Maximalism and the beauty of chaos
With the growing popularity of the maximalist trend in interior design, it’s time to let the colour back in. As a reaction to clean minimalism, organised chaos defines the style of a home, playing with colourful patterns, diverse shapes and the creative combination of opposites. Mastery of the principles behind this trend can result in a surprisingly attractive balance between visual overload and a cosy ambience.
Maximalist living room from Spacejoy on Unsplash (Photo: Spacejoy)
The origins of maximalism
From the clean Instagram aesthetic to Scandinavian restraint and the tidying trend sparked by Marie Kondo, the tendency towards minimalism has shaped interior design in recent years. In the tangled confusion of goods on the market, reduction to the essentials has been a meaningful exercise in appreciation and mindfulness for many.
However, every trend inspires a countertrend. During the pandemic, if not before, it became clear that the presence of a multitude of cherished items can make our homes welcoming and lift our spirits. In this feel-good space , there are no strict rules, but instead a colourful diversity provided by objects with personal stories attached. Picking up on this theme, the hashtag #cluttercore has positively exploded on social media in recent months – just like the colours and patterns in the living rooms of the trend’s fans.
Get a good result from organised chaos in interior design
Maximalism gives creative disorder the freedom to unleash a surprisingly appealing look. We’ve put together the following tips and basic principles of this interior design trend to help you achieve successful results rather than a confused mess:
- Each object should make you happy: Surrounding yourself with beloved domestic items instantly boosts your personal feel-good factor.
- More is more: Bare walls often create a sterile atmosphere, whereas pictures, colours and patterns breathe life into a room.
- A place for everything and everything in its place: A bit of order in chaos ensures a healthy balance; the deliberate combination of seemingly incongruous objects produces a winning look.
- Take your time: Decorating and furnishing your home is a lifelong process, reflecting personal experiences, preferences and changes and telling a personal story.
- Be brave: Bright shades, colourful patterns and eclectic contrasts give a room an energy all of its own.
Colours and patterns on walls and floors
Bare floors and white walls are so yesterday. Today, they are the canvas for elaborate colour schemes, decorations and arrangements. With a dash of boho here and a little glamour there, the space is already cosier. The comeback of the rug can be seen both in modern floral motifs, as on the Floreo Rug from AYTM , and on richly decorated Persian kilims, where classic red brings a timeless warmth into the room.
As for the walls – the wealth of extraordinary wallpaper options surpasses the imagination. From the abstract patterns found on OPUS Wallpaper from LondonArt to the artistic crane motifs on wall coverings from Arte, there’s something to suit every taste – and instead of featuring only as an eye-catching highlight, such designs can readily be used throughout a room to create an atmosphere. Decorative mirror walls can be a great idea, especially in small spaces – try using these round Circum mirrors from AYTM , for example. And, of course, having art on the walls is integral to maximalism. In the salon hang technique, pictures of all different sizes are brought together to create a harmonious overall impression. Here, the courage to juxtapose incongruous styles can produce interesting aesthetics that enrich a room.
Interior design offers many options for expressing individual creativity. This holds true in both the private home environment and the professional field. Furniture designers are always part artist as well. Many deliver eclectic designs and unusual ideas far removed from mainstream products. Instead of forcing designers along well-trodden paths, maximalism allows them to give free rein to their creativity. Here, form follows feeling rather than function.
Can I pair an organically shaped sofa in velvet upholstery with a leopard-shaped coffee table ? Why not? Young brands like Bold Monkey show how much fun creative interior design can be, while daring furniture stores focus on extroverted presentations and upholstery fabrics that consciously push against the timeless, but often uniform Scandinavian look. In the home, these models can then be combined with favourite pieces of furniture, flea market treasures and vintage objects.
Decorative elements take centre stage
Accessories are not an option in the maximalism trend, they’re a must. Ornaments can be colourful and loud, run riot on the shelves and sideboards, break with familiar rules and cross style boundaries. In #cluttercore, #mismatching is desirable as long as it triggers positive feelings. After all, we like to surround ourselves with things we love and should feel free to indulge in this habit. New objects from favourite designers happily share the space with antique family heirlooms or kitsch holiday souvenirs. Plant lovers add sprawling greenery to the tangle of furnishings to create an oasis of well-being inspired by nature. Extravagant lighting solutions ranging from the bespoke Sea Flowers chandelier from Baranska Design to the colourful Flakes table lights from favius are the cherry on the rainbow cake that is the new maximalist look.
Pushing interior design joy to the max takes courage
While other interior design styles often celebrate a certain look, the charm of maximalism lies in its almost unbridled freedom, going against the flow to give individuality and creativity a real chance. This can take a bit of courage, but at the same time it relieves some of the pressure to create the perfect home in the strict Instagram aesthetic. It’s then over to the personal story to hold the organised chaos together. This concept of storytelling is becoming increasingly important in the furniture industry. The background, image or origin of an object are now important buying criteria for younger generations. To differentiate themselves, manufacturers have to tell their story – and that also takes courage.
In the industry, Italian designers have always been known for a certain degree of extravagance. In the search for unusual and bold inspiration, the latest designs from Bella Italia are an obvious choice.