Style Highlight: Maximalism

May 13, 2024 - Michelle Murphy

Between the popularity of Marie Kondo’s KonMari Method and Kim K’s ultra-minimal-verging-on-museum-style home, Minimalism is all the rage right now—and has been for some time.

But have you ever walked into a room that’s bursting with colours, patterns, and all sorts of interesting stuff everywhere you look? That’s the magic of maximalism. It loves a bit of everything and has a LOT of personality.

At first glance, maximalism may seem like a hodgepodge of confused mediums, but there’s actually a lot of intention behind the seemingly chaotic aesthetic.

Let’s find out how to do maximalism right!

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Modern maximalist living room with navy blue sofa and eclectic gallery wall

The Maximalism Philosophy

The idea of modern “more is more” design really gained popularity in the early 20th century with Hollywood Regency styles and influence from prominent architects like Robert Venturi. But maximalism has origins all the way back in the Victorian era.

Maximalism is rooted in self-expression. Each choice made is deliberate with pieces that have place and purpose. In a maximalist home, layers upon layers of patterns, colours, and objects coexist in harmony to tell dreamy stories. By its nature, this style encourages a fearless approach to decorating. It invites you to mix textures and styles, combine vintage with modern, and display items that make you happy and nostalgic.

Key Elements of Maximalism

Maximalism is like the boisterous, outgoing cousin of minimalism. Where minimalism likes to keep things simple and understated, maximalism celebrates the big and the bold. This style doesn’t just go against the “less is more” ideology—it screams “Less is boring!”.

Bold bathroom with floral wallpaper and gold accents

Bold Colour Schemes

Maximalism thrives on the use of vibrant, often unexpected colour combinations. Hot pinks and greens, oranges and blues, and the brightest wallpapers you can think of are all welcome in this style to create a visual impact and evoke emotions.

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Layered Textures & Patterns

In a maximalist space, a single room might feature a mix of plush velvets, sleek leathers, intricate motifs, and bold floral, animal, or geometric prints. This layering creates depth and keeps the eye moving around the room.

Statement Pieces

Art, furniture, and lighting are central to a maximalist room’s character. Walls are typically adorned with a mix of paintings, prints, and photographs to create a gallery-like atmosphere. Furniture pieces are often bold and unique to act as focal points. Lighting is dramatic with ornate chandeliers, oversized lamps, and colourful pendants.

Ornate Accents

The details matter just as much as the larger elements in maximalist interior design, with shiny elements, intricate mouldings, and decorative trims on display. Ornate mirrors, gold or glass fixtures, and richly detailed hardware are common accents used to catch the eye and contribute to the overall opulence of the decor.

Personal Memorabilia

Perhaps what truly defines maximalism is the presence of personal items that mean something to the homeowner. These could be family heirlooms, books, or even quirky finds from a local market. Displaying these items prominently makes the space truly unique and personal.

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Combining Maximalism with Other Styles

Maybe you’re not ready or excited to go all in on Maximalism, and that’s ok! Maximalist interior design isn’t for the faint of heart—but it also doesn’t have to stand on its own.

Here’s how to blend maximalism with other interior styles while maintaining a cohesive look:

Light and bright living room with bold tropical wallpaper

Find Beauty in Chaos with Maximalism!

Maximalist interior design is a vibrant celebration of abundance, variety, and personal expression. Contrary to what critics might say, this maximalism is not clutter—it’s a highly intentional, highly curated complex design. It’s a style that allows you to boldly showcase your interests and passions to create a home that is visually interesting and deeply personal.

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