Written by Sara D'Souza

Maximalism: How to get the look

The antithesis of the neutral, natural, less-is-more trends of late, maximalism features bold, unapologetic colours, patterns and textures. Increasingly we want our homes to reflect who we are and the maximalism school of thought is about filling your home with things that bring you joy.

Flamboyant wallpaper is a staple of maximalism

Photo: Bobbi Beck

What is maximalism?

The founding principle of maximalism is ‘more is more’ and really there are no rules, although think stylish curating rather than being too cluttered or messy. Layer everything, pattern, print, colour, and texture to make your home a personal treasure trove, like a cabinet of curiosities. In maximalism there’s no such thing as ‘it doesn’t match’.

Maximalism is not about one statement show-stealing piece, it’s about taking several elements and using them all together, for example, putting up boldly patterned wallpaper with a fabulous chandelier, hand woven rug and an overstuffed velvet sofa.

There are many iterations of maximalism, from eclectic heavily patterned floral wallpaper and drapes, to a 1950s kitsch style. For a pared back way of adding maximalist drama to your rooms, try colour drenching, where you take one colour and paint it across all your surfaces (even the windowsills and ceiling), using different shades.

Clashing patterns and colours is key for maximalism

Photo: Jonathon Adler

Maximalist interior designers to look out for:

The UK’s fabulously self-proclaimed ‘O.G of Maximalism,’ Laurence Llewelyn Bowen, most famous for his flamboyant role in BBC’s Changing Rooms (both the original and the remake), has a new book out entitled More More More: Making Maximalism Work in Your Home and Life. Laurence Llewelyn Bowen states ‘it’s time to make the old minimalist ‘designosaurs’ extinct and inspire the new generation of homeowners and renters.’ More More More is a ‘passionate rejection of so-called “good taste” that leaves people trying to control their home surroundings so rigidly that everyday life feels out of place within it.’

Maximalism is a Laurence Llewelyn Bowen's signature style

Photo: Laurence Llewelyn Bowen

BBC Interior Design Masters finalist Siobhan Murphy’s book More is More also encapsulates maximalist design. Encouraging readers to think about the colours, textures, patterns, and prints that bring them happiness and work these elements into their home décor. The book, Siobhan says ‘will give you the confidence to experiment and be bolder with style. It’s decorating from the heart, going with your gut, and not worrying what the neighbours will say.’

Three ways to pull off maximalist interior design

1. Go big and go bold

Wallpaper plays a huge role in going big with your maximalist décor. Ohpopsi have a brilliant range of bold, large-scale wallpapers that will completely change a room and create a talking point. Their colourful Abstract collection is full of repeated collaged motifs and statement shapes with a mix of vibrant colour palettes and pastel shades. If you’re new to pattern, start small, like a downstairs bathroom, then work your way up.

How to achieve maximalism in decor

Photo: Ohpopsi

2. Colour is key in maximalism

Don’t limit your paint to just the walls, paint your bookshelves (try painting the back of the shelves a different colour), chests and ceilings. Try a gallery wall packed full of your favourite prints with frames in clashing colours. Don’t be afraid of pattern, from vibrant rugs to animal print cushions.

How to get the look for maximalist interior design

Photo: Furniture and Choice

3. Overload on joyful accessories

Accessories will bring your maximalist interiors to life and layering your cushions, rugs and throws will make for an opulent feel. Arranging your objects in groupings on surfaces or shelves can provide a polished look. Mix vintage with new and if you go for plants, don’t just add a few, make it a jungle. Tablescaping can also be a brilliant way of bringing a fun, maximalist vibe to your gatherings.

Try maximalism decor with joyful accessories

Photo: Wayfair


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