Maximalism: 3 ways to get the look gallery

Over minimalism? Here’s how to create a maximalist masterpiece.

Over minimalism? Here’s how to create a maximalist masterpiece.

A maximalist's home celebrates the concept that more is more, proudly displaying art, books and objects; it's the work of someone bold who is not afraid to fully embrace their vision. How to create an aesthetic of excess without going overboard? Three experts lay out ground rules for maximalist spaces in a range of styles. 


Art and books are central to an eclectic look. CREDIT: LIVING4MEDIA

A room full of an eclectic mix of furnishings and treasures is hard to pull off, says NZ House & Garden stylist Sarah Lods. It can take years to accumulate beautiful and interesting objects and art. "I always bang on about art, art and more art and this is definitely the number one starting point." 

Books add to the maximalist vibe: large art and architectural books stacked on coffee tables, filling shelves, even piled on the floor. "I love displaying art auction house catalogues," says Sarah. When curating items, look for things with a similar colour palette or texture and that have a connection to each other. "Don't showcase one type of thing, for example all blue ceramics and nothing else," she says.

Quiz: Can you name these fabric patterns?
5 ways to add pattern with flair
Experts share their tips on how to mix and match patterns 

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Chain of hearts
Chain of hearts


Gold and crystal create instant glam.             CREDIT: PAUL MCCREDIE

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Pineapple cushion cover, designed by Nellie Ryan
Pineapple cushion cover, designed by Nellie Ryan

Nicola Koptisch of Privato Interiors says gold is a key colour choice for a glam maximalist look. Gold is rich and warm and gives a luxurious feel, plus it's versatile, as it can work with almost any other colour.

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"Look for a large opulent chandelier and similar-styled wall fittings, perhaps with crystal or coloured glass drops."

Modern or antique furniture can work well, but use only the best decorative objects you own. "Stunning pieces will add to the glamour."

Large ornate mirrors will make a room look larger and reflect furnishings, architectural features and the light from chandeliers and lamps. 

Rich textiles add glamour.                                          CREDIT: JANE USSHER

When it comes to textiles, think about draping fabric around doors, passageways and windows using rich colours in plain velvet or subtle patterns. Fancy braids, tassels and tiebacks add to the glamour. 

But a word of warning from Nicola: try not to have too many objects competing, so use only what enhances the style you're after and cull ruthlessly.  


Start a bold scheme with just three colours.      CREDIT: SHANNON MCGRATH

Bold colour and vibrant patterns add drama to a contemporary maximalist room, but getting this look to work is actually all about order, says Alex Fulton of Alex Fulton Design.

"My husband calls it organised chaos. I'd start with a blank canvas and then start adding layers until your interest level is satisfied. To achieve this style it's about reaching your own personal limit and it takes trial and error. You can't take yourself too seriously, there has to be a bit of sense of humour to it," says Alex.

"To start, take three colours you like and play with the different types of tone and shade, shades that are interesting and unexpected." 

Toy with scale when selecting objects and furnishings. Decorating with things that are oversized or undersized can work in these spaces. The oversized tulip at left is a brilliant touch, says Alex, but undersized can work too: "Like a collection of figurines in bulk: silly but fun."  

 - NZ House & Garden


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