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Make a Statement with Maximalism | 5 Bold Interior Design Elements

a home office with a maximalist design, dark wood desk and floral wallpaper

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Maximalism is an interior design approach that embraces the "more is more" philosophy with open arms. In contrast to its polar opposite, minimalism, maximalist spaces typically embrace flamboyance, eclecticism, individuality, and, depending on your style, infinite quirkiness.

We'll explore what maximalism is, its history, why it's taking the world by storm and how you can implement the approach into your home. 

Why is Maximalism So Popular?

a living room with a maximalist design, blue velvet couch and floral wallpaper

Self-expression is the best friend of maximalism. In today's world, where uniqueness is celebrated and encouraged to be expressed freely, it is no surprise that maximalism has become a popular trend in the field of interior design.

A popular style among younger generations, especially millennials, maximalism provides an opportunity to unapologetically express your personality through an intricate curation of decoration that makes you feel joy or sparks an emotion.

Maximalism is nothing new, many enthusiasts take inspiration from the mid-19th century during the Victorian era, when excessive decoration was a telltale sign of a wealthy home. Walls adorned with mixed art, an abundance of different fabrics and patterns, every corner caked with character.

One aspect that makes maximalism wildly popular is how it beautifully complements such a wide array of different interior design styles. To name a few, dopamine decor emphasises everything quirky and joyful while boho-chic embraces an excess of handmade and colourful trinkets. Eclectic interior design has maximalism at its root, mixing patterns, textures and materials. Think bold, flamboyant and playful.

That's not to say maximalism can't be sophisticated and classy. When done right, the aesthetic can create a space that feels refined and elegant, such as Dark Academia-styled spaces.

So now we know what maximalism is and why it's taken the world by storm, let's dive into how you bring the aesthetic into your home interior design. 

How to Do Maximalism | 5 Maximalism Interior Design Elements

1: Patterns

a living room with a maximalist design, brown velvet couch, large area rug and patterned ceiling

Patterns create visual interest and provide complexity, which makes them a staple ingredient for a beautiful space. They give your guests something to take a closer look at, sparking intrigue.

Designers often advise against mixing too many patterns in one room to avoid overwhelming the design. However, maximalism embraces breaking traditional design rules, so feel free to layer patterns however you please. Just be mindful - you want the space to feel lively and balanced, so consider opting for designs that share a connecting theme or colour. 

Wallpaper is just one way to implement patterns, but you might also consider curtains, cushions, rugs and upholstery with bold prints.

Abstract patterns can add a whimsical touch to a room and break up monotony. Maximalism enthusiasts also frequently use vintage or retro-style patterns.

 If you want a maximalist space with a little more austerity or subtlety, break up the visual noise by using block colours between the patterned surfaces, e.g. 1-2 wallpapered accent walls per room or plain bed covers with a boldly patterned bedspread.

2: Bold Colours

a bedroom with a maximalist design, grand green bed and green walls

To add an air of flamboyance, bold, vibrant hues are key. If you love lots of colour, don't be afraid to mix and match, even if the colours, so-called "clash". 

There are no staple colours when it comes to maximalism - it all depends on the energy you want your space to exude. 

Rich hues such as deep greens, purples, blues and dark reds are great options for a sense of lush exuberance. 

Mismatched pastels like pale yellows, pinks and blues are the way to go for a playful or cutesy vibe like dopamine decor or Kawaii-style spaces. 

Colours with high saturation make for a lively and eye-catching space but don't be afraid to mix in more muted shades to help balance the appearance. 

That said, a maximalism space doesn't always mean vibrant hues everywhere. Consider earthy colour palettes and neutrals if bright colour schemes aren't your thing.

We can't go without mentioning metallics. Include glimmering accents in gold, silver, copper or bronze to add another layer of depth to your design.

While you should feel free to experiment with colours, you want to avoid making the space appear jumbled or uncoordinated. Run a common thread through your decor so every element speaks to and complements the others.

To avoid overpowering the room with colour, use the 60-30-10 rule: allocate 60% to a dominant colour, 30% to a secondary colour, and 10% to accent hues.

3: Statement Furniture

a living room with a maximalist design, blue velvet couch and patterned wallpaper

No maximalist space is complete without a few statement pieces. 

Statement furniture should be the focal point of the room, and all other decor should complement and emphasise its appearance. This could be a sofa, bed, dresser, or dining table.

Before deciding on the statement pieces for each room, consider the theme of your decor. Are you using a mid-century modern, futuristic or old-world vibe? Is the space going to be playful or elegant? Whatever you choose, these statement items should set the tone for the rest of your decor. Accessories and soft furnishings should cohesively revolve around these eye-catching items so they don't stick out like a sore thumb.

So, what makes a piece of furniture a statement? When it comes to maximalism, the sky's the limit. Focus on bringing something extraordinary into the room. 

To make a statement with furniture, play with shape and size. Go for curves or sharp lines, oversized armchairs or tall-backed chairs, chunky stools or plush corner couches. Choose a piece that suits your style and the room's aesthetic.

Experiment with bold patterns and try luxurious fabrics such as velvet or suede. Consider furniture with polished wooden frames or ornate trims to bring a sense of sophistication.

A statement piece should catch the eye and add personality to the room while staying in keeping with the rest of the room.

4: Layering

a bedroom with a maximalist design, colourful colour scheme and navy blue walls

Maximalism is all about layering. You want the space to feel immersive and dynamic. There's something to spark curiosity on every surface.

Layer patterns, fabrics, colours, and a diverse range of decorations - you want the space to feel like a whimsical menagerie.

Choose a diverse colour scheme and layer different shades to add depth. Experiment with patterns by allowing them to clash for a bold design or choose patterns with a common thread for a more cohesive effect.

Soft furnishings are another vital element for layering. Take rugs for example - they bring warmth and tie the room together. High-pile rugs create a plush feel, while low-pile rugs provide a solid base for your decor. You can also layer multiple rugs with different textures, colours or patterns, which is especially effective if your floor is more plain.

Accessories and other decorations should be the last factor you consider so you can coordinate them with the foundational elements of the room. Consider extravagant houseplants with lush foliage, and distinctive or quirky ornaments in the categories of mirrors, vases, or sculptures. Try hanging decorations such as trailing plants, windchimes or suncatchers to bring attention upward and balance the aesthetic.

The artwork you choose should give life to the room, so opt for contemporary pieces, 3D or textured art, perhaps with eclectic frames in mismatched shapes and colours. That being said, art is a personal choice and should be enjoyed by you above all others.

5: Maintain Functionality

a living room with a maximalist design, houseplants and floral wallpaper

You want to maintain a sense of order and balance within your maximalism design to prevent the space from feeling cluttered. Your space should be functional as well as aesthetically pleasing. 

Ensure there are clear pathways within each room. Don't obstruct doorways or entrances with excessive decor.

Include items that serve both a functional and aesthetical purpose, such as colourful coasters or retro clocks, eclectic lamps to provide cosy lighting and mirrors in unique frames or unusual shapes.

Optimise storage to keep unnecessary clutter out of sight and consider multi-functional furniture with storage features such as ottomans, or coffee tables with built-in drawers or shelves.

For easy cleaning, consider setting up designated areas for multiple decorations such as ornaments and plants. Using trays can make it easy to move multiple items at once. This will make cleaning around them and reorganising a breeze. When it comes to dusting, try using gentle and flexible dusters that allow you to easily clean around your decorations without having to move them.

A beautiful maximalist design needs thoughtful consideration and intentional decoration. It should make you smile when you walk into it. It shouldn't make you want to tidy up.

a living room with a maximalist design, brown couch and floral wallpaper

Above all, your maximalist design should nurture your creative side. Each room should give you a little 'ooh' and 'aah' when you walk into it. Whether you decide to create a kaleidoscope of colours and patterns or a rich and sophisticated domain that oozes elegance, avoid recreating trends or designs that don't work in your space. Plan carefully, perhaps create a mood board to set your ideas straight, and, best of all, have fun.


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