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Maximalist Home Decor: Key Principles of Elegant Eclecticism

Maximalism

 

Maximalism’ was once synonymous with over-embellished Victorian homes lavishly stylized with colossal chandeliers, plush furniture, and heavy draperies – all fine-finished with labyrinth detailing and gilded trims. Fast forward two centuries, and we see its happy resurgence, making maximalist homes a convergence of art, history, and drama. However, the difference is that maximalism today is not confined to the classical; it may be entirely modern or a mix of classical and modern. 

Brimming with mixed patterns and saturated colors, excessive collections and unusual finds, detailed embellishments, and heavy layering, maximalism forges a bold visual treat with an ode to sterling craftsmanship. With its characteristic excesses, maximalism quenches the need for creative bandwidth and freshness. And, if you’re fascinated by this interior design style, it may be because of these signature traits:

 

A Bold Cohesive Color Palette  

 

Maximalist Color Palette

 

In a maximalist space, the ‘more is more’ concept takes on a kaleidoscopic definition by its bold foray into saturated colors and striking contrasts. The intensity, variety, and volume of colors that interact with each other within a single space are phenomenal. 

And yet, this color riot, as it may seem to an untrained eye, is in fact a fine-tuned color story that segues effortlessly, nonetheless, with purpose and strategy. 

The purpose is clearly to induce joy and to express one’s personality unabashedly through an artfully bold and colorfully pleasant statement of personal tastes. 

Walls are dripping with deep rich hues that not only make a vibrant statement by themselves but also offer a wholesome backdrop for the decor accessories on them to pop. And everything, from furniture to accessories, is deeply tinged with color and personality.

The strategy is to choose a few colors to dominate, in both intensity and volume and then build the color narrative with tints and shades of that elite group. Then repeat this color scheme rhythmically throughout the space. Other colors pop up generously throughout the room in small volumes and accent the dominating hues, complementing them beautifully. Together, they become a compelling visual treat as a whole.

So, although maximalist decor features an audacious festival of bold colors, cohesiveness, and intentionality form the golden thread that binds the whole program together. 

 

A Well-Considered Mix of Patterns

 

Pattern Mix in Maximalist Home

 

Patterns are a huge part of the maximalist manifesto; and their scaling, palette, and design speak of a keen eye for detail. Just like colors, patterns are generously strewn around to anchor attention with their dynamism. It’s usually a wide-ranging mix of motifs, both native and exotic, traditional and modern, simple and elaborate.

Several patterns may be at play in the same space – but none compete with each other nor look too busy together. This masterful feat is the result of a thoughtful mixing of simple and complex patterns as seen, for example, in the magnificent swirls of damasks being counterbalanced with the sharpness of stripes. 

Further, coherence is achieved by adhering to a controlled palette and scale. So, patterns that co-exist share a common base color or adhere to a color scheme with full commitment. As regards scale, the visual impact of large motifs is set off with a strategic grouping of medium and small ones.

The secret behind this crowding of assorted motifs still feeling like a visual treat – not clutter – is the substantial neutral space that often grounds them. Solids interspersed between patterns allow for the eye to rest before it falls on another pattern. So, there is a pattern-fest, but the fine line between liberality and judiciousness is discerned tastefully.

 

Eclecticism at its Best 

 

Eclectic Maximalism

 

Maximalism draws on an eclectic understanding of beauty and highlights it with style and drama. It pays homage to history but also celebrates the present. It’s a meaningful melange of the old and the new, the traditional and the modern, the local and the global. Therefore, it offers immense scope for personalizing the space to its minutest details accommodating even the most polarized choices with cohesiveness and elegance. 

Maximalism hallows your geographical and cultural roots but also solemnly honors your contemporary eclectic finds. The idea is to create beauty by tapping into the visual power, historical value, and aesthetic richness of many decor styles, from cultures and traditions across the world.

Where most design styles will only be able to feature art, architecture, and decor of a particular period or origin, maximalism lets you lay down your varied interests on one platter. The focus is not on following a design trend or committing to a particular design style but on appeasing your personal tastes accrued over time with gleanings from several decor styles, eras, and geographies. The maximalist home is literally a three-dimensional statement of your curated design style.

 

The Art of Layering and Grouping

 

Maximalist Decor 101

 

There is indeed much going on in a maximalist setting, yet everything seems well put together. How? Maximalism discerns the fine line between clutter and curating and brings about order in abundance, and coherence in variety with the help of two strategies: Layering and Grouping.

Layering: Layered compositions bring multiple shapes, colors, and patterns to play within a given space – all playing off of each other and making a visually compelling whole. ‘Layering’, as the word rightly denotes, is arranging layer upon layer, creating multi-dimensionality, depth, and volume. 

Every surface is layered with various colors, patterns, and textures. For example, window coverings may be composed of inset roman shades and outside-mounted curtains topped by valances. With a coordinated color palette, all the elements look perfectly put together – a wholesome visual treat.

Our stylists recommend layering up on other elements too – sofa throws, bed linens, lighting for instance – to bring more warmth, depth, and insulation to the space. Read our blog for more ideas and tips on how to enhance depth and texture in your homes with layering.

Grouping: Abundance and variety coming together is an assured recipe for a hot mess, if not for strategic grouping. Collectibles are often displayed in groups formed on the basis of commonality. To avoid seeming like a hoard for its own sake, groups of odd numbers are formed with varying heights, widths, and volumes to make it look like an eclectic treasure curated organically and evolved over time. 

A figurine collector, for instance, may lay out his treasures in groups of marble and bronze, each displaying varied dimensions – a mix of robust and lean, tall and short, busts and torsos.  

Visual pleasance and appreciation of the unique character of each item are given weightage over geometrical symmetry to foster perfection as a whole from the seeming imperfection of the individual.

 

READ MORE: LAYERING ROMAN SHADES WITH CURTAINS

 

Art that Tells Your Story

 

Art Display

 

Maximalism’s key intent behind the intense display of art, color, and curated collections is not about making a style statement, but about expressing yourself, your passion, lifestyle, culture, beliefs, core values, and aspirations. The space you live in becomes an extension of you, and not a presentation of big-box store finds. Maximalism, therefore, puts ‘you’ at the center, not the designer or the design style. 

The decor highlights your history with heirloom pieces, nostalgic mementos of estranged homelands, precious memorabilia of loved ones collected from travels, and hobby-based collections. Your personal works of art displayed as a vignette of your life and personality often become ice-breakers and conversation-starters with visitors. 

And in doing so, maximalism is bursting with artfulness in every jot and title. It does not content in making a focal point of a large art piece but goes all out with a ceiling-to-floor gallery wall. Over and above formal living rooms, dining rooms, transitional spaces like hallways and stairways also feature walls covered with art, photographs, and memorabilia.

Collectibles are laid out at various spots like fireplace mantles, side tables, and coffee tables, where their color, texture, and artful shapes come under the spotlight. A chinoiserie connoisseur may exhibit antique ginger jars, a shell hobbyist may lay out precious seashore finds and an artist might line up one’s own favored handiworks.

Whichever direction you turn to, there is something that piques your heart, brings nostalgia, and sparks joy. Even functional accessories have a creative twist to them and often double up as decorative accessories. The fringe trims on furniture slipcovers, hand-carved finials of drapery poles, and the lace puddle-drop of table runners are testimonial samples of this incredible amalgam of function and style.

Renowned designer Mario Buatta’s profound words, “A house should grow in the same way that an artist’s painting grows; a few dabs today, a few more tomorrow, and the rest when the Spirit moves you” ring true. A maximalist home seems like a frozen moment in the middle of an evolution – it is never completely done as it evolves with the owner.

 

Bold, Eccentric, Dramatic

 

Bold Maximalism

 

Maximalism does not only bring variety into the picture but also daring design choices that command attention. The idea is to frame a focal point even as there are plenty of visually gripping items in the room. So, you go bold on scale, color, or shape.

A grand crystal chandelier, a hot pink wallpaper, a multi-colored deep-pile rug, or all of the above may be rolled into one grand living room. There’s scope to go over the top, but without losing commitment to cohesiveness and purposefulness. 

Whether it’s a quirky contour, a dazzling hue, or a busy pattern, if that’s what you want to decorate your space with, maximalism has open doors. It’s all about channeling your identity and passion and pleasing none other than yourself.

 

Get the Ball Rolling

 

Maximalism in Bathrooms

 

Brimming with glitz, extravagance, and tons of flavor, maximalism is a celebration of individual aesthetics, personality, and heritage in home decor. 

Collectors, globe-trotters, and color enthusiasts are instinctively wooed by maximalism’s natural scope for abundance and variety. However, it is also a style that anyone can incorporate into their home with careful consideration and self-exploration. Maximalism is timeless and will keep reinventing itself by drawing upon the richness of varied styles, cultures, and histories for ages to come.

 

READ MORE: MID-CENTURY MODERN STYLE: HISTORY, PHILOSOPHY & ESSENTIAL TRAITS

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