More Is More: The Art of Maximalism

By Kealia Reynolds

Kudos to those who have no trouble curating the perfect minimalist home, because no matter how hard I try to follow the less-is-more approach, I always end up wanting to add more to make the room feel a little less, well, bare. If you’re a part of the clutter-equals-comfort crowd and want a break from Marie Kondo, here’s a decorating style that will align with your preferences.

Maximalism emphasizes excess and redundancy (the more repetition in a room, the more it’ll stand out) and is characterized by decoration, sensuality, luxury, and fantasy. Cue minimalists everywhere cringing at the thought.

Instead of incorporating clean lines and subdued colors, maximalism uses eccentric colors and rich fabrics, textures, and patterns to achieve a sense of organized chaos. Whereas minimalism produces a clean, uncluttered living area, maximalism brings out the homeowner’s style, character, and emotion, allowing for a beautiful, visual cacophony.

One of the many reasons why maximalism is loved by many is that it doesn’t have a governing set of rules that dictate what’s perfect and what’s not. Want to pair that shabby chic table with an ancient, ornamental lamp? No problem. Considering throwing that jute rug on the floor and placing a mid-century modern table on top? That’s a go. Similar to eclectic design, which mixes styles and colors in a multi-layered but refreshing and cohesive manner, maximalist style encourages people to express themselves in ways that minimalism can’t.

But maximalism isn’t an art of messiness and disorganization. It promotes the idea that all elements in a room will ebb and flow, creating balance and cohesion. A product that is visually enticing and emotionally evocative.

Applying maximalism to your home

You don’t have to create a room all at once when approaching maximalism and can continue to add or subtract from the space over time (this is one of my favorite facets of maximalism, considering I like to be intentional and take my time when decorating my home). Here are some tips to help you achieve a maximalist look.

Start with a base and go from there

Whether you choose an exciting wallpaper (we recommend Calico Wallpaper—they have luxurious prints that are sure to stop you in your tracks), bold wall color (opt for darker colors instead of white or neutral tones), or interesting tile pattern, it’s easier to add more to a room once the base is established.

Embrace color

Maximalist design encourages bold colors and different color combinations. Instead of incorporating cool, neutral hues in your home, add warm, vibrant colors like orange, red, and yellow to make individual rooms stand out.

Play with texture

Textures can be just as bold as color when it comes to maximalist design. Though patterns and textures may clash, aim for a consistent color scheme to ensure balance and an integrated design.

Maximalism is not clutter

Be intentional with the furniture and art you put in a room and make sure you can easily direct your eyes from one piece to another. Strike a balance by using complementing colors.

Prioritize art

Allow wall art to dictate your space and be the center of attention. And don’t be shy with your artwork—maximalist decorating calls for big and beautiful. This is especially helpful for renters who can’t change their wall color or homeowners with smaller houses.

Focus on the details

With a minimalist design scheme, almost everything is tucked inside cabinets and stored away to create a calm and serene environment. Whether you’re displaying an assortment of books or shelves filled with ceramic jars, your collections deserve to be conversation starters and should be put on display for all to see.

Maximalism is all about finding a way to translate your personality into the space. Don’t take decorating too seriously—enjoy the journey of finding a method to the madness.

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