Our home is the space where we can truly feel and express ourselves – whether that’s with a less is more philosophy, or even – as is becoming increasingly popular – a more is more philosophy.
And, if your inner self leans towards ‘more is more’, it may be time to embrace the growing trend of maximalism design.
But what is maximalism? And is it for you? Let’s find out more, including how you can celebrate this gorgeous aesthetic in your home.
What is maximalism design?
Let us say upfront, maximalism in interior design does not mean a lot of random clutter, with ‘everything everywhere all at once’. Maximalism design is about colour, patterns, textures, layers and incorporating elements that you love and that truly do spark joy.
Where minimalism is taking things away, maximalism is about showcasing the things you love. The Victorian-era cabinet of curiosities is a great example. But the modern trend has taken up popularity as people embrace elements from their travels and their life experiences into their design.
From an interior design perspective, maximalism incorporates everything from the colour (or wallpaper!) on your walls, to floor coverings, furniture, soft furnishings, art pieces and curios.
William Morris – the original maximalist
19th century designer William Morris may have been the original advocate for maximalism design. Morris created his designs in the mechanised, mass production years after the Industrial Revolution. He and his fellow designers (in what’s now known as the Arts and Crafts movement) sought to revive hand-crafted and hand-made elements. They wanted to celebrate the natural, textural world and find joy in your home surroundings. Morris’ designs were textile-based on wallpapers, fabrics, carpets and more.
Perhaps in our post-pandemic world, where we have retreated to our home spaces to work, shop and engage online, we are similarly craving a return to the aesthetic beauty and comfort of lush, layered, tactile, patterned elements that make our hearts sing.
What does maximalism design look like?
Maximalism is a style rather than a specific look. This is because it can be interpreted differently, depending on your personal tastes and design aesthetic.
A maximalist home is one that is truly unique to you. It embraces your favourite colours, patterns, textures and design elements, in joyful, more is more layering. Successfully mastering maximalism design requires planning and a true sense of what you love. When you achieve this, the result is curated joy and not a tactile rainbow of chaos.
Planning your maximalism design – 4 key elements
There are four key elements for a maximalism home design – colour, pattern, texture and curated joy. However, the foundation of successful maximalism is cohesion. Careful choices made to create a consistent, cohesive look.
If you can do this, the elements will tie in and work together, looking like a gorgeous celebration of you, without anyone realising how much planning went on behind the scenes! We recommend creating Pinterest boards, so you have an inspiration record of all the looks and design elements you love.
When it comes to colour, start by working with your favourite palette. Maximalism usually celebrates saturated, bright colours rather than neutrals. Think pink, green, orange, yellow – whatever combination is truly ‘you’.
Your colours can be painted onto walls and ceilings, or appear in soft furnishings, floor coverings and even furniture itself. Keep it consistent, so that the eye can happily move through the space and have a place to rest. Sticking with a favourite single colour or colour palette, will help to unify all your elements.
Another way to maintain colour consistency in your space is through finishes on floors, window and door trims, cabinetry and furniture. This will help ground the space, allowing the patterns, textures and your treasured objects to shine.
Maximalists are not afraid of a little pattern play. Patterns can be incorporated into wallpaper, the fabric of soft furnishings and curtains and floor coverings. Look for patterns within your chosen colour palette – or perhaps you’d like to bring in a patterned, neutral element that can help ground the space, such as a rug or cushions.
Within maximalism design, don’t be afraid of a little pattern clash. If you love it, and it brings joy to your space, consider including it!
Texture in maximalism design celebrates comfort and pleasure in a space. Upholstered lounges and chairs, gorgeous, embroidered cushions, decorative throws, embossed wallpaper and artworks featuring collaged paper and paint, can all bring that beautiful textural element. You’ll see a few examples of layered texturing in our luxe bedrooms here.
Texture can also be created through artwork on a wall. Rather than a single bold statement piece, curate a gallery wall. Framing artworks in a consistent way will create cohesion while allowing each piece to shine. Play around with them to see what looks best, or engage a professional to help you with final placement.
The true joy of a maximalist space is that they are lovingly created over time and with thought and consideration. By ‘curated joy’ we mean you get to choose the favourite, treasured pieces you would love to see in your home each day. This could be a favourite artwork or curio collected while travelling. It could be a sentimental piece, like a child’s painting or a beautiful linen tea towel. It could be gorgeously embroidered fabric from a special holiday. Maybe it’s a trinket brought carefully home from a school fete, or a long-saved for investment art piece.
What are the much-loved things in your home that truly spark joy and lift your spirits? Release them from cupboards and drawers and bring them into your design. This can mean getting much-loved fabric sewn into cushions, framing children’s artwork or vintage tea towels, placing special trinkets into shadow boxes or creating a vignette on a shelf.
Don’t let the last few years focus on minimalism stop you from letting the curated objects that you love, fill your space. If maximalism design speaks to you, embrace it! But remember to keep editing too. If a piece is no longer bringing you joy, or simply isn’t the right fit in your space, it can be set aside for another day.
Your home should truly reflect you, so you can be at your happiest and best self. A maximalist designed home could be what you’ve been searching for, to bring all your loved pieces together. We’d love to work with you to help plan and execute a maximalism design that truly reflects you and how you’d like to live.