What is Maximalism?

February 28, 2021

A review of maximalism, and tips for how to pull it off

Every so often, in response to wanting a fresh aesthetic, a new design style emerges. With everyone spending so much time at home these days, looking for unique ways to decorate their homes has become a popular pastime.

You might be familiar with the classic design styles, like traditional, farmhouse, industrial, and eclectic. You also likely know about minimalism and how it focuses on streamlining and keeping your décor to a bare minimum. So, what in the world is maximalism, you ask?

Maximalism is, in fact, the opposite of minimalism. Instead of clean lines and pared down spaces, think loud art and lots of color. Maximalism is decorating without traditional rules and the idea that more is more. While this concept can be done beautifully, the risk of it going wrong is real. I have gathered some advice below if you want to take the leap and embrace the wild of maximalism.

Stick to a color palette. While the goal here is certainly not creating a traditional space and to play with color, you also don’t want it to look like a box of Crayola exploded in your living room. Decide on a color palette and stick with it. Too many colors in one space will look messy instead of styled. If blues and greens are what you gravitate towards, run with that and saturate the space.

Cluster carefully. The key here is to group pieces strategically. Several different pendant lights or mismatched lanterns placed together looks intentional instead of cluttered. This is a great way to incorporate different types of the same item and create a totally unique look. Try pieces with different shapes and heights to avoid the matchy-matchy feel.

Pick an art wall. Try creating an art wall and really go for it. Instead of haphazardly placing groups of art on each of the walls, choose one to be the focal point. Use what you have or hunt for some great art that speaks to you. Fill your art wall from floor to ceiling and wall to wall with various pieces in different sizes. Avoid too many pieces of the same size or you will run the risk of it looking like a cookie cutter gallery wall.

Maximalists mix color, pattern and textures artfully

Mix patterns wisely. Mixing patterns and textures is a big focus in maximalism. Mixing patterns, however, is an art form. Think about sizing and scale when mixing patterns. Keep these consistent through your patterns and this will tie everything together. Pairing a micro-print with a large floral is just going to look sloppy. Also, think about color when mixing prints; you want to keep a consistent color throughout each of your patterns to achieve a cohesive look.

Think vintage. Antiques and vintage pieces are a perfect match for this imperfect design style. Vintage pieces tend to be ornate and much more unique than what you will find at your chain home décor stores. Try rummaging through your parents’ or grandparents’ storage or visit a local thrift shop for some sure-to-be awesome finds.

Have fun.  Maximalism is a knee jerk reaction to the picture-perfect tidiness of minimalism. It embraces beautiful chaos and creates a space that you love. So, have fun with it! Choose pieces that make you feel happy and at home. Decorating should be fun and sometimes we forget that, but maximalism is here to remind us.

What do you think of this new design trend? Will you or have you tried this in your home? We would love to hear your thoughts!

-Ashley Turner

Maximalist interior with a unified color palette and art wall

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