Instagram insiders: The Girl With The Green Sofa's top tips (and buys) for creating a maximalist trend

Nicola Broughton, AKA interiors Instagrammer The Girl with the Green Sofa, shares her tips and tricks – and favourite buys – for embracing the maximalist trend

tropical leafy wallpaper in living room with pops of orange and greeny blue velvet sofa
(Image credit: Galerie Wallcoverings)

Want some interiors tips from the people behind some of the most covetable interior Instagram feeds? We've got you covered. As you are probably aware, we LOVE Instagram – we've even got our very own Insta-community at #sorealhomes.

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Real Homes November 2018 front cover

(Image credit: Real Homes)

Nicola's home is featured in the November 2018 issue of Real Homes magazine, on sale 27th September onwards. Subscribe now, and you'll never miss an issue again!

So we have made it our mission to bring you ideas and inspiration from the best interior Instagrammers, so you can use them to kickstart your next DIY project and find tips on interior design for your home. 

We spoke with Nicola Broughton AKA The Girl with the Green Sofa who shares her tips on how to embrace the maximalist trend...

'As a self-confessed maximalist, a lover of all things interiors and a transient decorator, I am constantly on the look-out for new things for my home, and I am going to share with you items on my 'lust list'.

'Maximalism is one of the biggest trends in interiors; 'More is more and less is bore' by Iris Apfel, aptly sums up this interior trend. Maximalist homes are full on with texture and pattern, and items collected over many years; they tend towards the eclectic side of the interior spectrum. Think big statement pieces clashing with pattern in wallpaper or textiles, vibrant colour and quirky homewares aplenty. 

'Velvet is one trend that doesn’t appear to be going away from interiors anytime soon, and it is a personal favourite of mine ever since I bought my green sofa from Velvet sofas will now withstand the wear and tear of modern life, too.'

1. You can never have too many velvet sofas

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'I already have one velvet sofa, but that doesn’t stop me adding another to my lust list, because you can never, in my opinion, have too much velvet. Two of my favourites are from Rose and Grey; the aptly named Broughton Sofa (available in 14 different fabrics) if you are looking for a contemporary feel or the Hugo Chesterfield for a more traditional look.

'Don’t have the cash for a sofa? You could try adding a footstool instead, like the Polly Pouffe velvet number. 

'Another favourite of mine is the Living Room, especially if you are looking for a Mid-century vibe.'

2. Decorate with dark colours – so go for it

‘Dark colours can look great in a room, so I always say go for it. People worry too much about them, but don’t be afraid – they actually make a room feel quite cosy. That’s exactly why I use them in my house. 

'Like with bold wallpaper, try out a darker shade on a feature wall first of all, then extend it to the rest of the room if you love it – my rooms are dark all the way around. People worry about north-facing rooms, but they’ll never be light anyway, so I’d suggest going for an all-out cosy theme.'

3. Don't stop with the sofa – I want a Velvet Bed

'Velvet doesn’t have to stop at something to sit on – a velvet bed in ochre yellow is something I am dreaming about for our master bedroom, and I am definitely seeing a rise in velvet beds being sold this season. This Audrey Bed by (below) is my personal favourite because I love the sleek curve of the headboard, but you can also find great versions at' Audrey bed

(Image credit:

4. A Fringed Lampshade is a big, up-coming trend

'Fringing is another big interior trend, and you can find it on chairs, footstools and especially on lighting. A fringed lampshade is the perfect way to add a maximalist vibe to your lighting for winter.

'I have two fringed lampshades by Anna Hayman, a personal favourite of mine because you can also ramp up pattern and texture; her lampshades come in a choice of fabrics. But, there is a new kid on the block that has caught my eye recently: Beauvamp. I am lusting after their two-tone lampshades, or one with dip dyed fringing.'

5. Make designing kids' rooms collaborative

‘When my youngest son Alfie wanted a more grown-up room, we sat down with the laptop and looked at Instagram and Pinterest for ideas. I asked him what he liked and we chose colours and themes for the space. It’s a fun thing to do together, and if he came back with something that wouldn’t work, I’d tell him that and we’d work something else out instead. If you make it a collaborative thing, creating moodboards and picking out colours and patterns can be a brilliant family activity.’

Find out how to design a child's room, and check out our kids' room design ideas.

6. A Bar Cart is a must-have

'As I'm writing, it’s coming up to Christmas and there is no better time to invest in a bar cart, for all the festivities on the horizon. If you don’t want to use it for your Christmas bar, they look equally good styled up as side tables, with a lamp, some books and a plant or flowers. A personal favourite of mine is the Sydney Cocktail Trolley from BoConcept.'

7. Use bold wallpaper – even in a small space

‘I think there are two ways to go about this. My personal preference is to go all-out and do an entire room. If you’re a bit more timid, try papering a feature wall or fireplace somewhere like a living room – that way, it’s less imposing on the room. It all depends on the level of confidence you have in decorating. If you paper one wall and decide you love it, you could always extend it to the rest of the room.

'No self-confessed maximalist home would be complete without statement, patterned wallpaper. There are many great manufacturers of wallpaper in the marketplace, but I always try and look out original work, such as Lucy Tiffney’s wall murals or Divine Savages’ vibrant patterns. But I am particularly lusting after House of Hackney Limerence wallpaper, in either Ink or Quartz-Pink.'

8. Creating a glam home on a budget is doable

‘I’m always conscious of budget, so while I do have some new items in my home, they’ve always been bought when needs must – the green sofa only came along when the old one collapsed, for example. Most of our pieces are second-hand, salvaged and vintage – mixing and matching can stretch your money further.

‘Doing your own decorating really cuts down on costs, as does having a go at DIY. I’ve had times where I’ve looked at a room I’ve decorated and thought, “That’s not great” – but when that happens, I just touch it up or do it again. If you’re really tight on budget, a simple pot of paint for £40 to 50 can totally transform a room if you’re willing to have a go.’

9. Learning to DIY will save you £££s

‘I’m completely self-taught when it comes to DIY. I learned to renovate old furniture over time and made sure to buy inexpensive pieces so that if I made a mistake it wouldn’t be too serious. You can buy a chair at auction for a fiver and a tester pot of paint for even less, which means you can learn for little money.

‘My husband gives me practical tips – things like measuring walls and even using a saw! – but a lot of the things I’ve done, including panelling my bedroom, have come from simply having a go and seeing if it works. You can get tips from bloggers, too. Pati Robins is fantastic for DIY, as are Medina Grillo and Melanie Lissack. By simply having a go, you can create something special without it costing a pretty penny.’

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