The elusive and powerful charm of maximal Interior Design

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I reeeeally wanted to subtitle this article “Justify your latent hoarding because no one else will” or “Interior design’s fancy term for latent hoarders and why it works”, but my charming sarcasm wouldn’t fit into the narrative of this (fantastic) blog. I want to show you that there can, in fact, be some order and beauty in any and every “mess”, if you just apply proper mechanisms. #nosarcasmneeded.

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Colorful maximalism

Right off the bat, you will notice that I am carefully adding “latent” virtually everywhere. We live in the age of “political correctness” and although I think everyone is becoming too sensitive, I have to comply because once published, my writing is up for public interpretation. Compulsive hoarding is considered to be both a mental disorder and a behavioral pattern, and that is not what this article is about. Consider this part as a disclaimer.

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Maximalist living room. Photographs by David Land. Styling by Kate Jordan.

This particular subject is quite personal for me because I myself am a latent hoarder, tho I mostly hoard books. How am I dealing with it you might wonder? Well by ordering new shelves and trying to make them as stylish and as fancy as possible. And that is where the so-called maximalism comes in handy. See maximalism as an interior design term and style is defined as “an aesthetic of excess and redundancy”, which is exactly what we need. Regardless of what you are collecting, you are probably enjoying the excess of that, and maximalist home interiors allow you to be you without feeling ashamed or embarrassed.

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Book hoarding in a controlled environment. Picture by Architectural Digest

One of the most common misconceptions about maximalism is that it encourages unhealthy hoarding habits, which just simply isn’t true. It lets you create order and take control inside the home interiors that would otherwise be cramped or overstuffed. I mean, let’s face it, as much as you love ALL of your stuff, you don’t want your place to look constipated, right?

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Sunny maximalist sitting area.

Although very loose and relaxed, maximalism does have its rules, because without them it wouldn’t be an interior design style per se. It would just be a term we use to justify our messiness. The rules of maximalism are rather simple and easy to apply. The very first, and probably an expected one, is — layering. This one can sound tricky, but it actually is not. Just make sure every layer has a “theme” and built one over the other. A theme can be your hobby, a pattern or even a particular color. It doesn’t matter. It is always nice if layers have one common denominator, but if that isn’t possible — it is also not important, as long as the layers themselves are defined.

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Maximalism in the kitchen and dining room.

The second rule would be repetitiveness. I’m sure this one won’t be hard for any of you fellow latent hoarders out there. Just take your favorite subject (object) or topic and repeat it through the layers. You can skip layers and there doesn’t have to be any order whatsoever here. It is best if you tackle repetitiveness with patterns or materials. Patterns can be florals, animal prints, tartan, etc. Once repeated a particular pattern creates an illusion of a base, so it will perfectly solve the risk of inconsistency that is often there when attempting maximalism.

Maximalist bedroom. Design by Lily Sawyer.

The third rule involves incorporating so-called “statement” pieces. Before applying this one, it is of utmost importance that you define the statement you are going for because, without a clear definition, the rule becomes nonsensical. Needless to say, statement pieces should be your favorite pieces. You can arrange them to accentuate the themes of your layers, or simply to draw attention to specific corners of the space, or even just because you like the statement piece on its own.

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Perfect maximalist corner. Design by Firmdale Hotels.

These three rules are actually the main characteristics of maximalism, and once you start incorporating them into your beloved messy space, you will feel like a master interior designer. Not to mention that the term itself packs quite a punch. “I’m a maximalist.”, sounds way better than “I’m a packrat”, right?

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Maximalist living room for latent book-hoarders.

In conclusion, if you are prone to latent hoarding and you want to take control over your habit and living space, maximalism is the least painful way to do it.

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