16 Nov More is More: Minimalism is NOT the Only Way
At the risk of sounding like a cheap car ad, who SAID less is more? The difference here being that at some point, people HAVE actually said that. Seriously, nah. Less can no more be more than red can be blue, or day be night.
Sure. Some clients love a minimalistic approach. Some prefer the clean, uncluttered lines and soft, neutral tones and that’s entirely their prerogative. But if you favour a more maximal approach then that’s YOUR prerogative – and you know me, I’m ALL about prerogatives.
Now, don’t get me wrong here. I’m not espousing clutter, knick-knacks (shudder), chintz, or – lordy forbid – so-called Shabby Chic. It’s still important to stick to William Morris’s golden rule of having “nothing in your house that you do not KNOW to be useful or BELIEVE to be beautiful”.
Designing in a maximalist style is about abundance and exuberance. It involves embracing colour, pattern, texture, and an eclectic appeal. Maximalism means celebrating individuality – which is surely what a good designer does, no one-size-fits-all approach, EVER – so don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through in your design. I’m not bossy – well, not always – but happy to advise, so here are a few little pointers to help you achieve a maximalist look positively bursting with character:
Your Colour Palette: Maximalism often involves vibrant and bold colours. Start by selecting a colour palette that resonates with you. Jewel tones like emerald green, sapphire blue, and deep garnet work well – but what matters is that you love the colours. Don’t be afraid to mix and match contrasting colours, perhaps consulting a colour wheel to see what will work, what might – and what definitely won’t. Always try to keep a balance, though.
Play with Pattern: Incorporate a variety of patterns into your decor. Consider using floral, geometric, animal prints, and abstract patterns on upholstery, curtains, rugs, and wall coverings. Mixing patterns can be challenging, so look for a unifying colour or theme to tie them together. Sometimes, when combining pattern, it’s easier to work with one bold pattern – say, a statement floral or botanic – and pick up shades and colours in more subtle stripes or checks.
Furniture, Fixtures and Fittings: Opt for furniture that is comfortable but also visually striking – comfort is key in ANY scheme or style. Antique and vintage pieces can add character to the space. Look for ornate and intricate detailing, and maybe experiment with a pick-and-mix approach to different styles, such as Victorian, Art Deco, and mid-century modern. What matters – and yes, I’m repeating myself for emphasis – is that YOU love it.
If These Walls Could Talk: Here’s where ANYONE can embrace a maximalist vibe, regardless of house size or whether it’s owned or rented. Decorate your walls with a mix of artwork, mirrors, or decorative plates. Gallery walls with a variety of frames and artwork can be a focal point. The frames can be as ornate as the artworks within. Wallpaper with bold prints – perhaps just a feature wall or alcoves – can add drama to your space.
The Fabric of Society: Layering textiles and fabrics is key to a maximalist look. Incorporate plush velvet, silk, faux fur, and other luxurious fabrics into your upholstery, throw pillows, and curtains. Rugs can make a big, cosy difference. A rug (or three) can help zone a larger room, it can help pull together a scheme, and it can just make a space warm and cosy even without a roaring open fire.
Objets d’Art: Collect unique and eye-catching accessories such as sculptures, vases, candles, and figurines. Display your collections proudly, and don’t shy away from adding a touch of quirkiness. Again, a caveat. Make sure you love it – never display anything because it ‘goes’ or because you think you should…
Lighting: Elaborate and statement light fittings can make a big impact in any scheme, and you can REALLY go to town when you embrace maximalism. Consider chandeliers, pendant lights, wall lights and table lamps with intricate designs to add drama to your space.
As you style your home, every space should reflect your personality and interests. You can incorporate personal items, mementoes, travel souvenirs, and heirlooms into your decor to make it uniquely yours. it’s essential to maintain a sense of order within the chaos. Ensure that there is a method to your madness, so the space doesn’t feel overwhelming. Maximalist decor can – and should – evolve over time. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new pieces and rearrange your decor. Regularly edit and curate your space to keep it fresh.
Remember that while maximalism is about creating a visually stimulating and expressive environment, the key is to strike a balance between eclectic elements, maintaining a cohesive design, and ensuring the space remains both fully functional and exceptionally comfortable. Start with a clear vision, but don’t be afraid to let your creativity guide you as you design and decorate.