For some people, a minimalist decorating style or a modern farmhouse aesthetic perfectly suits their desires when it comes to interiors. For others, however, the idea of little-to-no trinkets or accessories and white or neutral walls everywhere simply doesn’t work, and that’s where maximalist decorating comes in. Maximalism lets you incorporate all different colors, patterns, textures, and forms. The popular and beloved bookshelf wealth interior design style is a form of maximalist interior design, as is the beautiful grandmillennial aesthetic.
There’s a fine line between functionality and beauty, though, and you need to make sure your space is livable. If the cluster of vases on your coffee table is stopping you from setting down your tea cup and snack plate, then it might be time to reevaluate just how maximalist you really want your space to be. Over-the-top decorating can require a little more editing and curating than it seems at first glance.
Still, you can’t really do maximalism wrong. As long as your space is filled with color, patterns, and accessories (and maybe borders on messy), you’ve got a maximalist home. However, no one wants a messy house, and even though the more-is-more aesthetic is lovingly called cluttercore or cozy clutter at times, it isn’t the goal of the style to look a mess. If you’re in search of fresh ways to get that chic and collected aesthetic, we’ve rounded up some maximalist decorating ideas that’ll help you bring your vision to life. Read on to find inspiration and advice to help you complete your home’s maximalist look.
Choose Chunky Frames
A gallery wall is to maximalism as shiplap is to farmhouse. In the iconic words of Miranda Priestley, “Groundbreaking,” we know. However, Truss Interiors did not come to play with this gallery wall composed of a healthy number of dark prints and chunky picture frames. A variety in the size of your artwork is important, and using frames that look like art themselves gives your gallery wall a rich and exciting look.
Stack Your Books
“This 1970s original living room was the perfect backdrop for our client’s forever-growing collection of books and collectibles,” designer Fran Keenan of Fran Keenan Design explains. “Her love of fabric, color, and ‘anything goes’ approach is evident here and makes a potentially intimidating room feel fun and cozy.” This bookshelf wealth–style living room, with art and accessories sprinkled in throughout the books, is a stunning example of maximalist decorating.
“The red lacquered bookshelves were the gutsiest part of the reno and gave the biggest payoff!,” adds Keenan. “The hot red made the room feel fresh and created a strong but warm backdrop for the room’s impressive scale and a much-needed contrast to the rustic stone fireplace.”
Layer Colors and Patterns
Keenan designed this primary bedroom for a client who’s a “trained artist and avid collector of textiles and artwork.” The Josef Frank fabric on the bed was the jumping-off point. “The more we worked with it, I knew we needed a ‘newspaper print’ that it could relate to in order to keep the pattern from feeling stark against a solid wall,” she says. “There were no rules except comfort in this house. The layers were endless and inspiring.”
Don’t Forget to Look Up
Your ceiling should feel the maximalist love as much as any other part of your home. Designer Molly Singer of Molly Singer Design decorated this entire kitchen in a stunning Schumacher botanical wallcovering, keeping the space bright without sacrificing color.
Tie Finishes Into the Wallpaper
The repeated jewel tone colors of the wallpaper in this powder room by Blessed Little Bungalow pair so well with the gold finishes on the vanity, mirror, and shelf above the toilet. Not only does the hardware complete the look of the space, but it looks wholly intentional in its design.
Pay Attention to Little Spaces
This ultra-chic and bold home bar area designed by MMB Studio is definitely the eye-catcher in this space, and for good reason. The rich red walls that tie into the artwork above the alcove and the stark black bar that perfectly contrasts the colors surrounding it make this little nook such an enviable addition.
Design With Your Collectibles in Mind
Keenan designed this “keeping space” off a kitchen specifically to house some of her client’s favorite objects. “The renovation allowed us to rip out the eight-inch ceilings and add a full-height wall for all of our client’s books and collectibles to land and be enjoyed on the daily!” If you have the budget for a designated keepsake room, you might as well make it as lavish and fun as possible.
Fill Up the Tabletops
Take a cue from this open-concept space by Rincon Road Design Studio, and cover tabletops with plants, vases, catchall dishes, and whatever other decorations are calling your name. Just make sure the table is still functional to hold your coffee cup if you so desire.
Turn Your Wall Into a Mural
Install a large-scale wallpaper or panels or hire a painter to create a stunning scene on your wall, then let it inspire the rest of your decorating choices. In this Blessed Little Bungalow project, bedding in lush colors drawn from the artwork make the room look that much more intentional and curated.
Bring Colors From the Floor to the Wall
If you love the color of a piece of furniture, hang an art piece in the same color palette on the wall. It’s a great way to create a cohesive look in a space that has a lot going on. This living room by Truss Interiors is a great example. The gorgeous green velvet couch and sculptural art above it match beautifully and make the space look pulled together.
Don’t Worry About Matching
Let colors you love guide you as you collect art and objects—it doesn’t matter so much if they go perfectly together. “This gallery wall was a great way for us to combine all of the art, regardless of whether it matched with anything—the variety is what makes the room feel inspiring,” says designer Keenan. “The pair of yellow linen sofas made all the maxed-out color in the art sing!”
Lay Down a Tile Rug
In this MMB Studio design, the tile “rug” under the dining table is basically an art piece you can walk on. Not only is it an extremely unique addition that sets off the area, but it’s also practical in that it won’t stain or wear like a typical rug. You could get a similar effect sans grout by painting the floor.
Incorporate Vintage Textiles
“This was an enclosed screen porch that needed to feel like a comfy, cozy family den. The antique rug layered over the soft grass rug and the ‘pattern on pattern’ vintage textiles brought the whimsy and charm needed to make this room take off,” says Keenan.
Layer Your Rugs
Even if you don’t want a fully maximalist space, you can work some maximalist features, like a few rugs layered on top of each another. Rincon Road Design Studio added a statement print into this very elegant space to help bring a little playfulness into the room.
Repeat Your Favorite Colors
From the walls to the furniture to the floors, the repeating colors in this dining and living room by Blessed Little Bungalow make for a much richer design scheme. Plus, the added texture from the rug gives the illusion of filling in even more space.
Add a three-dimensional element to a space by incorporating sculptures. MMB Studio included a sculpture as the table, on the wall, and on either side of the couch to make this nook much more interesting to look at from any angle.
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