How To Embrace Maximalism In Your Home, According To Interior Tastemakers

Lucy Williams’ book-lined living room was designed for comfort: “By having lots of layers of color and pattern, the humdrum of daily life feels easier – and instantly cozier,” she says

When we think of maximalist style, the adage ‘more is more’ often springs to mind – a cacophony of prints and a kaleidoscope of colors. But how do you bring the same energy and emotion of maximalism into a home? Here, four interior tastemakers known for their vivid and vivacious styles share their thoughts with KATIE BERRINGTON

“I think color and pattern are intrinsic to maximalism,” says Williams, who uses stripes and splashes of blue throughout her home for a layered yet cohesive look

Inject individuality

First and foremost, personality is essential. Maximalism, after all, is at its best when inspired by passion and emotion, requiring the style to be driven by character and individuality, and curated by a layering of loved belongings. “To me, maximalism is about collecting and layering things you love and getting joy from them every day – rather than curating a collection of loud, clashing colors and prints just for the sake of it,” says Lucy Williams, a brand consultant and creative director whose London home renovation has enraptured her Instagram followers. “I see [maximalism] as a way of relishing the imperfect and seeing a space as a mishmash of things that make you smile. Little trinkets on bookshelves, mismatched textiles, vintage furniture and pieces found on travels all work together to create spaces that are brimming with stories. I think color and pattern are intrinsic to maximalism, but I also think that personality and individualism are at its core.”

Draping, curtains and a patterned headboard on Luke Edward Hall’s four-poster bed create a sumptuous boudoir look
Patterned plates, a printed tablecloth and colorful glassware are easy starting points to bring more character into your home, as in Edward Hall’s dining room

“I think maximalism is a rather overused word,” says designer Luke Edward Hall. “For me, it simply means living with layers of beautiful things that bring about happiness. In my world, these things are often eclectic and full of color and pattern, but no other ‘maximalist’ interior will look like mine. After all, our interiors are deeply personal and should reflect our interests and passions. Personally, I find that living with layers – of objects, art and books – brings about a sense of calm and satisfaction. I like to be surrounded by my treasures. I don’t mean expensive things necessarily, but beloved bits and pieces that I return to again and again. They’re almost like old friends.”

Maximalism can often go hand in hand with a sense of fun and fantasy, says designer Michelle Nussbaumer. “Maximalism is a merging of the precious and the playful, with a little bit of whimsy and fantasy… It can be old-world or contemporary, but it’s all about personal style.”

Wall art and one-of-a-kind objects can also be wonderful ways of bringing a maximalist feel to a room… I think it’s important to remember that a maximalist space doesn’t usually happen overnight – it evolves, just as our life does
Gloria González
Don’t be afraid to mix pattern, finishes, scale and color – if you love the item, let it add to the story of your home

Aim for color and complexity

“If you want to introduce maximalism into your home, it is imperative for a fusion of styles to take place. I relish mixing vintage with modern pieces to create an atmosphere with a complex personality,” continues Nussbaumer. “This can be achieved by using bright colors and patterns – color can be a refuge for the soul, while also enlivening a space.”

Don’t be afraid to experiment

“Trust your instincts – if an object speaks to you and you love it, try it out at home,” says Edward Hall. “It’s easy to experiment in ways that don’t commit you to a full-on look. Try bringing more color and pattern into the home with small objects, such as cushions and lampshades – or choose a bold, patterned wallpaper for a small space, such as a smaller washroom.”

Start small

The phrase ‘more is more’ doesn’t have to mean that bigger is better. Making your introduction to maximalism via compact spaces and soft accessories can work wonders. “Soft furnishings are always a good starting point: cushions, rugs or throws are great to achieve that layered look. I recommend picking a color palette and working around it, so that there’s still a sense of continuity throughout the space,” says interiors consultant Gloria González. “Wall art and one-of-a-kind objects can also be wonderful ways of bringing a maximalist feel to a room. This can be a bold print, a framed textile or a collection of popular ceramics. I think it’s important to remember that a maximalist space doesn’t usually happen overnight – it evolves, just as our life does.

“You can also start with your dining table. Whether this is for your next dinner party or just a casual table for two, you can infuse it with a dose of maximalism and fantasy – a bold tablecloth, hand-painted plates or whimsical accessories will do the trick.”

Drop the rule book

“A maximalist space has a cocooning feel, and certain colors or prints can work as mood enhancers,” continues González. “There’s also a sense of discovery about them that makes you want to explore further. Unlike minimalism, which often follows a pattern on style, pieces of furniture or colors, maximalism has no rules, allowing you to be as creative as you wish.”

Go extra

“All-over wallpaper – ceiling included – has instant maximalist appeal,” suggests Williams. “I also love a painted, wide-striped ceiling for an instant pop of character. I think maximalism works especially well (and is easy to achieve) in a smaller, darker room, rather than somewhere big and bright. Spaces such as pantries, guest bedrooms, small bathrooms, cloakrooms and dressing rooms all lend themselves well to maximalism and benefit from the layered look.”

Don’t ignore your feelings

“I think it’s really important to think about how you want to feel in a space, and what that looks like to you, because things like ‘cozy’, ‘energized’ and ‘relaxed’ look different to all of us,” says Williams. “I love the personality of a maximalist space and the stories behind the things filling it. Framing keepsakes, such as menus and invitations, and picking up pieces you love in markets or from your holiday, is an easy way to start adding really unique layers to your home.

“Ultimately, I find it easier to live in a maximalist home, because not everything has to be ‘in its place’ all the time. When I was designing our blue sitting-room-cum-TV-snug, I wanted it to be really cozy – the kind of room you can spill out in and have cups of tea, newspapers and board games lying around on a Sunday without everything looking and feeling like a mess. By having lots of layers of color and pattern, the humdrum of daily life feels easier – and instantly cozier.”

Not sure where to begin? A cloakroom or much-loved corner are good places to layer objects you love in order to achieve a maximalist feel