3 Maximalist Design Questions, Answered
Maximalism has one rule, more is more. Bold, eclectic, and energetic, maximalist design stimulates your senses with an overload of color, pattern, textures, layers, and accents. Tailor-made for comfort, self-expression, and lighting up social media, maximalism is impossible to miss in today's design world.
We're walking you through the basics with the help of maximalist maven Dani Dazey.
What is a Maximalist Aesthetic?
“Maximalism is the embracing of daring design. Mixing bright colors, bold prints, and statement pieces. It’s the ultimate form of art and self-expression in the home!”
Key Elements of Maximalist Design:
Vibrant color palettes, glossy finishes, gold, and other metallics
Animal prints and high-contrast patterns
Layers of fabric, patterns, and even design styles
Mixed materials including wallpaper, tile, carpet, and paint
Filled bookcases and sprawling gallery walls
The most important thing to feature in a maximalist design is yourself. Maximalism gives you every tool in the box to express your personality, so don’t let any go to waste.
“Mix it up!" Dazey says. “Don’t be afraid to use multiple prints or colors in a room. It’s all about play and figuring out how to make it all work and flow in a single space.”
Where Did Maximalism Come From?
In fashion, maximalism started trending in the 1950s following the second world war. After a decade defined by hardship and shifting orders, maximalism was a forward-thinking way of expressing oneself in a fun and playful way that echoed the post-war economic boom in the US.
In interior design, it wasn’t until the 1980s that maximalism caught on. In this case, it was the economic success and excess of that decade that created the appeal for over-the-top interiors. Memphis, a style created by the Memphis Group in Italy between 1980 and 1987, is an iconic example of this period’s maximalist tendencies.
The most recent wave of maximalist design tracks with economic conditions as well. Where the 2008 financial crisis ushered in a period of restraint and minimalism, the eventual recovery inspired a swift swing of the pendulum to resurrect the more is more mantra.
Culturally, the growth of social media also plays a part in maximalism’s proliferation. In an environment where we’re inundated with images, it’s often the boldest that capture our attention. The value of scroll-stopping appeal has translated to the real world where we’re drawn to spaces that are fresh, inventive, and exciting and bored of the easily forgotten same old, same old.
Last but not least, there is virtually nothing that COVID-19 hasn’t influenced in the past years. Maximalism is a sharp rebuke to the malaise of the pandemic with a vibrant attitude that says life is too short not to go all out.
“Your space can deeply affect your mood. With the news cycle being so heavy, there’s a lightness in fun design. Color and art are good for the soul, and that’s what maximalism is all about. Building a space and surrounding yourself with things that spark joy.”
How to Start a Maximalist Design
Maximalist design can seem like a major commitment. Compared to minimalism which can appear easy to achieve with one or two key pieces and an embrace of open space, maximalism may feel overwhelming.
Dazey recommends trusting your instincts and understanding that nothing is permanent.
“The trick with maximalism is not thinking about the next owner or tenant, and really decorating a space to suit yourself. There’s so much fear around decorating your house when there really doesn’t need to be. Walls can be painted back and you should just go for what you love.”
Start with your favorite color–especially a bold color! Find accessories and decor that speak to you–regardless of current decor trends or ideas of what they may be in the future. Design like a kid who was finally allowed to paint and decorate their bedrooms how they wanted–because that kid is you and you can do whatever you want!
“Sticking to a color scheme and tying in the same colors throughout a space is a great way to keep it feeling cohesive!” Dazey says.
A maximalist space can (and should) grow and evolve over time so don’t feel like you need to run out and buy a ton of stuff. A coat of paint, an exciting piece of furniture or lighting, a rug or pillows will set the tone for your maximalist style that can be built upon over time.
Ready to express yourself in your maximalist home? Start with free tile samples to find bold inspiration. Want some expert advice on where to work in handmade tile? Fill out this simple form to get free assistance from a dedicated consultant, including cost estimates and photo-realistic renderings.