Design Trends to Try: Maximalism

August 3, 2021
Photo credit: dazeyden

Maximalist styles have garnered attention since the Victorian era. This flamboyant aesthetic mixes different shapes and patterns, complex furnishings, dynamic wallpapers, and ornate objects. In the 20th century, interior decorator Mario Buatta enhanced and popularized the style. Nicknamed the “King of Clutter”, he was known to incorporate velvets, tassels, and other traditional elements into his work.  

In the early 1980s, maximalists reimagined which shapes, sizes, and textures could be incorporated in a room, creating more daring and unconventional designs. The striking popularity of minimalist home decor has overshadowed maximalism throughout the past decade. Now, however, maximalism’s appeal is growing as consumers’ mindsets shift from “less is more” to “more is more”. 

Bold, busy, big, and bright, the eclectic design style requires different colors, patterns, finishes, and trimmings to be meticulously yet messily combined. A careful mixture of unique pieces will result in a vibrant yet charming room filled with a variety of colors, textures, and styles. Key elements of maximalist design include statement pieces, saturated colors, and unique shapes. Designers should also consider layering to unite contrasting components, repeating patterns, featuring multiples of items, or blending different styles like classic, bohemian, or modern.

Photo credit: dazeyden

The maximalist aesthetic allows homeowners to incorporate their own method, personality, and sentiment into rooms in a way that minimalism does not. As people’s complex tastes evolve, home decor can and should embody that change and intricacy. The cherished items which are attached to meaningful memories used in this design style make distinguish it from more simple aesthetics. By incorporating the old and the new, the busy and the simple, and the bright and the gloomy, maximalism creates stories on its own. 

Engel & Völkers Americas has compiled five tips to assist anyone looking to max out their style. 

Start with the Basics

Starting with decorative throw cushions, interesting books, and a variety of plants build a strong foundation for the rest of a design. These elements don’t have to mesh perfectly on paper; in fact, they shouldn’t. Successfully layered colors, patterns, and textures blend to create a cohesive maximalist look. Collecting and adding a few pieces at a time rather than purchasing too many objects all at once helps to ensure that all decor has purpose and sentiment. If collecting has already been a passion, consider a shelving unit to display the most unique pieces.

Use Statement Pieces

Gathering funky statement pieces is a great way to begin when designing a maximalist space, as it brings stand-out features into the home. Items such as furniture upholstered with vibrant patterns, oversized artwork, and intricate light fixtures draw eyes and work to set the tone for a room. Statement pieces may serve as a guide for the rest of a collection. Whether it’s a family heirloom or a custom-designed piece, each piece can help inspire the overall room aesthetic. Learn more about transforming and elevating a space with statement pieces from Engel & Völkers New York City real estate advisor, Christian Dunbar, who shared his best tips in a recent blog.

Bring Your Style to Your Walls

Photo credit: dazeyden

Walls play an important role in creating ambiance. Make use of fantastical wallpapers, dramatic tapestries, plaster walls, and perhaps even pattered rugs to add more dimension and warmth. Don’t forget that wallpaper can be incorporated on ceilings, a fifth wall of sorts, to create a new sense of space.

Mix it Up in the Kitchen

Photo credit: dazeyden

In a kitchen, consider open shelving with mismatching plates, cups, and other houseware items, or even an open pantry. Painted cabinetry with a contrasting backsplash is a simple way to create a more fun yet balanced look. If there is an island, flashy stools can make a statement around it. Homeowners may even consider finding an ornate oven or stove to combine with modern features, creating different temporal aspects in the space.

Even in maximalism, designs can be overdone, leading to disordered, disconnected, and overwhelming rooms. Make sure not to pick items just to fill up space; instead, make intentional choices. Selecting items that tell stories, bring joy, and are loved is the most crucial aspect of this style. Listen to intuition, reach for the unexpected, and max out every design.

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