If you were never a fan of neutrals and you can’t imagine decluttering à la Marie Kondo, maximalism could be the home decor trend you’ve been yearning for. The quintessential maximalist room will seamlessly combine clashing patterns, varying textures, and even different design styles. Who needs subtlety, anyway?
Since fashion trends tend to influence interiors, it only makes sense that we’re seeing maximalism increase in popularity, at a time when the trend is already overflowing on the fashion runways of many influential designers.
“Gucci has really showcased the ‘More is more’ maxi look, using florals with scenics, lace with beading, and embellishments everywhere, and young people are snapping it up in record numbers,” says Jason Oliver Nixon, co-founder of the design firm Madcap Cottage and co-author of “Prints Charming.”
Caveat: For those planning to sell their home in the coming months, maximalist interiors might not be the right move.
“This theme is the exact opposite of what needs to be achieved when staging a home to sell,” says Karen Gray-Plaisted of Design Solutions KGP.
But for the rest of us, channeling such an eclectic look can be liberating. You can finally layer accessories and patterns with abandon, whether they “go together” or not. That said, it’s still necessary to bring some cohesiveness to your rooms, so they don’t look sloppy. Here’s how to achieve that balance.
1. Stick to the same color family
Photo by Nathalie Priem Photography
Now’s your chance to dive deep into the color palette. If you love jewel tones (amethyst, sapphire), they’re hallmarks of maximalist paint schemes. Just remember to keep colors in the same family. For example, if you plan to go feature green prominently in the room, complement it with other cool tones, like blue and purple.
“The key is to adhere to a color story, so you don’t get completely overwhelmed,” says Drew Henry, founder of Design Dudes in San Antonio.
“Maximalism is the new orange, so you’ll definitely see colors moving away from the boring beige and gray era, when everyone’s living room looked the same,” says Nixon.
2. Start with wallpaper
Photo by Murphy Design
To achieve this style without having to completely redo your home, apply wallpaper in a bold pattern. This allows you to dip a toe in the maximalist pool and not have to worry about buying a bunch of new stuff. You can fill the whole room with wallpaper or start small, with an accent wall. Want to adorn your walls with even less of a commitment? Try removable wallpaper.
3. Try multiple textures
Photo by Annie Hall Interiors
Whether you’re mixing metals, wood tones, or fabrics, a bit of texture overload is textbook maximalism. Think soft throws, wooden chairs, and an animal-print rug like this faux cowhide (Wayfair, $110).
In a maximalist room, layering is a must, so don’t forget velvet, tweed, and plush synthetics that will give your place a cozy yet stylish look.
4. Go deep on the artwork
Photo by Adrienne DeRosa
“If you see an empty space or blank wall as an opportunity to add something, then maximalism is for you,” says Jamie Novak, an organizing genius and author of “Keep This Toss That”.
Take an inventory of the art in your home (this is a good excuse to finally do something with those pictures you’ve been meaning to hang!) and, if necessary, source some more pieces (try Etsy, estate sales, or even making your own).
Shop around for large artwork or consider a mural that fills an entire wall. A photo gallery made up of pieces you already own is an easy solution, too.
5. Give trinkets a star role
Photo by Ryland Peters & Small | CICO Books
Trinkets and found objects give a maximalist room its flair, but the goal is to let your tchotchkes shine without the whole space looking messy.
“A maximalist homeowner often has a treasure trove of stuff, but it’s curated,” says Gray-Plaisted. “The idea is to use items you truly love.”
Instead of hiding all your odds and ends, consider the collections of items you own and group them together in a single area in full view. A china or curio cabinet, floating shelves, or built-in cubbies are smart display options.
6. Don’t hide dishes
Photo by UB Kitchens
“No plain dishes in a maximalist home!” Novak says. Painted, patterned dinnerware is all the rage, so stash those everyday white plates and pull out the fun stuff. Display it on a wall rack or consider putting it on open shelving. You’ll be infusing color into your kitchen, and also gaining better access to your plates and bowls.