement pieces. It’s richly extravagant, but also playful.
So how can you create your own exuberant, maximalist space?
Maximalism is not merely about cramming in anything and everything. Instead, it’s a question of layering well-chosen design elements to create a bold and beautiful background, then adding your favourite collectables, artworks and heirlooms. In essence, it’s about surrounding yourself with the things you love.
Start with colour. Cream, beige and greige have no place in maximalist interiors: go for deep red, royal blue, emerald green, shocking pink ... whatever the choice, make it bold and celebratory, and saturate the space with it.
Find a selection of vibrant Valspar paint colours at A. L. Thompson’s.
Play with Pattern
Once you’ve chosen a base colour, layer on the pattern – stripes, animal prints, florals, geometric forms or abstract swirls. Add prints either in the form of a bold wallpaper (on the ceiling, if you dare!) or in smaller accessories. Don’t be afraid to add more than one pattern: layering can make the effect richer – but look for a common thread, such as a repeating colour, to ensure continuity and cohesion.
It doesn’t get much more extravagant than Christian Lacroix wallpaper from Design Studio for decadent wall treatments.
Have Fun with Fabrics
If you choose plain wall colours, you can go wild with fabrics. From curtains to cushions, experiment with patterned or printed textiles to add another layer of visual interest.
The funky patchwork of the PoloGear Boho Designer Throw Pillow and the vibrant embroidery of the Modern Wild Flowers Life Styles Multicolor Pillow from Ashley Furniture brighten up any corner you place them in.Treat your windows to bright and beautiful drapery from the selection of Mitchell Fabrics, available at Marksons Furniture and Windows.
Play with light and shadow to illuminate key elements of the design. Look for unusual central light fixtures, standing lamps or table lights, or opt for lampshades that throw interesting shadows onto the walls and ceiling.
For a little 1920s glam, the tiered Cabaret Fringed Chandelier from IDG is just the ticket.
Make a Statement
One big statement piece can be just what you need to bring the whole design together. So whichever room you’re decorating, consider an unusual, bold or luxurious central piece – be it a bed, sofa or dining table – that ties the various elements of the design together.
The curved contours of the Chloe sofa, with its luxurious blue velvet upholstery and brushed gold base, available from Tomlinson Furniture, will pop against a contrasting wall colour, as will the rounded silhouette and rich tone of the Gwen Plum Velvet Chair from A Squared Away Cayman.Tactile textures
Forget simplicity and refinement and go all out with texture.
Combine fluffy fabrics, woven rugs, glossy surfaces, metallic accents, faux fur, and smooth, polished wood. Play around with multiple materials to create a textural palette that you can’t resist running your fingers over. Bring gorgeous colours and patterns down to earth with the handwoven Afghan Chobrang rug from Rugs Oriental.
One of the joys of maximalism is that it frees you to display all your treasured trinkets, from antiques and memorabilia to books, photos and sculptures, on shelves or in bookcases. Gallery walls also work perfectly with maximalism: hang eclectic and colourful artworks in varying sizes and frames on a single wall. Just keep the spacing between pieces consistent to avoid a chaotic look.
Surya Wall Art, from Living.ky, offers a choice of abstract and patterned prints in different sizes and styles, ideal for an attention-grabbing wall of art.