Madonna's living room shelves perfectly capture tasteful maximalism

Madonna's punk rock living room teaches us that clutter doesn't have to be a bad thing

madonna at the 65th grammy awards
(Image credit: Getty Images - Frazer Harrison)

 The queen of pop took to Instagram to show off her maximalist living room, and we’re obsessed. Madonna’s large collection of books, art, and hand-woven textiles proved what she’s told us all along, the mega-star really is a Material Girl

The Vogue singer’s space is an ode to avant-garde extravagance. Madonna’s cream-colored walls are covered with quirky surrealist-looking paintings, drawings, and photographs. Her long beige daybed is adorned with handwoven kilim pillows in an indigo and cream pattern. Perhaps the star of the show is Madonna’s open plan built in living room shelves. Each shelf is filled to the brim with stylish books, crystals, and decorative jars. Though it is busy, the maximalist look is visually appealing and looks intentional. 

‘Maximalism is popular mostly because it is fun,’ says Lucy Searle, Global Editor in Chief of Homes & Gardens. ‘People love that the trend allows them to express their personalities through their homes. The perfect maximalist home is an expression of everything that the homeowner loves; it includes their favorite colors, patterns, and interests layered tastefully together in a room.’ 

Madonna’s funky boho living room certainly reflects her unconventional personality and sound. However, decorating with maximalism is not as easy to pull off as it looks. 

‘Achieving a harmonious maximalist design requires a careful balance of color and texture, both within the room and across its various levels. The objective is to make your eyes wander around the room, rather than fixating on a single focal point like a gallery wall,’ says Melissa Read, creative director of Studio Burntwood.

melissa read of burntwood studio
Melissa Read

Melissa Read attended the KLC School of Design in Chelsea before working at London's best-regarded interior design studios. She has worked with several private clients and property developers and designed flats in Chelsea, Belgravia, and Mayfair.

Placing decor on open shelves can be tricky. You want it to look stylized, rather than messy or haphazard. To achieve the desired effect, Melissa Read recommends that ‘a simple technique for arranging items on open shelving is to use the 'triangle' placement method. 

This involves placing larger items at separate ends of the same shelf, with a larger object in the middle on the shelf above.’ 

Melissa further recommends choosing the items to feature with care and intention. She suggests ‘when it comes to finding accessories that truly reflect your personality, take your time and explore different sources. Check out local independent shops, art exhibitions, vintage shops, and artisan markets to get inspiration for creating a space that feels uniquely you.’ 

Ultimately, maximalism is about creating an experience.

Shop Madonna’s Keith Haring book and more home decor inspired by the pop star’s living room below.

Sophie Edwards
News Editor

Sophie is a London-based News Editor at Homes & Gardens, where she works on the Celebrity Style team. She is fascinated by the intersection of design and popular culture and is particularly excited when researching trends or interior history. Sophie is an avid pop culture fan. As an H&G editor, she has interviewed the likes of Martha Stewart, Hilary Duff, and the casts of Queer Eye and Selling Sunset. Before joining Future Publishing, Sophie worked as the Head of Content and Communications at Fig Linens and Home, a boutique luxury linens and furniture brand. She has also written features on exciting developments in the design world for Westport Magazine. Sophie has an MSc from the Oxford University Department of Anthropology and a BA in Creative Writing and Sociology from Sarah Lawrence College.