While minimalist decor has been the rage over the last decade, there’s a new trend taking its place: maximalism. This style of interior design is exactly what it sounds like and can be defined as an eclectic mix of patterns, colors, designs, and possessions, usually with at least some amount of organization. Vox described the maximalist trend: “To look at a maximalist home is to get a sense of what the inside of a person’s brain might look like — the places they’ve visited, their heritage, the random objects they’ve amassed over a lifetime.”
While maximalism revolves around an eclectic mix of design choices, it doesn’t mean stuffing one’s living space with as much decor and clutter as possible. While it encourages being a little less strict about the number of things in any given space, there are still artful tricks to ensure your space doesn’t come across as “messy.” A well-done maximalist execution can still provide the same interior balance many people find in minimalist trends.
Just like most interior design styles, Maximalism can be successfully implemented in smaller spaces requiring more intentional design, such as apartments or college dorms. With limited space comes a greater need for strategic thinking, but despite the appearance of the trend, it isn’t reserved only for the well-traveled or people with large budgets.
Embrace Your Green Thumb
It might be instinctive to think “maximalism” equals “inanimate objects,” but in reality, there are myriad choices when it comes to indulging in interior spaces. One of these choices brings color, life, and according to some research, improved mood and mental health: plants.
Naturally, incorporating plants into an interior can either be strategic or more impulsive. These eye-catching additions can coordinate with other room colors or exist organically in free space on shelves, furniture, or windowsills. Not all plants have to specifically be indoor-only, either, though it’s much easier to grow and nurture plants with unique needs when indoors and under controlled climates.
On the other hand, if you’re interested in plants that grow naturally and with a little less constant attention, incorporate things like window boxes, patio gardens, or even mini herb gardens on kitchen counters. These can act as a less hands-on commitment while still enjoying the ambiance they provide. You might also consider plant or floral-themed decor surrounding the plant life as a way to bring it all together.
Mix Colors, Textures, and Patterns
In addition to not simply relying on more “things” when creating a balanced maximalist space, taking advantage of unique wall paint, wallpaper, furniture, and a variety of textures can add visual interest without taking up too much physical space.
When determining a color palette — whether it be for the walls, the floor, ceiling, doorways, or furniture — consider some suggestions for combinations that are appealing both visually and in terms of the “moods” they can evoke. Some of these interior colors based on color psychology include:
Blue and other cool tones are calming;
Reds and warm tones can evoke more emotion;
Yellow is cheerful and bright;
Orange inspires optimism;
Neutral tones are calming and can provide a “break” from overstimulation.
By prioritizing your mood in these decisions, you naturally create a space that is not only aesthetically pleasing to the eye but one that is welcoming as well.
Think About Every Part of Your Home
It may feel natural to focus more on areas of the home where guests spend the most time but incorporating maximalist choices throughout the entire house will ensure balance both in terms of the design and simply in terms of living.
Further, consider extending these design choices even outside the main rooms of your home. For example, designing the interior of a sunroom, purposefully choosing patio furniture, painting the fenceline, and other outdoor space design choices can allow for unique visuals and bring the entire living space together, both inside and out.
This sentiment also extends to bedrooms and not just guest rooms. Interior design is for more than simply impressing guests or organizing a hosting space for parties — it’s also important for the people living in the home to find joy in their surroundings. This is especially important in private spaces where creativity, productivity, and relaxation are most important. Other rooms in the home to consider dedicating an interior eye to include:
Additional places for unique interior updates that are more likely to be missed might include:
Ceilings, including both paint color and light fixtures;
Kitchen flooring and backsplashes;
Remember, no detail is too small when it comes to maximalism interior design—even the smallest thing matters.
Implement Various Eras
Maximalism isn’t a particularly new or groundbreaking trend. Trends tend to come and go in cycles, just like any other popular design. According to Apartment Therapy, “The more-is-more mentality gained traction in the early 1980s with the onset of the bold, unconventional design work of Ettore Sottsass and the Memphis Group out of Milan, Italy.”
However, even before the 1980s, there were other eras of indulgence and being “over the top” by minimalist standards — eras including the Gilded Age of the late 1800s in the U.S., the 60s and 70s retro/disco eras, or even the Baroque and Rococo periods of France in the 1600-1700s. Even Colonial Periods had their trends, demonstrating exactly how inspiration can come from any place you look.
While these periods may feel far from modern times, the overall intention behind the design choices is the same — to surround oneself with lavish and indulgent interior design, to evoke feelings of grandeur and self-sufficiency while showing off your unique personality.
Use Decor from Around the World
Finding inspiration from eras gone by is one way to include unique pieces in your interior. Still inspiration from around the world is also a vibrant place to find furniture, patterns, and designs of interest. While it’s important to be sensitive to avoid accidentally perpetuating stereotypes or incorporating important cultural imagery into the design choices, there are a plethora of other ways to bring different global inspirations into your home.
On top of considering decor ideas from around the world, also consider what’s available locally. Things like hand-crafted wall hangings, furniture, and even local contractors can provide one-of-a-kind interior design choices that no one else in the world would ever get their hands on. In comparison, if you purchased your decor from a chain store or another big brand, you may lose some of this originality.
Enlisting the help of local interior painters can lead to a unique experience and result, as you may find that they’re more than eager to work with you and your ideas intimately, rather than simply arriving, painting, and leaving again. Small businesses, especially, love to work directly with their clients near their location to ensure they’re producing great quality work, but they’re creating the best of what there is to offer. Enlisting their help is a great way to tick off all your boxes while also supporting the local economy.
Mix and Match Art Pieces
One of the main tenets of minimalism focused on incorporating colors, styles, and patterns that were mostly neutral, or at least clearly from a similar background. Maximalism, on the other hand, encourages you to branch out into multiple different avenues of design choices, including art pieces both on the wall and around the room.
Specifically, maximalism includes well-designed accent walls decorated with things like gallery formats, kitschy knick-knacks, or exciting patterns and colors. Again, these pieces should be incorporated intentionally, bringing together an eclectic mix of colors, patterns, and other visual designs.
The most successful maximalist designs will still be approached strategically and with intention. Anyone can fill a room with interesting pieces of decor. However, the line between clutter and appealing maximalism can be drawn with research, intention, and hiring the right people to help bring the colors all together. Whatever design style you choose, your local painting pros at Five Star Painting are ready to help you bring beautiful paint colors to your design. Schedule a free estimate today.