For those of you who admire the maximalist aesthetic but have a fear of creating a hot mess when you try it in your own space, read on. We’ve compiled a beginner’s guide to maximalism to help you test the water without drowning. True maximalism is overdone but elegant. It is a selection of traditional elements, modernized through repetition and fresh color application.
Newbies can dip their toes into maximalism by trying it in one space or on one wall (think a gallery wall, or deck out a bookcase in the maximalist style) or dive in the deep end by using our six steps to maximalism below.
Paint or Wallpaper
Pick a power color, we suggest black, emerald green, or fuschia pink. Avoid the accent wall, go balls-out and paint the whole room with a deeply saturated color! If wallpaper is more your speed, find a bold large-scale floral print wallpaper and cover the walls floor to ceiling. Remember more is more, these walls will be the foundation of your maximalist canvas.
Go to your local thrift or vintage stores and estate sales and hunt for statement furniture pieces. We love an overstuffed velvet sofa, unique architectural chairs (like the classic Louis Ghost chair), a multi-patterned armchair, and mirrored coffee table. The more eclectic and variety of materials the better.
pillows and throws everywhere! Try a mix of patterns with hues in the same color. This creates a cohesive look while still playing with pattern. Don’t shy away from pattern mixing on the floor either. Try a large patterned rug or even two rugs layered on top of each other.
With furniture, pillows, rugs and paint in place, start layering on the accessories. Maximalists are total exhibitionists. While the minimalists are into hiding everything, maximalists put everything on display! Kitsch is King. Raid grandma’s attic and dig out the tchotchkes. Display these collections on bookshelves, coffee tables, credenzas — every surface should be covered in collections and vignettes. Art is essential in a maximalist space, and a gallery wall is the perfect maximalist way to display it. Collect all your artwork and hang it together on one wall. The key to a successful gallery wall is consistent spacing between frames. The ideal spacing varies based on the size of a wall, with larger walls allowing for more room between frames and smaller walls requiring tighter clusters.
Reference the literary history of maximalism by bringing books into your space. Stuff a bookcase to the gills, overflow more in stacks onto your coffee table, and pile extra books in a basket on the floor.
Top off your maximalist space by adding a variety of greenery. Add a trailing vine plant to the bookcase, a few ferns or cacti on tables and large floor plants like the fiddle leaf fig, bird of paradise, or monstera tucked in the corners.
Remember the key to maximalism is being bold without being boorish; don’t be afraid to take some risks. You’ll know if you’ve gone too far if you and your friends can’t stand sitting in the room.