Maximalism - a "How to" Guide

Updated: Dec 1, 2020

I recently put out a post on social media asking what people would be interested to see me write about, and several of the replies essentially relate to maximalism . Maximalism is a design style that is rich in colour, texture and pattern featuring an eclectic mix of accessories. I cannot say that this surprises me, it is a sentiment I see echoed amongst many of my clients, especially those with families. They are bored to the back teeth with seeing blanket white/grey, impractical and impersonal interiors with not so much as a holiday fridge magnet to suggest the space is lived in. Neither, however, do they want to live in a cluttered home with no sense of style or direction. So how exactly do you master maximalism to turn your home into an eclectic wonderland that is aesthetically pleasing, and completely yours?




STEP 1 - Take everything out


Yes, this is that part EVERYONE finds painful and often the reason people have to resort to hiring an interior designer in the first place. Whether you do this physically or in your imagination, you have to start with an empty space. If you are just wanting to decorate around the eclectic collection you already have in the room, if it was not working already it is not going to work now. This does not mean you have to chuck it all away and start again, just that if and when you reintroduce items into the space you will be doing so mindfully in a way that will enhance the whole design, so you will appreciate each aspect so much more.


STEP 2 - Choose your starting point and colour palette


Do not rush this step. This is probably the most important part of creating a maximalist space that will wow in a good way!


The reason I have paired choosing your starting point and colour palette together is because many maximalist spaces involve at least one bold, oversized or busy pattern. Whether that features on the walls, carpet, curtains, cushions, bedding or ceiling, it is likely to contain all the major elements you need to inform your colour palette for the room.


The example I have used here features a fabric from one of my favourite maximalist fabric and wallpaper designers Emma J Shipley. When you have found a starting point that you love, you are likely to find that the designer has essentially done all of the work for you. They have used a colour palette that perfectly balances with enough warmth and depth, accents and complements.


There are a lot of colours here, but to simplify into a standard 60, 30, 10 format, the Teal is your 60%