9 Key Elements of Maximalist Design

We may earn a commission when you purchase using our links.

Sometimes more is more.  With all the emphasis on the minimalist design style over the past several years, we knew it was coming – maximalism. If you love collecting pieces that are eclectic and aren’t afraid of a bold, creative style, read on.

It is difficult to mistake maximalist design. When you see a well-executed, exhilarating clash of color, a fearless jumble of patterns, and creative layering in texture and time period, that is the maximalist design style.

So if you’re the person who has difficulty parting with things and you’re not afraid to be bold in your design choices, the maximalist style might be for you. It has aspects and elements that are almost the polar opposite of minimalist elements. Forget white walls that are minimally decorated with tame color palettes and curated items. When it comes to maximalist décor, the busier, brighter and bigger, the better!


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Fy! (@iamfy)

Getting Starting with Maximalist Design:

Think of all the precious photos, collections, and eclectic furniture pieces you have collected over time. Often in a range of colors, styles, and textures, this design style will utilize all of them at once rather than displaying one or two at a time.

Bold Color

The maximalist design has no fear of color and unusual color combinations. Instead, the more outrageous, the better. The use of bright, bold, and saturated colors and experimenting with clashing color palettes is the core of the maximalist design style.

One key to combining colors is to stick with colors that have something in common. For instance, a room in all red, orange and pink would work great, but if you have doubt, anchor the room in black and white, which opens up a world of chromatic possibilities. You have the freedom to work with any color, any tone, or any aesthetic from there.

Patterns and Motifs

As with color, patterns and motifs can be just as bold and contradictory. As much as they may clash, the aim is consistency across the color scheme or pattern palette to ensure an integrated design and harmony.  Animal prints, geometric patterns or other bold patterns can serve as a backdrop to the style.

But it is safe to say that not everyone can pull off this style without crossing the line from sensational to sloppy.   The layering of pattern on pattern is easier said than done so a little trial and error is to be expected.  There are no rules, so have fun with it and see what works.

More is More

Nothing gets the point across like a little repetition. And this is especially so when attempting to put together a maximalist design.  It’s not about filling the space with anything but combining things you love in unusual and fun ways and mixing it up.

Use Optical Illusions

Optical illusions are a playful and fun element in maximalist design.  They confuse the eye and force the brain to take time to translate the image.  Try optical illusions on rugs, artwork or decor. They could use bold colors or black and white patterns to create illusions.

Leave No Space Uncovered

The general rule of minimalist (and modernist) design is “white space and breathing room,” but there is no need for it here. Maximalist design fills almost every inch of the room, leaving barely any space uncovered. But remember, it’s about creating a fully integrated design, not filling the space just to fill it.

Create Fantasy

Maximalist design is as much about fantasy as it is excess. This style uses vivid colors, showy patterns, extreme imagery, and rich design to help create it. Regardless of the desired outcome, let your fanciful imagination take over.

Take a Postmodern Approach

The reaction against modernism and its rigid rules was the postmodernism design. This design style, like maximalist design, ignores the traditional viewpoints in favor of playful graphic design and expression that often refers to historic design or combines high culture with pop culture.

Embrace Organized Chaos

Think of maximalist design as “organized chaos.” Pattern, color, imagery, repetition, and collage can all be used to capture one’s attention, appeal to the senses, and convey a message. While some might call it a hot mess – it’s an opportunity to be creative and expressive in your style.

Key Elements for Maximalist Style in Your Home

We love maximalism design for its vibrant colors and the “you can’t mess this up” feeling it conveys. Decorating for comfort means filling our homes with things we love. This is not a random or messy style. You can’t achieve the look by simply filling your space.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Fy! (@iamfy)

There is no wrong way to create a maximalist style, as there are no rules. You simply add more of what you love to your décor. All you need is a passion for creating a truly unique space you can call your own.

  • The foundation for the maximalist design style is color — and lots of it. Pick a color palette and build from there. Popular wall colors in this style are black, greens and navy blue — the secret to a dark wall color is to fill the room with bright or bold accents and patterns to balance the design.
  • Creating a gallery of wall art is a prominent feature of maximalism. You can fill every inch of an accent wall with artwork and have it be stylish. Forget what you know about coordinating frames, subjects, and colors of your art. The only guideline you need to follow is to space your artwork correctly.
  • When surrounded by things we love and cherish, it makes us love our homes more. Because maximalism means more of everything, use more of your favorite colors, fabrics, and accessories. To avoid creating a look that appears “random,” choose a few colors or patterns to repeat throughout the room.
  • If you love piles of books, you’ll love the maximalist style.  Many design styles focus on curating bookshelves for display. But with maximalism, take the books out of storage and showcase them all. Looking for some coffee table inspiration? Check out our favorite modern cabin books here.
  • The minimalism craze left many longing for comfort in their surroundings. Maximalism combines our most comfortable décor with our favorite colors and accessories.
  • Create a space that exudes a maximum amount of cheer! If you love cheerful patterns and colors, warmer color palettes with flowery patterns, this style is for you. It also goes beautifully with boho, English country, and other “happy” looks.
  • If you love modern boho style, you will love maximalism. Both styles share a theme of beautiful excess. Do you enjoy immersing yourself in lovely things? If so, you can embrace maximalism and stay true to your boho roots.
  • Your vintage furniture and accessories work easily in a maximalist space. While the mid-century style is very minimalist, it can exude a maximalist style because of its bright colors and expressive art. The art deco and Victorian styles were also about excess, so you can easily merge these styles into any maximalist room you create.

Think how relaxing it would be to decorate without worrying about perfection. Maximalism works best when imperfect, which makes it the easiest design style to create. While there needs to be unifying colors or patterns, don’t stress over matching colors or furniture — what could be easier and more fun?  Get playful and enjoy the creativity of achieving a maximalist style.