Maximalist Home Decor Style Guide

Tara Dickinson
8 minute read

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You are probably familiar with the minimalism design concept, one of a Zen-like simplified space, with curated embellishments and clean lines all around. Well, think of the exact opposite and you be headed towards maximalism. This decor style is jumping back into the mainstream in response to a life lived in the homestead for the last two years. It’s an expressive, bold decor style in response to the routine of everyday life.

  • Maximalism takes your ordinary space and fills it with a deluge of personality.
  • Maximalist design is all about expressing your individuality and unique perspective.
  • Maximalist interiors provide an escape, an essence of fantasy in which to lose yourself.
  • It’s the desire of wanting to be surrounded by beautiful things, decorating solely for your own decor sense of joy.
  • Maximalists incorporate well-considered and bold color palettes, interesting prints, statement lighting, and curated accessories.
  • It’s about creating a bold and interesting mix for the eye to enjoy.

Maximalism Definition

“A person with maximalist beliefs or tendencies; someone who prefers redundancy or excess.”-Merriam Webster

And that is just one definition; there seem to be a few different but similar renditions depending on which dictionary you reference. In relation to home decor, maximalism is the art of more-is-more. “It’s about layering patterns, highly saturated colors, ample accessories and art, and a real sense of playfulness and bold gestures,” Keren Richter, interior designer tells Vogue.


The excess of maximalist style began as a reaction to the industrial age when production capabilities turned a corner into massive and less expensive output. Consumer culture became reality as the population had more disposable income in conjunction with an increase in home size. Shopping was now a sport for the simple function of filling homes with decor that had no role other than looking aesthetically pleasing. It was a way to prove that you were part of the upper-middle-class.

With the tech and huge market boom in the 1980s, the more-is-more mentality took hold again, with the work of Ettore Sottsass and the Memphis Group out of Milan, Italy at the forefront. “Memphis is a design movement that began in 1981. Designer Ettore Sottsass founded the Memphis Group with other designers and architects. They took their name from a Bob Dylan song titled Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again which was played on repeat during their first meeting. Like many creative movements, Memphis was a reaction against the status quo. The 1950s/60s mid-century modern and 1970s minimalism were about structure and straight lines. To counter that, Sottsass centered the group's thinking around radical, funny, and outrageous—essentially, disregarding what was considered in ‘good taste’ at that time,” as stated by My Modern Met.

After a housing market crisis and the recession in the first half of the 2000s, excessive purchasing died and the minimalist movement took hold. But as seen time and again, history repeats itself. And what was once popular is coming around again. The population that lived in the more stringent times of the past 30 years now wants to mix materials and express a more playful look in their home decor, going for lovely colors, and lots of graphic designs. The pandemic, unemployment, and lack of travel have also affected how people are living and longing for happier and more personalized spaces.

This new wave of maximalism has a more deliberate approach, where it is not just about acquiring stuff. It is much more centered on an expressive movement, where the home is a canvass for homeowners to express their personality, tastes, and perspective.

Maximalism & Minimalism Existing Together

Like anything in life, the sweet spot of perfection comes with a balance, a yin yang of ideal proportions. As you can probably imagine, there is a benefit when you mix the bold expressiveness of maximalism with the quietness of minimalistic decor. When merged properly, you create a cohesive and complete look.

  • This creation of balance keeps the look visually interesting.
  • The goal is to include quiet moments in the design; this allows the viewer to visually relax, and take a break before the next bit of stimulation catches their eye.
  • The maximal minimalist balance is achieved by pairing a minimalist body of a space with maximalist decor.
  • Meaning furniture is streamlined and then enlivened by telling your unique story with personalized accents (travels, religion, family, hobbies, crafts, arts).
  • Another example of combining both styles is using a bold color palette in a minimalist space.

How To Get The Maximalist Decor Look

While maximalism is not 100% clearly defined there are some common elements that can be followed. Maximalist design sores above simply filling a room with stuff. Here are some examples of what to look for.

  • Multiple patterns in one area connected by a common color palette.
  • Unique architectural shapes, especially when it comes to furniture forms (stools, sofas, mirrors, etc.).
  • Design accents that are visually stimulating, are purposely displayed, and add interest to the overall design theme.
  • Uniting mixed color schemes and patterns by layering.
  • The use of saturated colors that energizes a room.
  • High impact pieces like bold art, oversized fixtures, or one excessively large furniture item.

How To Infuse Maximalism In Your Home

Maximalism is loud, chaotic, and colorful. To accomplish this look, which is actually a well-thought-out combination of materials, textures, and colors, you have to find the balance in mixing modern and traditional elements. This is mostly accompanied by carefully curating a vast amount of accessories and accents. Maximalist decor lovers tend to be collectors of many persuasions and use their homes as a way to present and artfully display these collections. How to walk that line between tacky and tasteful when going the maximalist style is tricky.

When using the ‘more is better look’, you can create an artful space that’s not overly chaotic but alive and inviting by following some general rules:

  1. Choose imaginary fabrics and wallpapers.
  2. Use animal prints in unexpected ways.
  3. Include statement pieces such as oversized art, bold furniture accent shapes, or life sized mirrors.
  4. Look for pieces inspired by the original Memphis design movement

5. Use your family heirlooms, any collectibles you have amassed, or souvenirs from your travels.

6. Shop second-hand markets for pieces that add a one-of-a-kind look to your space.

Rich & Intense Color

  • Black
  • Emerald
  • Fuchsia
  • Navy blue
  • Sapphire
  • Violet

To balance out that intense paint color palette, you might consider going light and toning down with more subtle furnishings. Additional accents can be used to highlight and bring color schemes into cohesion.


Repetitive Patterns

  • Abstract, animal prints, and florals are good examples.
  • Bodacious original wallpapers are another common theme.
  • Tropical combinations are currently trending.

Plush & Velour fabrics

The rich colors and textures that are common to velvet upholstered furnishings work perfectly in maximalist settings.

  • The subtle gloss of velvet is another dimension that adds elegance.
  • Velvet looks best in strong gem tones such as turquoise, sapphire, violet, emerald, and ruby.

Gold Accents

Maximalist decor goes all out, i.e. goes for the gold. So it is very likely you’ll find some strong gold accents in this type of decorated room.

  • Metals of all kinds always add a touch of glamor and splendor.
  • Gold-plated decorations in lamp bases, mirror frames, and fancy candlesticks are a few ideas.

Mix Styles & Colors

Maximalist style truly embraces anything you like. Thus a mixture of Hollywood style with art-deco or mid-century modern is perfectly normal.

  • In maxi interiors, retro furniture and accessories seem to dominate.
  • Maximalism works when all elements are carefully chosen and purposefully placed.

Unique Statement Pieces

The decor accents used when decorating your maxi home can come from many sources: travel journeys, family collectibles, strange found objects… it includes anything that is unique and you enjoy. Most who design in his style always induce at least one very strong “statement” piece. Something that stands above and beyond the crowd, calling attention to it and holding court over a room. Ideas include:

  • Animal skulls
  • Interesting furniture
  • Large mirrors in artistic frames
  • Birdcages
  • Lamps made of shells
  • Exotic bird art
  • Retro decor and furniture

It’s about individual character, eccentricity, and your creative expression.


Maximalism home decor is unique, diverse, and individual. It breaks with conventions, giving pre-eminence to originality. Maximalism is an ideal solution for creative people to furnish their homes, allowing them to dive into fantasy, and experiment with their expressive side.



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