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More is More: Tips for designing a maximalist home

Some practical design tips from our experts on transforming your interior with the maximalist trend.

4 min read

Has the minimalism craze of the 2010s got you feeling… very little? Are you dying to add some colour to your home? A little bit of fun? Then welcome to the maximalism trend!

The poplar opposite of minimalism, maximalism believes in curating a large collection of items. Mixing everything from texture, colour, pattern to eras. If you love something, maximalism helps you display it with pride.

But how do you stop your maximalist home from becoming a bit of a mess? We asked our designers for some top tips…

What is maximalism?

As the name suggests, it’s about identifying the things you love and then taking them to the max.

Maximalism doesn’t believe in blank walls and muted shades. It’s about bold colour choices, collected items, and having fun with what you choose to mix and match. For example, you might cover your walls in artwork from big to small. You might fill your shelves with not just one glass vase but twenty. The lighting you choose will be bold and eye-catchin and your furniture will make a statement.

When your guests walk into your home and can spend hours spotting all your clever touches, you know you’ve nailed the look.

Pick your colours carefully

A common mistake to make with maximalism is thinking there’s no method to the madness.

In reality, in order to bring some order to your interior collection, there are some basic rules you can follow. The first comes down to your colour choices. Rather than throw a lot of colours together, willy nilly, we recommend limiting yourself to 3-4 in each room. This will give the space a loose theme and stop the space from becoming too jarring to the eyes.

Also, don’t think you have to go bold on colour. While some start with a bold base of bright yellow or red, you could easily stick to white walls. Colour is merely a starting point, one that you’ll expand on with layer upon layer of carefully curated items and furnishings.

Play with expectations

One of the fun things about maximalism is how it confronts your expectations. You want people to be a little taken back by your work, keeping things playful.

Scale is one way you might accomplish this. Make the big small and the small big. You might bring in an oversized lampshade or a small chair. Hang a mirror that’s just a little too big on your walls. You want people to feel a little like Alice when she’s entered Wonderland, creating a space where anything is possible.

Opposites attract

Two key features to play with are texture and pattern.

These two elements work best in maximalism when you choose to bring opposites together. Have a smooth surface? Pair it with something rough and raw. Put soft furnishings next to hard. Pokka dots next to stripes.

You want to both break the rules while still obeying some sense of logic. Strangely, our eyes are drawn to conflicting surfaces and it helps bring depth to the space. A lot of maximalist followers favour items like velvet couches or leather chairs.

For a quick fix, experiment with the throws on your couches, alongside your cushions. Bring in big fluffy cushions next to velvet or woollen blankets. This is a good starting point for any maximalism novice.

A maximalist style bathroom

But don’t forget to have dots to connect

While opposites help bring the room to life, you still want people to be able to join the dots.

By this we mean you’ll have key anchors in the space. Items which compliment the other and help guide the eyes around the room. For instance, I might have two matching chairs, only in two separate colours. I might also have my lampshade match the pattern in a cushion, or even just two symmetrical picture frames.

While maximalism resists the idea of matching, making subtle connections will help bring order to the chaos.

Take your time

It can be tempting, when you start out, to want to rush out and go on a shopping spree. However, this isn’t in keeping with the true nature of the style.

Maximalism is all about collecting and displaying items you truly love. Unique items you’ve found on your travels or on a whim that have instantly called to you. What you fill your space with should be personal and bring joy every time it catches your eye, so in this sense, you should see maximalism as a long term goal.

This might take some time but the end result will be one that’s deeply personal - a truly rewarding end product.

Want to get some expert advise on transforming your home? Whether you’re considering a renovation, conversion, or extension, our team will provide expert advice, free of charge. Book a free consultation and help unlock your home’s true potential.

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