Maximalist Interior Design

Minimalism has dominated interior design for years, and remains a classic design style. But minimalism’s bohemian cousin, maximalism, has been growing in popularity, and promises to be a hot trend in 2023. Let’s learn more about maximalism and how to design maximalist style interiors.

What is Maximalist Interior Design?

Maximalist interior design layers colors, textures, and patterns to create bold, vibrant spaces without a single focal point. In maximalist interiors, “more is more”, and excess is embraced.

Maximalism is an incredibly expressive interior design style, in which a space reflects everything a homeowner likes, loves, and cares about, without adhering to the traditional rules and principles of design. Maximalism creates homes that are truly unique and unrepeatable, with collections of objects that could be replicated nowhere else.

History of Maximalist Interior Design

Contemporary Maximalism takes inspiration from several historical design trends and principles, combining these influences in new and unique ways. Some of the key historic precedents for maximalism include:

  • Victorian interiors. The Victorian era was distinctive for interiors with strong patterns in upholstery and wallpaper, and also for displaying a wide range of objects, with gallery walls and curio cabinets showcasing trinkets and mementos.
  • Bohemian style. Modern “Bohemian” style dates back to 17th century France, where artists embraced individuality and personal expression. This romanticism was then filtered through American 1960s counterculture to give us a style that embraces vivid colors, layers of flowing fabrics, natural textures and materials, and prioritizes softness and comfort.
  • French country interiors. French country style also uses patterned wallpapers and upholstery, tapestries and fabrics, flowing Baroque lines, and embraces a distressed, vintage look.

Maximalist interior design reflects and embraces all these influences and eras. However, because Maximalism can showcase and encompass so many things, a space may include objects from almost any time period and design style.

Characteristics of Maximalist Style Interior Design

Maximalist interior design has so much room for individual expression and unique interpretations that it has very few rules and principles. Instead, here are some of the key characteristics of maximalist interiors:

  • Bold use of color. Maximalism typically includes vivid colors and jewel tones. Colors are layered and combined in unusual ways, with less concern about traditional color palettes.
  • Strong patterns. Maximalism almost always includes the layering of patterns for strong visual impact. Maximalism may combine patterned walls, patterned floors, and patterned upholstery for big visual impact.
  • Displaying treasured objects. Maximalism is not consumerism. Instead of buying objects to complement or enhance your interior decor, maximalist style design showcases the possessions that are significant or meaningful to you, regardless of whether they visually match a space.
  • Gallery walls. Most maximalist spaces use walls to express a wide range of interests and aesthetics, collecting art and imagery in a spectrum of colors and styles and grouping them in interesting ways.
  • Soft finishes. Maximalism stacks and layers soft finishes, and embraces wear and distress. Maximalism almost never uses bright, shiny, reflective finishes like chrome.
  • Plants and nature. Plants are an excellent complement to every interior design style, and they are especially featured in maximalism. Plants add visual layers and texture to a space, along with color and complexity, and they are featured in almost every maximalist interior.

Tips for Designing Your Own Unique Maximalist Interiors

Done properly, a maximalist interior looks lush, personal, and playful. However, without some care during the design process, this style can easily become cluttered and chaotic. Here are some tips for creating your own maximalist space:

  • Add expressive patterns. Bold patterns in vivid colors are a signature of maximalism, but that doesn’t mean you necessarily need animal print wallpaper. Adding interesting patterns in throw cushions and blankets, textiles like table runners, and mats and area rugs, allows you to play with patterns and color and add layers of interest.
  • Create comfort. Maximalist style interior design should always be comfortable and organic. Look for curved lines, soft finishes, and plush upholstery that invite relaxation.
  • Consider scale. Creating a visually harmonious sense of scale is one of the best ways to avoid clutter and disorder. For example, in a large space with high ceilings, display your small objects and treasures in a large curio cabinet or shelving system that matches the size of the room. Put plants in oversize planters, or hang them from the ceiling to draw the eye upward. Making your decor suit the size of your space adds to the appeal and comfort of a maximalist room.

Maximalism embraces excess, showcasing all of our special, unique, offbeat interests and building a style around them. It’s an appealing alternative to the limited color palettes and streamlined style of minimalism, and is a trend to watch in 2023. If you are interested in exploring maximalist design, or want a home that is unique and vibrant, schedule a virtual consultation with J.Fisher, Austin’s award-winning interior design firm.


J.Fisher Interiors’ studio is located in east Austin. To schedule your consultation appointment, please fill out the contact form or call us at 512.954.0904. We would love to hear from you!

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