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Maximalism: Opulence and interior design (ideas + products)


Maximalist interior design maximalism
Interior design by Ken Fulk
Maximalism: Opulence and interior design (ideas + products)
January 10, 2024

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In the ever-evolving world of interior design, one aesthetic trend has emerged as a bold rebellion against the sleek and minimalistic approach that has dominated the scene for years. Enter maximalism—an extravagant and lavish design philosophy that celebrates abundance, embraces vibrant colors, and thrives on the eclectic arrangement of diverse elements. In this exploration, we delve into the captivating realm of maximalism, tracing its roots, understanding its essence, and discovering the fusion of opulence and personality it brings to interior spaces.

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What is maximalism?

Maximalism is more than just a design choice; it's a statement of artistic expression. Unlike its minimalist counterpart, which focuses on simplicity and bare essentials, maximalism revels in excess. It's a symphony of textures, colors, patterns, and objects that harmoniously come together to create a visual and emotional spectacle within the confines of a room. Perfection per se is not the objective of this decor style; it's all about emphasising the common thread of opulence... "More is more".

maximalism interior design
Ken Fulk design via The Economist

The Artistic Roots of Maximalism

The origins of maximalism can be traced back to the early 20th century when avant-garde artists began to embrace the idea of combining different styles, textures, and mediums in their works. This juxtaposition of elements gave birth to the maximalist ethos, which was later embraced by interior designers seeking to break free from the constraints of conventional aesthetics.

maximalist interior design
Design by Martin Brudnizki via Hommes Studio

Who are the best known maximalist designers?

More is more? Well, these designers agree! Maximalism is embraced by many designers worldwide, including the wonderful Ken Fulk, Martin Brudnizki, Kelly Wearstler, Jonathan Adler, Martyn Lawrence Bullard, Miles Redd, India Mahdavi, Dorothy Draper, Tony Duquette and Abigail Ahern.

maximalist interior design
Interior design by Kelly Wearstler via Creativemary

The evolution from minimalism to maximalism

The shift from minimalism to maximalism is a conscious rebellion against the stark, sterile environments that characterized minimalist spaces. Maximalism thrives on the unexpected, seamlessly blending seemingly disparate elements to create a sensory overload that engages all the senses. This departure from restraint invites a sense of drama, sparking conversation and exploration within the living space.

The maximalist look is more than a apartment in New York decked with clutter and different patterns overshadowing one another – it is a deliberate exercise in combining eclectic artwork, upholstery, rugs and accessories; always letting each other breathe and shine as independent pieces.

maximalism interior design
Design by Jonathan Adler via UDesign

How does maximalism intersect with eclectic design?

Maximalism and eclectic design share a kinship in their appreciation for variety and diversity. Both styles invite the incorporation of pieces from different cultures, eras, and styles, resulting in a harmonious chaos that speaks to individuality and personal narrative. Whether it's combining rich textures straight out of the Victorian era, or exalting beautiful things and personal mementos, both styles are all about that "mix and match" attitude to design.

maximalist interior design
Design by Martyn Lawrence Bullard via Architectural Digest

The key elements in maximalist interior design

Bold colour palettes

Maximalism thrives on a vibrant and rich color palette that awakens the senses. In comparison with other styles that thrive on calm and stillness (and that ubiquitous grey paint!), maximalism embraces saturated colours as a great way to transmit personality, joy and drama. Think deep jewel tones, gilded accents, and luxurious hues create an atmosphere of grandeur and extravagance – you've hit the jackpot.

maximalism interior design
Design by Miles Redd via Architectural Digest

Patterned and textured wallpaper

Walls become canvases in maximalist design, adorned with intricate wallpapers that tell stories of their own. Patterns, textures, and motifs collide to create a visual spectacle that envelops the room. We recommend investing in quality wallpaper, or even painting walls with murals. Wherever your design brain leads you, embrace the maximalist decor in every aspect of the design.

maximalism interior design
Design by India Mahdavi via Tigmi Trading

It's curtain and cushion heaven

Textiles take center stage, with lush curtains and plump cushions adding layers of comfort and opulence. Mixing textures and patterns in textiles enhances the richness of the space, and can give it that maximalist heightened look.

maximalist interior design
Cushions via John Lewis

Unique artifacts, accessories, decor and travel objets

A maximalist space becomes a gallery of personal experiences, with travel souvenirs and unique artifacts telling tales of adventures and cultural encounters. Work with your clients to create a space that reflects their experiences and taste, including little details from their life.

maximalist interior design
Design by Kelly Wearstler via Architectural Digest

The living room as a nexus

The living room becomes a nexus of maximalist expression, where various design elements converge to create a harmonious cacophony of beauty and artistry. The same way the living room invites people to connect, the style of this room is a fantastic opportunity to invite conversation.

maximalism interior design
Design by Ken Fulk via Rug Society

Art deco or rococo? The objective is opulence

When thinking of design references, we suggest looking back at the past for inspiration. Influenced by various design eras, maximalism borrows from styles like Art Deco and Rococo, resulting in a design language that oozes elegance and luxury. It is important to never forget the incredible influences countries like Cambodia, China and India have played into this style.

Styling by Mieke ten Have via Architectural Digest

No need to discard technology

Maximalism can seamlessly incorporate modern technology into its opulent setting. High-tech gadgets become part of the décor rather than disruptions, and TVs can be concealed with frames to create a cohesive ambiance.

What brands can I use for a maximalist interior design?

Amp up the details with luxury hardware by Croft

Croft offers an exquisite range of hardware that adds the perfect finishing touch to maximalist spaces. Intricately designed handles, knobs, and fixtures elevate the overall aesthetic. If you're a designer, join Portaire and source their range effortlessly.

maximalism interior design

Integrate colour with Décora Cement

Décora Cement provides a stunning range of colored cement that can be used for statement walls, countertops, and floors. Its versatility allows for bold experimentation with color.  You can source their range at Portaire.

maximalism interior design

Add some metallic touches with Dornbracht

Dornbracht's luxurious faucets and fittings bring a touch of metallic elegance to bathrooms and kitchens, merging functionality with aesthetics. You can find a curated selection of their products on Portairejoin now and start for free.

maximalism interior design

Bring the (paint) drama with Pickleson Paint Co

Pickleson Paint Co offers a selection of dramatic and bold paint colors that can transform walls into works of art, creating a vibrant backdrop for maximalist interiors. Check out Portaire and discover their range.

maximalist interior design

Bring out your personality with custom kitchens by The Main Company

The Main Company specializes in crafting custom kitchens that reflect individual style. From rich wood finishes to intricate detailing, their kitchens become the heart of maximalist homes. Explore their bespoke options and fantastic flooring on Portaire.

maximalist interior design

Rugs out with Tim Page Carpets

Utilising a variety of fibres, textures, and characteristics to improve any room, Tim Page Carpets' rugs and carpets convey an elegant playfulness to residential and commercial spaces. If you can't find the exact product you need in their expansive range, don't worry; this supplier offers bespoke solutions to create one-of-a-kind pieces. Discover their range on Portaire.

maximalist interior design

How do you balance maximalist design with other styles?

Incorporating minimalist elements in a maximalist room

To avoid overwhelming the senses, consider introducing minimalist elements like clean lines, uncluttered spaces, and neutral colors to create balance within the maximalist setting.

maximalism interior design
Design by India Mahdavi via Affluency

Creating maximalist nooks

Instead of overwhelming an entire room, designate specific areas as maximalist nooks. This approach allows for a controlled burst of opulence within a larger design scheme.

maximalism interior design
Maximalist home in London via the Nordroom

Let your weirdness reign free

Maximalism celebrates individuality and quirks. Embrace unique pieces that might not fit traditional design norms but resonate with your personality and preferences.

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