Top: Farrow & Ball, Bottoms: Colefax and Fowler
A maximalist interior boasts plenty of print and pattern, a mix of colours, layers of texture, and heaps of personality. In maximalism, design rules are fairly thin on the ground, so furniture and accessories can jump across eras and design styles without much regard for coordination. According to the Living Cozy Index 2021, google searches for maximalist interior design have jumped almost 300% this year, along with a spike in searches for its Gen Z cousin, cluttercore.
Amy Wilson (@amywilsoninteriros,) interior designer for 247 Curtains says: “More is more in terms of bold colour blocking and paint effects – think pattern clashes in the form of stripes and geometrics as well as incorporating bigger and bolder accessories.”
“Remember, there are no rules when it comes to maximalist décor so have fun building your scheme for you. Think bold, big, brave and you can’t go too wrong.”
Maximalism in a country setting takes advantage of the natural eclecticism of country interiors, filled with chintz, floral motifs, and an assortment of antiques, art, and other mismatched treasures.
And whilst being in possession of a grand country pile certainly helps to pull off country maximalism, it’s certainly achievable without.
Read on for 6 design tips for creating a maximalist country scheme in your own home.
Layers on layers on layers
Layering is a very literal interpretation of the maximalist ‘more is more’ ethos. This is a gift for people who have trouble editing their belongings, or who can’t decide on a single design scheme. In a country setting, layering helps to establish its signature cosiness, with piles of cushions and throws adding warmth and texture to a room.
“Layering is considered a classic trick of maximalist decor,” says Amy. “Layering pattern, colour and furnishings add an element of interest and enticement. However, layering is so much more than adorning a mantelpiece full of treasures, it’s about layering elements you may not traditionally think of. For instance, why not layer up rugs? A bold primary blue layered with an Ikat style pattern in pinks and oranges has the ability to make your guests stop and stare.”
Look for new opportunities to use pattern
Country homes tend to throw out the rulebook with print and pattern anyway, happily mixing chintzy florals with colourful geometrics. Maximalism looks for new opportunities to invite pattern into the home – like this Taylor Loop striped carpet used in a utility room, or Colefax and Fowler’s matching wallpaper and sink skirt.
“Hexagons, zig-zags, spots – any repeating pattern – all work well together to achieve an alternative, maximalist pattern clash. Keep the palette bold and bright to make the most of these patterns. A great place to start could be in the bedroom with your bed linen, cushions and throws,” says Amy.
She is a fan of incorporating stripes into a maximalist design scheme: “The broader the stripe, the bigger the impact and this goes for painting, accessories and furniture alike. To create a super unique statement, try painting your ceiling in black and white stripes combining this with a statement colour on your walls. It’s time to get brave!”
Go bolder with wallpaper
Country-inspired wallpaper, with a William Morris-esque print depicting plants or wildlife, is a quintessential maximalist design technique. For extra impact, look around your home for innovative wallpapering opportunities beyond your four walls.
If you have wall panelling, use wallpaper within the recesses, and similarly, wardrobes and cupboards with panelling are perfect for this kind of experimenting. Consider using wallpaper on your ceiling alongside interesting feature lights, or add great scenes on your wall with large-scale mural wallpaper full of interesting details. Read our full guide on 21 clever wallpaper ideas to inspire your next home update
Embrace a broad colour palette
A joyful approach to colours is considered a maximalist staple, from big colour clashes and clever colour blocking, to an impactful all-over colour like this playful room by Colefax and Fowler.
“Colour block with a series of colours to add character to any room but don’t just stick with stripes, opt for zig-zags, curves and waves adorned with colour. For a finishing touch be sure to add some pattern and never, ever neglect your fifth wall – the ceiling!”
“Don’t be afraid to play with combinations that you may not have considered before. Try combining pastels such as lilac and mint with a super bright primary colour,” says Amy.
Scale up your accessories
For maximalists who are averse to clutter (one does not necessarily lead to the other,) oversized accent pieces make a big statement without filling up a room.
“Maxing out on scale as opposed to adding copious amounts of accessories and trinkets will ensure ultimate maximalist vibes,” says Amy. “Opt for oversized light fittings, suspended from a dark ceiling for added drama or a feature chair that plays with propositions, seemingly looking slightly large for the space.”
“You can also play with illusions by adding the must-have accessory of the season – a leaning, oversized mirror which has the added bonus of making the appearance of a room larger.”
Go for statement pieces
Armchairs and sofas in bucolic floral prints, vintage pinstripes, or modern geometrics make a maximalist statement – especially in mis-matching sets. To add further interest, layer on patterned soft furnishings in clashing colorways.
“When it comes to furniture, injecting a maximalist personality within your home is simple. An armchair in a punchy striped fabric or statement blind can make all of the difference,” says Amy.
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