5 rules for decorating with maximalism – an expert guide

We asked a leading voice in the world of maximalist interiors how anyone new to bold schemes should approach decorating. This is his fail-safe formula

Three rooms: bedroom, living room and entryway with maximalist decor
(Image credit: Mind The Gap)

Looking to introduce more maximalism (read: pattern) into your home, but not sure where to start? We asked a master of maximalism for advice.

Maximalist interiors are about indulging in more; more color, more pattern and more texture, combining patterns, prints, weaves, florals, ikats, stripes, geometrics and botanical motifs which work wonderfully well together to create truly inviting and rich, layered interiors that deliver wow factor,' says Stefan Ormenisan, Co-founder & MD, MindTheGap.

'Decorating with pattern can be intimidating, but rather than resorting to following current interior design trends, look for a standout pattern that speaks to you personally and build a scheme around that design, your starting point could be a vase, cushion, rug or a wallpaper, by building a scheme around an item you love, you’ll find your own personal maximalist aesthetic.'

1. Start with wallpaper

Living room in bold colors and maximalist wallpaper with sofa and chair and large window behind

(Image credit: Mind The Gap)

'A great starting point for a maximalist transformation is the addition of a wallpaper. A wallpaper will deliver the greatest impact in any interior. Using a favorite wallpaper as the base for your design scheme, layer in more pattern and color, as well as pairing with other floral or botanical prints in fabrics and accessories.'

Blue living room decorated with maximalist wallpaper

(Image credit: Mind The Gap)

'The joy in maximalist interiors is often in the combination or pairing of patterns, such as Ikats with stripes or, geometrics with florals and botanical designs. If you are looking to achieve a genuinely maximalist feel, avoid a feature wall which will look half-hearted, and embrace pattern all over with wallpaper on all four walls.’ 

2. Layer in your own collections

Green chest of drawers against maximalist wallpaper

(Image credit: Mind The Gap)

'It’s not just textiles and soft furnishings that will bring a maximalist touch to a space' consider celebrating things you love with a display. Layering in collections of objects, such as ceramics, art or glassware will bring a maximalist feel to an interior. Consider uniformity in the presentation of your objects, as structure will ensure your collection feels showcased rather than cluttered.’  

Gallery wall on green maximalist wallpaper

Embroidery Folk set of four framed artworks, MindTheGap

(Image credit: Mind The Gap)

3. Try pattern in transitional spaces

Maximalist bathroom wallpaper with black bathtub in foreground

(Image credit: Mind The Gap)

'If you are adding pattern to your home for the first time, consider starting in transitional spaces. Hallways and bathrooms are fantastic spaces in which to experiment with a new found love of pattern. Those areas where we pass through or spend little time feel less pressured, allowing bolder and braver design choices to be explored.’  

Maximalist entryway looking through to room beyond decorated with maximalist scheme

(Image credit: Mind The Gap)

4. Limit the color palette

Sofa in maximalist living room and armchairs

The Enchanted Woodland wallpaper, Transylvanian Roots Collection, MindTheGap

(Image credit: Mind The Gap)

'When mixing a variety of patterns, it’s important your design scheme doesn’t feel overly busy or jumbled. Ensure your interior feels sophisticated and refined by keeping to a limited color palette, restricting your color choices to a particular level of saturation, mid tones, brights or pastels, but not mixing across these color tones, guarantees your maximalist interior will both stylish and cohesive.’ 

Living room in maximalist decor

(Image credit: Mind The Gap)

5. Create a cohesive thread

Maximalist wallpaper behind bed in bedroom with lots of country floral prints

(Image credit: Mind The Gap)

‘Treat your home as a whole, create an immersive sanctuary with a common thread of patterns throughout your home. Bring a cohesive and considered feel to your maximalist interior with moments of repetition, whether that be that stripes, Ikats or floral block prints, injecting patterns or textiles from the same stylistic family throughout the home will create moments of familiarity and harmony.' 

Maximalist decor wallpaper in living room with chair and artwork

Heritage wallpaper, Transylvanian Roots Collection, MindTheGap

(Image credit: Mind The Gap)


What is maximalist style

Maximalist style is a bold decorating style that's the opposite of minimalism: more is more is more. However, it is not necessarily about clashing patterns, colors and textures, more a cleverly balanced, toning mix that's still easy to leave with. 

There's no doubt that maximalism is here to stay, and it's a wonderful way to use a variety of patterns, from florals to abstracts, in bold colors, layered one upon the other alongside your favorite collections to make your space truly unique.

Lucy Searle
Content Director

Lucy Searle has written about interiors, property and gardens since 1990, working her way around the interiors departments of women's magazines before switching to interiors-only titles in the mid-nineties. She was Associate Editor on Ideal Home, and Launch Editor of 4Homes magazine, before moving into digital in 2007, launching Channel 4's flagship website, Channel4.com/4homes. In 2018, Lucy took on the role of Global Editor in Chief for Realhomes.com, taking the site from a small magazine add-on to a global success. She was asked to repeat that success at Homes & Gardens, where she also took on the editorship of the magazine. Today, Lucy works as Content Director across Homes & Gardens, Woman & Home, Ideal Home and Real Homes.