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What ‘maximalism’ is and how to know if it’s right for you

Maximalism is a re-emerging trend in interior design that has grown in popularity in reaction to the contemporary minimalist style that dominates many new homes. Filled with vibrant colors and exciting prints, maximalism puts a spin on creative decor, encouraging indulgence and celebrating abundance.

If you’re curious about whether it’s right for you, keep reading. We’ve gathered all you need to know about this trend and how to incorporate it into your own home.

What is maximalism?

This style focuses on bold colors, prints, and a mish-mash of materials. This eclectic design is a method of approaching your aesthetic, so you can still have a rustic, contemporary, or farmhouse style, the colors and patterns will just be exaggerated. The goal is to create an excessive but curated look that fills a room with ornamentation without making it look too cluttered.

Maximalism vs. minimalism

Where minimalism focuses on paring everything down to the bare minimum, maximalism creates a more layered, complex look. This style is best for those who love bright, bold colors and lots of patterns. If you have a lot of knick-knacks, rugs, pictures, and decorative pieces, then this style is for you.

blue walls in a maximalist living room
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Key characteristics of this style

Be aware, however, that there’s a difference between maximalism and clutter. Just like minimalism has a set of rules, so too does maximalism, ensuring you can display all your favorite items without making your home appear unkempt.

Bright colors

Rich, royal blues, plum purples, hot pinks, and highlighter greens are typical in maximalist design. They draw the eye, and when scattered around the room, encourage guests to look around the entire space, taking in everything you have on display.

Loud prints

Black and white checkered patterns, zebra and tiger print, and classic patterns like polka dots and stripes all have a place in maximalism. Designers mix these loud prints and patterns to create complexity in a room, playing with color and shape to create more visual interest. While we encourage mixing prints, be thoughtful in the patterns you pick. You want the space to look fun, not haphazard.

Lots of knick-knacks

Cherish your trophies, vacation souvenirs, and thrift store finds by presenting them for all to see. Feel free to stock your bookshelves to the brim and add photo albums and figurines to your coffee table. To incorporate abundance without creating clutter, many designers engage in color blocking, devoting certain areas of the room to one bright color. This adds a curated appeal, showing that your design is well thought out.

Layered materials

Layered rugs, blankets, and stacks of pillows create a cozy, inviting space that your guests will love. Keep glasses of marbles or cool rocks on serving trays, hang plants along the walls, and install open shelving units to keep your favorite items visible.

blue colorful living room with bright decor
Image used with permission by copyright holder

How to bring maximalism to your home

Integrating maximalism doesn’t always require a full-scale remodel. With a few simple tips, you can achieve this style with ease.

Add more color

The more color, the better. Paint an accent wall with rich, bright colors, or pick a rug with hues of yellow, pink, and orange. Don’t be afraid to paint your furniture, too. Colorful coffee tables, chairs, and bookcases can completely transform your room.

To start smaller and work your way up to these louder colors, start by slowly adding more greens and blues. These two colors are more interesting than neutrals, but still popular and quiet enough to keep the room looking more sophisticated.

Layer your fabrics

Instead of one large area rug, buy a couple of smaller, unique pieces and lay them around the room. Throw blankets and pillows onto couches, sofas, and decorative ladders to bring more texture to the space.

Use a lot of decorative pieces

Rifle through junk draws and pour through storage boxes to find all those little figurines and other knick-knacks that you never had a place for. Install some floating shelves or bookcases to show off these pieces, and add them to a large, mismatched gallery wall.

Don’t shy away from patterns

Play around with animal prints, classic looks, and everything in between to draw people’s attention and add a little excitement. As we recommended with the use of color, feel free to start slow, picking a few tried-and-true patterns like plaid, polka dots, and flowers. Once you become more comfortable, then you can experiment with louder, more unique prints.

While minimalism has been the go-to approach for interior design over the past few years, a new style is taking center stage. Fill your home with personality and character, adding fun and exciting decorative elements that make for a youthful, exuberant home that will add a smile to anyone’s face.

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Amelia Wilson
Amelia Wilson (author pen name Amelia J. Wilson) is a content writer in Greenwood, IN. She often enjoys topics on…
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