Maximalism: 11 ways to get the look

Indulge your flamboyant side by embracing the lavish trend of maximalism to give your home heaps of personality and colour. Here's how

Chinese tree mural
(Image credit: Anna Jacob Art)

Looking for design inspiration for your home? Pump up the volume with clashing patterns, bold designs and colour contrasts – the recipe you need for maximalism's dramatic look. Our inspiration and key buys help you tap into the most out-there decorating trend of the moment.

1. Create a display with bold accessories

Renting or don't want to spend a fortune? Take bright, bold accessories to the next level by sandwiching them between a dramatic colour-pop backdrop and a vibrant design, such as chevrons and tropical prints. This layering technique means your home accents will take centre stage.

bright and colourful vases

Vases and tealight holders from a selection from A by Amara at Amara, prices from £18. For similar upcycled palm leaf drawers, try Etsy. For a similar yellow wallpaper, try Plain Tany, £16 per roll, Graham & Brown

2. Max out contrasting wall colours

Feeling brave? Embrace your inner maximalist and go all out by adorning walls and floors with bold patterns in contrasting tones. Add furniture with personality, metallic accessories for that Midas touch, and tongue-in-cheek objets d’art. Keep it looking fresh and polished ‘by creating a foundation of timelessly chic furniture and accessorising with abandon,’ says designer Jonathan Adler. Love this look? Try the colour blocking paint effect for a similar finish.

quirky patterned living room

Harlequin chest of drawers, £2,950; Ether curved sofa, £3,995; Neo Geo obelisks, from £198; Beaded Lips wall art, £495, Jonathan Adler 

3. Hang a super-sized wallpaper print

Feel like a Hollywood star as soon as you arrive home with a lavishly decorated hallway that commands attention. Go for wallpaper in wow-factor colours and patterns, choose striking lighting that looks like a piece of statement art, and layer on the luxe with gold furniture and accessories. Find more beautiful botanical wallpaper designs in our feature.

palm leaf wallpaper in living room

Cole & Son palm leaves wallpaper, £85 per roll, John Lewis. For a similar beaded chandelier, try the Anvers  wooden beaded chandelier, £195, Not on the High Street. For a similar chair, try the leather sling-back chair,   £350, French Connection Home. For similar sculptures, try the Crane glass top side table, £295, and Golden Turtle, £18.95, both Audenza 

4. Choose animal prints for the bedroom

Animal prints are back on the catwalk, so don't be afraid to get adventurous in the bedroom and dress up your sleep sanctuary with them, adding leather fringes and pom-pom tassels for good measure. Go for a smouldering dark backdrop and offset with pops of colour and metal finishes. Complete the look with come-to-bed eye cushions of course! 

dark and wild bedroom

Sexy snakeskin wallpaper, £99 per roll; Grey leather tassel chandelier, £220; Spotted leopard coin bank, £65; Eiffel black and gold bedside table, £150; Tassel cotton cushion in mustard, £35; Look at Me Eyes cushion, £85; Luxe edition pom-pom blanket in slate grey, £260, Rockett St George

5. Create a clash with furniture

Gone are the days of matchy-matchy furniture. Pairing cool greys with splashes of vibrant ochre can pack a real visual punch. Have a mash-up of block colour and pattern on your walls, combining wide monochrome stripes with your favourite shade to ramp up the scheme.

eclectic living room with stripe wallpaper

Hygena Angel fabric chair   in lime/yellow, £249.99; Hygena Aliso two-seater fabric sofa in light grey, £379.99; Helena glass table, £89.99; Rushcombe light wood and grey floor lamp, £45; Chunky bubble large wine/gin glass, £15 for a set of four, Argos

6. Hang a super-sized mural

Taken from an original painting in plaster and ink, this striking Chinese tree will give maximum impact in a large space. A living room or bedroom would suit this painterly style and colours, and it can be hung in repeat, used with dado and picture rails and cropped to suit all ceiling heights. Pick out cushions and accessories in the two main colours – blush pink and mustard yellow – to tie the look together. Find more gorgeous murals in our feature.

Chinese tree mural

Chinese Tree in blush mural wallpaper, £395, Anna Jacobs Art

(Image credit: Anna Jacob Art)

7. Introduce a rug with a maxed out pattern

Create a feeling of comfort with velvet upholstery but give it a maximalist slant with contrasting patterns – geometrics (in the rug) are a hot trend for the year ahead and clash beautifully with the more trad print on the wall panel. 

Living room with maximalist design by John Lewis

Meghan armchair in Harriet Rose, £749; Melena small pink side table, £119; Sessari Geo rug, £495, all John Lewis 

(Image credit: John Lewis)

8 - 11. Style it to the max with these statement buys

bold green pendant light

vibrant cushion

Marimekko Kaalimetsa cushion, £39, Abode Living  

abstract trinket dish

Tiger scene trinket dish, £9.50, Oliver Bonas

monochrome armchair

Daborn armchair in geometric black and white, £695, Habitat 

Love this? Find more design inspiration here:

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