4 Ways to Give Your Home a Maximalist Look
Isaac Newton’s 3rd law of physics states “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction“ and it turns out this applies to interior design as well as physics!
For the past few years design has seen an explosion of the minimalist “hygge” trend (hygge is Norwegian for cozy). Think modern, rustic, Scandinavian, farmhouse with a mid-century vibe, but VERY curated. You know the look I mean: bare floors, white walls (often shiplap), one three legged stool, and a sheepskin. It’s pretty, but stark. Looks great in a photo shoot, but in real life can be the opposite of cozy, but it’s everywhere these days!
So of course, like Newton’s Law, we are now seeing the equal and opposite reaction, and that’s Maximilism, and I heartily welcome its return to the design stage! You can pretty much figure out what maximalist decor is from its name, but how does one translate this trend into one’s own home, without it looking like a mess?
1. Go Big or Go Home!
Key maximalist elements are greenery and florals, and a big, bold, eye-grabbing statement piece. Both are illustrated in the above photo, with the giant tree, surrounded by even more tropical foliage. Doesn't get more max than the riotous cacophony of the jungle!
Even a small space can be maximalist without feeling cluttered! For the above powder room, I had an artisan stencil gold-leaf ginkgo leaves over a deep wall color, than layered even more gold on top with a gilt-framed antique painting, and topped it with a gold and crystal chandelier. Small space, BIG impact!
3. Layer and Group, Group and Layer!
There is a lot going in the above photo, but somehow it all works. That’s because the designer has grouped like objects - china layered on a coffee table, table layered over antique rug, antique rug layered over an antique rug. It has the appearance of being organically grown in place over the years, but this was actually all carefully thought out in advance.
4. More is More!
Tony Duquette, famously coined the term “more is more” in regard to his decorating style, and it’s become the mantra of the maximalist decor movement. You can see why from this photo of a salon of his design as to why he is the godfather of the maximalist movement. He loved to mix tropical foliage motifs with antiques, gilt with crystal, found objects next to important works of art, and believed that anything went together as long as you love the pieces you are using. Not for the faint of heart, but it’s maximalism at it’s best.
How about you? Are you a fan of maximalism? Or are you more of a minimalist? Or maybe that sweet spot in-between? Let me know in the comments!