5 Steps to Maximalism

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It’s been a while since minimalism came soaring into our hearts and homes. Thanks to sleek designs on sites like Pinterest and Instagram, we’ve been all about stripping back and sticking with basic decor.

For longer than many of us can remember, the green of our succulents has been the only colour of note in our rooms. And, this is a trend which looked set to continue into 2019 when Marie Kondo hit our Netflix screens with her ruthless decluttering methods.

But, the interior world has different ideas. While minimalism will undeniably keep going, there’s a new style on the horizon. What’s more, it’s set to go head-to-head with our old favourite. In case you don’t know, we’re talking about the 2019 interior front runner – maximalism.

This may sound like a joke, but trust us when we say that it’s actually the next big thing in home design. And, it’s a breath of fresh air for many, allowing them to at last create a more homely home than the stripped back style which has come before it.

As you can probably guess, maximalism means maximising your interiors. We’re talking bold prints and loud accessories galore. If you’re in any doubt about how well this could work, consider that even minimalist IKEA are maxing out right now with their FOREMAL collection.

The question is, how can you go from minimalism to maximalism without going a little mad? This is a case of one extreme to the other, and you could soon end up with a headache if you take the transition too quickly. But, there are ways to transition between the two styles with at least some ease. And, we’re going to talk you through them here.

Control the chaos

The first thing to note is that maximalism isn’t all about chaos without control. This is especially vital to remember if you’re used to the high control aspects of minimalism. There’s no way you’ll be able to settle if you suddenly clutter your rooms without any seeming pattern or purpose. Remember that, even with maximalism, a needlessly cluttered home is sure to stress you out in no time.

Don’t let it happen by keeping your focus on getting rid of the things you don’t need. Continue working to clear vital floorspace with options like the inbuilt gas fires you can find out more about from Illusion Fires, or simply invest in off-floor shelving units for more space to keep you sane.

And, whatever you do, don’t buy bold accessories for the pure sake of it. Try to keep some semblance of control over every interior decision you make. Simple things like placing maximalist accessories with thought so that you can balance the room will make all the difference.

Each of these steps adds a level of control which ensures that you don’t end up with cluttered chaos in which you can’t stand to spend time.

Start small

Jumping straight into all-out maximalism is never going to work for you if you’re minimalist right now. In fact, attempting to do so could flat-out put you off the idea. Instead, as with any extreme change, it’s worth taking this bit by bit. Take bold print wallpapers as an example here. These are something of a hallmark for the maximalist trend.

And, there are some undeniably fantastic options out there right now. But, these couldn’t be further from the stark white walls which you’ve been working with until now. With many of these wallpapers including dark colours and striking designs, wallpapering an entire room straight away could leave you feeling claustrophobic. Instead, it’s always worth starting with a feature wall.

This is your home, so you may decide that one bold-print wall is all you need. Or, seeing that one wall might give you the necessary push to paper the rest of the room. Either way, taking this slow provides you with space to change your mind or hold back if you want to.

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Equally, investing in a multitude of extreme accessories straight away could leave you feeling a little stressed out whenever you spend time at home. You’ve spent goodness knows how long believing that accessories are akin to devil worship, after all.

That’s why you should buy no more than one or two striking accessories for each room to start with. That way, you can adjust to having these around again, and layer your collection rather than suddenly overloading your rooms. With luck, your transition will happen without your even realising it. This ensures the trend can grow as your accessories do.

Build from a strong base

It’s also worth noting that you should make sure to build your maximalist style around a strong base. For the most part, minimalism is the same in every single room of your house. You know the drill – wooden floors, white walls, and a plant or two. But, the beauty of maximalism is that you can go wild with different styles in each room.

In fact, in keeping with the maximalist mantra, the more styles you try under one roof, the better. But, you’re never going to be able to get behind this trend if you do away with any correlation between styles. Nor do you have to. Maximalism may be about seemingly extreme contrasts on the surface, but there’s more to this trend than meets the eye.

Getting decor like this right is all about tying your rooms together with subtle yet existent correlations. By focusing on these as you build your maximalist trends, you can keep some of that minimalist order after all.

In general, this should be a subtle connecting factor which no one realises, but which completes your decor choices. Something as simple as a colour which appears within accessories across your house could work well here.

Equally, opting for similar fabrics in each room can do the trick. You might even want to opt for bold prints which compliment each other somehow. Either way, this is your chance to make maximalism work, while still holding onto some of the lessons minimalism taught you.

Work around key furnishings

It’s surprising how tricky it can be to get back into accessories when you’ve been on the minimalist bandwagon. Before you know it, you can fast get out of the habit. If you’ve got Marie Kondo’s voice ringing in your ears, it’s something you might not even want to invest in again.

And, of course, you don’t have to go wild with every aspect of maximalism if you don’t want to. If you love the look of the bold accessories coming onto the market right now, though, it’s time to remember how to make furnishings like these work for you.

The best way to do that is to begin with a few key furnishings in each room. Loud lamps or vibrant vases are often fantastic starting points here as they help to draw the eye. Go back to taking it slow by investing in just these for your first maximalist efforts.

Then, with these key pieces in mind, you can start to build a collection of smaller accessories as and when you see them. This way, you’ll be able to develop a room which ties in with those focal point features. All the better for building from a base as we’ve already mentioned.

Buying key pieces like these also means that you’ll start to build up an accessory collection without overwhelming yourself.

Turn to texture

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It’s also worth noting that maximalism isn’t all about prints and accessories. It involves maxing out with every possible decor choice. That includes textures and materials. While minimalism is about stripping back with a strict set of materials, maximalism does the opposite.

Still, playing with textures and materials could be an excellent place to start if you’re transitioning between the two. That’s because this is is a subtler addition than, say, that bold wallpaper in every room. When you incorporate different materials, you don’t take up any extra floor space. Ultimately, you don’t even create much more clutter.

Yet, this can get you used to the layering and combinations on which maximalism thrives.

Even better, it’s easier than you would imagine getting started here. Your texture explorations could begin with something as simple as incorporating a suede armchair. Or, you may want to invest in fluffy cushions to go on your leather couch.

Once you’ve dabbled your toes, you could start playing with different materials and colours. You could even begin to incorporate features like fluffy throws over the backs of your seats. Before you know, you’ll be reaching for those contrasting textures every chance that you get.

A final word

There’s no denying that these styles are complete opposites. If you’ve been part of the minimalist army until now, then, you’re in for a bit of a culture shock by embarking on maximalism. But, as you can see here, it is possible to go from one extreme to the other, as long as you transition right.

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Welcome to Pikalily, an award-winning food, travel and lifestyle blog. We are Nial and Helen, a happily married couple from Northern Ireland, who share a passion for food and travel among many things. We became parents to our beautiful boy Lewis in 2017. Follow our adventures through the blog.

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