Maximalist Design Ideas
Lately, minimalism has been cast as the ultimate aspirational style. And it’s no wonder: minimalist design looks beautiful in photographs and conveys a sense of order and simplicity. But, as we have written, a minimalist approach to interior design places a lot of visual and emotional weight on each item.
If you’re looking for another design approach that is intentional while also allowing you to go a little more wild, maximalist design may be for you. With minimalism’s cleanliness and order, there’s not much allowance for the messiness of life. Maximalism incorporates a lived-in feel that’s easier to—well—live in.
What is Maximalism?
Maximalism is, in essence, a “more is more” approach to interior design. Think gallery walls, floor plants, rugs on rugs, and bright colors. Where minimalism is subtractive, maximalism is additive.
Maximalism also invites you to make unexpected connections between aesthetics. A spare, minimalist art print will be right at home alongside an elaborate, ornate cuckoo clock. Quiet and loud, simple and busy, meaningful and meaningless, they all have a place in maximalism. Yes, there is space for your emotionally significant items, they will simply coexist alongside fun ephemera.
This all might seem very “anything goes.” And to an extent, it is. But what makes maximalism a design aesthetic instead of a mishmash is intentionality. By intentionally making connections, considering the juxtaposition of each piece with the pieces around it, you can make a style that feels both whimsical and intentional.
Here are four tips for maximizing your maximalist interior design inspiration.
Maximalism doesn’t only live on the walls. Bring the maximalist feel to your floors with multiple rugs layered over each other.
Yep. We’re making it about rugs.
Rug layering is not as easy as it might seem. “Put one rug on top of another rug” is only the start. Because you will still want the space to be livable, you’ll need to make sure you don’t create a tripping hazard. It is also important to make sure the rugs are placed in such a way that your furniture doesn’t sit on them unevenly–wobbly furniture can be bad for the sitter and bad for the furniture.
Check out our guide for how to layer rugs for tips on the best rugs to use as a base, which rugs to put on top, styling tips and other considerations.
In contrast with minimalism, where everything goes together, with maximalism, nothing goes together. And when nothing goes together, everything goes together.
Bright colors, which are in this year, are often considered good for an accent but not much else. The idea is that if you commit to a bright color with a piece of furniture or on an accent wall, you are limiting your design options in that room. For example, if you paint a wall maroon, a cherry red vinyl couch would not traditionally be considered a good match. But once you start to bring in the rainbow that is maximalism, the clashing colors become a feature, not a bug, because they do not stand alone–and, ideally, aren’t the only two clashing colors in the room.
Go big on texture
Prints, paintings, framed record sleeves, and yes, even rugs are all quite flat. Maximalism is all about breaking up patterns while simultaneously embracing them. Adding texture to your walls and your floors creates the unexpected connection between the second and third dimensions–not at all a common thing in interior design.
A great place to start adding texture is with plants. Floor plants add texture while making a connection between the floor and walls. Wall planters are another fun and unexpected way to bring some green into the room.
Three dimensional wall art is another easy way to break up the flatness of a wall. A quick online search for hanging wall sculptures is a great place to look for inspiration.
Keep adding until it feels right to you
The number one rule of all interior design approaches is to make sure you are happy with the results. After all, you’re the one who has to look at it every day. Making sure the style reflects who you are with maximalism can be a long, ongoing process. And that’s part of the fun! But just because it’s a long process doesn’t mean it has to be an endless process. When you feel maxed out, that’s a good place to stop. Remember to take time to soak in the style and appreciate the choices you’ve made–until it’s time to change it up again.
Whether you’re ready to jump into maximalism or you’re content to keep things simpler, every space calls for a different rug–or collection of rugs. You can start by checking out our huge selection of custom rugs today.