I was recently in Dallas on business. And, the old saying that “everything’s bigger in Texas” is no joke! A quick shopping trip downtown to Neiman Marcus yielded a bevy of bejeweled sweaters, fur lined shawls, sumptuous velvet blazers and all manner of fabrics which were shot with gold or silver thread, encrusted with pearls, or embellished on every square inch. Ahhhh… Texas, I thought. But, then I noticed the similarly over-the-top décor at area restaurants, hotels, and malls and I began to wonder… is this simply Dallas at its finest, or is it actually a return to maximalism?
According to Wikipedia, maximalism is defined as, “a reaction against minimalism, is an aesthetic of excess and redundancy. The philosophy can be summarized as “more is more.”
My inner 1980s heart skipped a beat. So, I started to do a little sleuthing. It turns out that the predictors for a return to maximalism have been around for some time. It started with 2017 and 2018 runway shows, which featured exaggerated silhouettes, padded shoulders, and sequins. Naturally, interiors couldn’t be far behind.
In 2018, author Sadie Stein from Elle Décor professed her “her undying zeal for riotous design.” But, hers was like a lone voice in the wilderness. Maximalism was something of an underground movement, and reaction to the pervasive culture of minimalism and purging of unnecessary objects (aka Marie Kondo).
But, I think that Sadie was on to something. After years of a “less is more” mantra, I personally have longed for a return to comfort and sumptuous fabrics. I also longed to eliminate the need to rotate my objects in and out of use, to avoid what others (well, mostly my husband) would call “clutter.”
To be clear, maximalism is not about clutter. Instead, it’s about surrounding yourself with objects that you love. And, that’s an idea I can appreciate!
No matter what your design aesthetic, maximalism can work if you embrace the colors you adore, fabrics that are cozy and tactile, and objects d’art and accessories that express your personality, represent travels and experiences, or simply make you smile.
Maximalism isn’t for everyone. If you’ve Marie Kondo’d your life down to its bare esssence, if you maintain a strict capsule wardrobe, or if you already feel that you have too many possessions, this isn’t your style. But, if you would like a bit of “cocooning” read on!
How to incorporate maximalism in your home
- Get cozy. Think lush, comfy fabrics. Velvet and chenille are top picks.
- Make it personal. Use what you love… travel mementos, grandmother’s china, or a collection of Murano millefiori paperweights. You determine what is beautiful.
- Group like with like. To avoid a haphazard look, group items together around a theme, color, material, or function.
- Use your books. Carefully edited bookcases that appear to have been plucked from an Ikea catalog simply don’t represent real life.
- Embrace diversity. Use different woods, styles, or periods as long as they can be connected by a design element.
- Get smart with art. Gallery style walls can be taken right to the ceiling! And, “art” doesn’t have to be interpreted as paintings or prints. Think outside the box with plates, medallions, kitchen tools, and more.
- Don’t forget the fifth wall. Painting your ceiling an unexpected color, whether it’s an inset in a tray ceiling, detail around a chandelier medallion, or the entire expanse, is an easy, inexpensive way to create drama.
For more home decorating inspiration, please visit my Pinterest page “Susan’s Home” or the Fabulous Interiors tab. And, while you’re here, please don’t forget to enter our most recent fashion, beauty and style giveaways.
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Named one of the Top 50 Beauty Blogs in the World by RebateZone.com, Susan Said… WHAT?! is your guide to a life filled with style. From fashion essentials, jewelry and beauty must-haves, to garden and interior design inspiration, plus the latest products for chic parties, you’ll find it here. Editor, author and entrepreneur Susan Conforte McNeill is also the co-founder of the Delaware based literacy organization Success Won’t Wait!