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8 Design Styles & Techniques That Go Perfectly with Maximalism

a maximalist living room with bright colours, a white couch, gold and glass coffee table, sheepskin pouf and framed artwork

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If you find minimalist interior design lacklustre or limiting, maximalism, the aesthetic of excess, might be for you.

While maximalism can be a style all on its own, it's also considered an approach to decorating, meaning it can be fused with many different interior design styles to make a combination that speaks to your taste. 

Maximalist spaces exude creativity and personality, providing a scope for self-expression. A typical maximalist space would showcase a diverse array of decor elements by blending colours, patterns, textures and materials to achieve a striking interior design.

Maximalism can get a bad rap for looking cluttered and messy, but done right, this technique can make a room sophisticatedly eclectic, rich and extravagant. 

What Interior Design Styles Can Be Paired with Maximalism?

Maximalism isn't maximalism without layering. We've put together this list of 8 interior design styles that complement maximalism because they all have one thing in common: they can benefit from layering. 

Layering essentially means building upon your design element by element, finding complementary colours, patterns, textures, etc, and intertwining them together to form the style you're trying to achieve. No corner is untouched by decor and everywhere you look are intricate details that merge seamlessly with the design. 

So let's jump in and explore these 8 interior design styles that lend themselves beautifully to a maximalist approach.

8 Design Styles & Techniques That Go Perfectly with Maximalism

1: Dopamine Decor 

dopamine decor maximalist bedroom with floral patterns on wallpaper, bedsheets and floral framed artwork

Dopamine decor gets its name from a trend that has surged in popularity in the last decade. With dopamine being known as the "feel good" hormone, the idea behind the aesthetic is filling your space with things that bring you joy. Think playful colour schemes, fun shapes, and graphic patterns, all carefully curated to reflect the personality of the homeowner.

1a: Why Blend Maximalism and Dopamine Decor?

Layering is a staple when it comes to both of these designs. You want a space of this design to have a diverse collection of textures, colours, materials and patterns. You can strategically intertwine some "plainness" like a singular wall colour to prevent the space from becoming overwhelming, but this combo is about indulgence and, for some, that might mean allowing clashing patterns or colours to breathe some life into your home.

Diverse decor choices, creative freedom and an imaginative mindset also come into play with this combo. Handpick your decoration, venturing into unusual shops for inspiration. If you come across an item that makes you involuntarily smile or laugh in the middle of the shop, it could well belong as part of your collection.

2: Colour Drenching

a bedroom decorated with the colour drenching technique in green and decorated with a maximalist approach - lots of colours, patterns, artwork and accessories

Colour drenching comes second in this list thanks to its versatility. A technique that involves painting a whole room, including walls, ceilings, woodwork and doors, with a single hue. The enhancing qualities of a colour-drenched room are not to be underestimated. With the right colour choice, colour drenching can simultaneously make a room feel bigger and cosier - great news for small spaces

2a: Why Blend Maximalism and Colour Drenching?

This method creates the perfect backdrop for maximalism, especially if you are looking to draw more attention to other decor elements, and/or don't want to overwhelm the space. The seamless effect colour drenching creates can also be incredibly calming, another plus for any space, but especially for balancing the dynamic character of maximalism.

3: Cottagecore

a bedroom decorated with a mix of maximalist and cottagecore styles - pretty delicate floral patterns on bedsheets and wallpaper, nature-inspired artwork, plants and vintage aesthetic

Cottagecore is an internet aesthetic with a focus on country life, simple living, and wholesome crafts. Using a blend of decor elements reminiscent of nature, cottagecore is somewhat similar to what some might consider "grandmacore" or "grandmillenial". We like to think cottagecore can evoke a sense of nostalgia with its resemblance to quaint 19th-century English cottage gardens. 

Enthusiasts like to use an abundance of natural materials like wood, cotton, wool, and linen, with decorations that have a vintage look, such as lace, china tea sets, and even retro kitchen equipment. 

3a: Why Blend Maximalism and Cottagecore?

While some cottagecore spaces have a more simplistic and functional look, this style, as promised, is complemented by layering, so by adopting a maximalist approach, you can create a charming, quaint and even whimsical space. 

When combining these styles, you want to keep your layering delicate, but eclectic. Opt for softer patterns, rustic furniture, and botanical decor such as herb gardens, wildflower arrangements, houseplants and artwork with nature themes, e.g. animals, leaves, or trees. Focus on bringing nature inside. This achieves a more natural maximalist aesthetic.

4: Vintage

a dining room decorated with a fusion of maximalism and vintage - floral patterns terracotta walls, vintage furniture pieces

Vintage interior design is a style often associated with a sense of sophistication and elegance, a way to showcase and display decor items that have stood the test of time. Typically, an item that is 20 years old or more is considered vintage. Shopping in vintage, antique, or thrift shops is a great way to find hidden gems that will give your design a story and bundles of character.

That being said, if you're simply trying to achieve a vintage look, you have a little more freedom, meaning you can include retro decor elements. Retro pieces are manufactured to look older than they are and have an old-world or dated look that can nicely complement genuine vintage elements.

4a: Why Blend Maximalism and Vintage?

Vintage interior design is in no way defined by maximalism, in fact, many people adopt a minimalist look, enjoying the authenticity that vintage items provide. But maximalism is an approach used for centuries by those wanting to showcase their finest possessions, and vintage maximalism can be sophisticated, enchanting and cosy. Opt for vintage patterns such as damask or chintz, textures such as polished wood, vintage fabrics, and patina ornaments, layering them neatly. Feel free to bring in vibrant colours, but consider blending them with some more muted shades to maintain an air of sophistication.

5: Bohemian

A bohemian living room, featuring a brown leather couch house, plants, rustic brown walls, and sheepskins decorated with a maximalist approach

Bohemian decor is known for being vibrant, earthy, free-spirited and diverse. Like cottagecore, there's an abundance of nature-themed decor, but bohemian décor generally pulls inspiration from countries known for their artistic traditions and vibrant aesthetics, such as Morocco, India, and Africa. 

5a: Why Blend Maximalism and Bohemian?

Boho is an interior design style that is carefree by nature, and a maximalist approach to decorating can elevate that energetic bazaar vibe that makes bohemian spaces so inviting. 

To blend maximalism and bohemian, create a warm and inviting space with an eclectic mix of colours, textures, and patterns. Use earthy tones like brown, muted greens, and rusty reds as a base, and add pops of jewel-inspired hues. Incorporate natural materials like wood, leather, wicker, rattan, and cotton. Handcrafted, artisan-style pieces such as rich tapestries, embroidered fabrics, and pottery can enhance the authenticity and earthiness of the design. You want to achieve an earthy, laid-back atmosphere.

6: Art Deco

A living room, decorated with a fusion of a maximalist and art deco, interior design style, featuring a blue velvet sofa a golden glass, coffee table or deco, inspired, wallpaper, gold, accents, and ambient lighting

Art Deco emerged in the 1920s and 1930s and is known for being a bold, glamorous and luxurious interior design style. 

Elements such as bold geometric patterns, lavish materials, streamlined furniture, and lacquered wood are used to create a sense of opulence and sophistication.

A balanced combination of definitive curves and straight lines creates a sleek, dramatic effect, alongside fine craftsmanship details such as inlay, marquetry and metallic accents 

6a: Why Blend Maximalism and Art Deco?

With both styles being welcoming of excess and luxury, a fusion of Art Deco and maximalism can have a striking effect. Start with a base of Art Deco-inspired elements, such as geometric patterns, metallic finishes, and luxurious materials like velvet, marble, and brass.

Add a maximalist touch by layering in bold colours, patterns, and textures. Think rich jewel tones like emerald green, sapphire blue, and ruby red, paired with animal prints, floral patterns, and plush fabrics like faux fur and silk. Use statement pieces like oversized artwork, sculptural lighting fixtures, and unique decorative objects to add drama and personality to the space.

7: Dark Academia 

A living room, decorated with a combination of dark academia and maximalist interior design styles, featuring a brown leather sofa, leather, bound books, plants, and ambient lighting

The Dark Academia interior design style embraces academics, literature, and the arts, oozing romanticism of all things intellectual. It brings to mind imagery of dusky autumn days and historical architecture

Though a trend used to describe many mediums from genre to fashion, Dark Academia has become a pronounced style of interior design, creating a classic yet mysterious atmosphere through the use of rich colours and sophisticated décor. 

Dark Academia spaces can be gothic or even whimsical, while some enthusiasts choose to go for a more refined, old-world look.

7a: Why Blend Maximalism and Dark Academia?

Maximalism can give dark academia a sense of ordered clutter, like a scholarly study or historical university. The key is in the details to create a nuanced space, where every decor item is intentionally placed.

Layering, as always, is the key to creating a maximalist dark academia aesthetic. Combine elements such as damask wallpaper, studded sofas, or wingback chairs, dark polished woods such as oak, walnut and mahogany, and materials such as leather, velvet and silk.

Opt for rich colour schemes - burgundy, deep greens, navy, plum, and charcoal - weaving in metallics like gold, brass and copper for an air of luxury. 

Decorate meticulously to maintain a sense of refinement. Classic decor works great with this aesthetic, such as vintage wall hangings and tapestries, carved picture frames, or artwork with a Renaissance vibe.

8: Colour Blocking

A living room, decorated with a maximalist aesthetic featuring colourblocking technique with circular and semicircular shapes painted on the walls in muted colours

Colour blocking is a technique where multiple colours are blocked together in one space to create a striking effect. The technique can be used across different surfaces such as walls, furniture, and accessories. 

There are many different ways to utilise colour-blocking. When it comes to walls, you can quite literally paint squares of different colours across your wall or include other shapes and effects. Check out our colour-blocking Pinterest board for some inspiration on the different types of colour blocking. When it comes to furniture, the key is to include contrasting colours for ultimate effect, such as an orange couch against a green wall.

8a: Why Blend Maximalism and Colour Blocking?

A diverse selection of colours will make your maximalist interior design full of life, and colour blocking is a great way to add interest and vibrancy.

Colour blocking's versatile nature allows you to experiment with different colour combinations and patterns to create a look that is uniquely your own. What you want to be careful of is colour choices, as the wrong combinations can throw off the aesthetic you're trying to achieve, making the space feel overwhelming and disjointed.

To avoid this, use colours that complement each other such as dusky rose and pink, or baby blue and navy. This maintains cohesivity while creating the contrast we want in a maximalist space. Additionally, colour blocking can also be used to emphasize certain areas or features of a room, creating a spotlight effect, e.g. a semi-circle painted on the wall behind a couch or bed.

So there's no denying that the maximalist approach is jet fuel for achieving an energetic, creative space. Maximalism can be applied to many different aesthetics, and choosing the right one for you is a case of deciding what type of energy you want your home design to have. If you're looking for sleek and sophisticated, combine it with art deco or dark academia. For a more earthy or charming aesthetic, consider cottagecore or bohemian. Experiment and see which fusion works for you. 

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