Maximalist Interior Style
Where minimalism communicates austerity and subtlety, the maximalist style evokes feelings of opulence, abundance, and vibrancy.
Incorporating a maximalist style fills a space with rich, vibrant color and opulent patterns meant to grab the attention of anyone entering the space. Designers working in this style work with the same meticulous care and thought as when employing a minimalist design, as every aspect of the space contributes to its overall look and feel.
Maximalism is at the other end of the design spectrum from minimalism, which calls for simple, clean lines and neutral colors. In a minimalist style, the slightest deviation throws off the entire look of the room.
A maximalist style creates a room that is both dramatic and warm, and is the perfect option for the homeowner who approaches the world with a sense of fun and adventure. Someone who loves lots of color and a room full of varying textures and patterns, who appreciates quirky, unique finds, is likely a maximalist at heart.
The look constantly evolves, because there’s always the potential for a new, great find in the heart of a true maximalist.
If you love filling your home with an interesting, varied collection of styles, patterns, and colors, the maximalist style is probably for you. How do you achieve it, though?
It’s easier than it seems, especially if you’re a natural maximalist, since you already likely have a good collection of the things that speak to you. C
Color and Space
Start with color, and lots of it. Don’t confine yourself to the traditional color wheel palette, either. Play with colors on a small scale, such as with a mood board. This allows you to experiment with nontraditional color combinations to see how they go together. You don’t have to live in a home where furnishings, flooring, window treatments, and accessories all coordinate.
Maximalism is the opposite of minimalism, so fill all of that empty space, working in layers. This takes time, so start with your anchor pieces: sofa, tables, shelves, chests, chairs, and window treatments. Pick your favorite colors for these, since you’re working your way toward maximalism.
Layers and Patterns
One of the key components of the maximalist style is layering. To that end, don’t be afraid to combine numerous textures: silk and velvet, wool and cotton, tapestries and rugs on the walls. Add a luxurious throw and soft, touchable cushions to your sofa.
If you’ve ever heard somebody describe a home as eclectic or bohemian, odds are that the decorator used a maximalist style. There’s no need to stick to a single era or style, so feel free to place your Native pottery alongside a classic china vase filled with English roses. That vibrantly colored, Mexican-style table can rest under a Mediterranean chandelier.
In the same way, use patterns generously, and use them anywhere you want. Pillows, rugs, wall hangings, and blankets covered with flowers, stripes, paisleys, mandalas, and polka dots: they all enter the mix in a maximalist home.
Love and Light
Maximalists often love the things that other people might call “tacky” and more diplomatic folks call “kitsch.” One of the key elements in a maximalist home is filling it with things that make you smile.
Don’t be afraid of light, and don’t limit yourself to a single source. A silk-shrouded lamp on a corner table, a pendant chandelier, floor lamps, and strings of twinkle lights: the idea is to employ different light sources at varying heights. Also, don’t feel married to white bulbs when you can add interest and dimension with different colors, such as rose and amber.
Finally, show off all your interesting collections (always plural in a maximalist home); don’t skimp on display shelves and cabinets.
Although the maximalist style has an anything goes feeling to it, carefully tread the line between hoarding and collecting.
Each item has a place in a maximalist home, and requires discretion to make sure you choose it because you love it and it makes you feel good, not for reasons of sentimentality or an avoidance of letting things go. Choose your items with thought and care to make sure you don’t cross that border between maximalist style and hoarding. You want your home to look eclectic and interesting. You do not want it to inspire friends and family to hold an intervention.
This Style Takes Time
An interior designer helps you get started on the path toward maximalism, but this evolving style typically takes years to achieve. The right designer helps you work with color, texture, and patterns, applying those concepts to your “anchor” pieces: furnishings, rugs, and window treatments.
Your decorator also guides you toward good finds, based on your loves and interests, and the types of items that might fit best with the maximalist look. From there, your own love of finding unexpected treasures in unexpected places takes over. Finds from boutique and antique stores, thrift shops, and craft fairs, even your own DIY creations become décor in a maximalist home.