Home DecorInterior Design

The elusive and powerful charm of maximal Interior Design

(5 min read) 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.

Colorful Maximalism Interior Design
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.

Maximalist interior design living room.
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.

Maximalist Interior design living room
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?

Sunny and colorful maximalist sitting area.
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.

Maximalism interior design in the kitchen and dining room.
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 interiors.
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.

Beautiful maximalism interiors
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?

Maximalism interior design living room
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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M. Belosh

M. Belosh

Passionate art enthusiast; avid reader (you can find me on Goodreads under the same name); movie connoisseur; intolerable before my morning coffee.

63 Comments

  1. Neely Moldovan
    February 19, 2020 at 12:47 pm — Reply

    Oh wow these are SO PRETTY! I love seeing what others do for interior design

  2. Amber Myers
    February 19, 2020 at 1:15 pm — Reply

    If I tried to set up a room like these, my husband would ask if Liberace threw up, ha. I like all the color, but it’s almost too much. I’d admire the rooms in other people’s houses though.

  3. Tara Pittman
    February 19, 2020 at 3:38 pm — Reply

    The bedroom with the ferns on the wall is so awesome. I would love for my bedroom to look like that

  4. Lisa
    February 19, 2020 at 3:40 pm — Reply

    The design ideas in this post are so unique! I’ve never heard of maximalism before but it’s given me idea for thought!

  5. Stephanie
    February 19, 2020 at 4:15 pm — Reply

    I’ve never heard the term “maximalism” before. While it personally isn’t my style (I thrive in minimalism) I have seen it done very tastefully before.

  6. G
    February 19, 2020 at 4:26 pm — Reply

    So much going on with this interior design!! You will never get bored in any of those rooms!

  7. Whitney Morrow
    February 19, 2020 at 4:58 pm — Reply

    I’ve never heard of this, but I actually really love it! Looks so artsy

  8. Holly
    February 19, 2020 at 5:57 pm — Reply

    These are impressive spaces. It’s definitely busier than I think I would want in my home, but I would appreciate visiting them.

  9. Marie Phillips
    February 19, 2020 at 8:33 pm — Reply

    Wow, I have never heard of maximalism before. Everything looks beautiful and well placed. But I don’t think I could keep up with the maintenance. You must actually be very organized to do this and I am not organized enough. Some beautiful rooms though!

  10. Prakhar Kasera
    February 20, 2020 at 1:56 am — Reply

    Wow! This is something I was looking for. My home is being renovated and I needed some ideas for the interiors, I think I will use ideas from this post. Those drawing rooms really look nice and ambient.

  11. Cristina Petrini
    February 20, 2020 at 3:54 am — Reply

    Let’s say that these colorful and baroque interiors are definitely not my style. In my opinion you must have a bohemian spirit for such a house.

  12. Melanie williams
    February 20, 2020 at 8:16 am — Reply

    I am lovine all these looks for sure. My fav is the Perfect maximalist corner design by Firmdale Hotels – very chic xx

  13. Suman D
    February 20, 2020 at 9:15 am — Reply

    Maximal works for me, but I feel its too much of cleaning involved 🙂 Sometimes we hoard things and it might look messy. Very few people can crack the fine line between cluttered and maximal design.

  14. YE
    February 20, 2020 at 10:10 am — Reply

    I do get your point and the design amidst the ‘mess’ and content which is too many actually works so well and beautifully and to my opinion enhances each room. Totally love it.

  15. Jeph Marquez
    February 20, 2020 at 10:23 am — Reply

    I often heard about minimalism especially when topic is about interior designing and this is the time I read about maximalism. This is a great post. I am moving soon to a new place and planning to just keep only few of my stuff but after reading this I realize why should I get rid of my things. I will just need to be creative and research more about maximalist sitting

  16. Sarah M
    February 20, 2020 at 11:15 am — Reply

    I believe minimalism would be a better idea for home having small kids. Maximalism is what I liked and I have showed some of this creativity in my own room. I have learned something new from your post.

  17. Sarah M
    February 20, 2020 at 11:17 am — Reply

    I believe minimalism would be a better idea for home having small kids. Maximalism is what I liked and I have shown some of this creativity in my own room. I have learned something new from your post.

  18. Heather
    February 20, 2020 at 11:28 am — Reply

    I feel like we’ve always lived the maximal lifestyle. Now that we have a family, I am so ready for the minimal.

  19. Ramelle
    February 20, 2020 at 11:44 am — Reply

    I can sure agree with what you called a latent hoarder, this is fine as long as you keep it nice and organized.

  20. Sue-Tanya Mchorgh
    February 20, 2020 at 12:19 pm — Reply

    I’ve never really been a fan of maximal interior designs but these images in this post are making me want to consider. Loving the Maximalist living room

  21. Ashley R
    February 20, 2020 at 1:09 pm — Reply

    The book hoarding in a controlled environment is my kind of dream. I dont keep books because I have such a small house but I have dreamt of a space like this.

  22. Melissa Cushing
    February 20, 2020 at 2:42 pm — Reply

    I love the bright and bold design of the rooms. They are a bit too busy for me but they are still super beautiful 🙂 I have gone more minimalistic when design is concerned.

  23. Margaret | Live Like No On Else
    February 20, 2020 at 2:56 pm — Reply

    Holy cow. That is definitely maximal. I get anxiety just looking at those pictures. LOL. It’s interesting how different people are. Some being maximalists and some being minimalists. I fall into the latter. But it’s interesting seeing it though. Kind of reminds of of an antique shop. Just full of cool and interesting things. I like looking at it, but wouldn’t want it in my home. 🙂

  24. Jody
    February 20, 2020 at 4:05 pm — Reply

    These are so pretty! I love this

  25. Rupal Srivastava
    February 20, 2020 at 4:06 pm — Reply

    Vow so pretty! All these designs are so unique and colorful. I have to redesign my new home, definitely taking some inspiration from these.

  26. Jay Aguirre
    February 20, 2020 at 4:53 pm — Reply

    Wow! When done well, this is really an incredible approach to interior design. I prefer sleek and minimalist myself but absolutely love some of the interiors that you’ve featured here.

  27. Krysten Quiles
    February 20, 2020 at 7:27 pm — Reply

    My decorating style is more minimal even though I am DIGGING this style as well. Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us!

  28. Angel
    February 20, 2020 at 7:33 pm — Reply

    Very insightful! I can appreciate this approach, though, I wish I had more space (and funds) to fully indulge in it.

  29. Myrah Duque
    February 20, 2020 at 9:10 pm — Reply

    I think that if I had to choose between being maximal and minimalists, I would go for the later. Too much makes me dizzy.

  30. Cindy Ingalls
    February 20, 2020 at 9:21 pm — Reply

    I guess I’m more minimalist than I thought because all these hurt my eyes and my senses. The first one with the books I might be able to live with.

  31. Christa
    February 20, 2020 at 10:12 pm — Reply

    I actually love this style but I’m not sure I could have it in my home. But every room pictured is so gorgeous. Maybe I should try it?

  32. aisasami
    February 20, 2020 at 10:46 pm — Reply

    I like using maximal space as I tend to have a lot of items that is important I. A small space. It isn’t bad to maxima space if you do it right.

  33. Kareena
    February 20, 2020 at 10:47 pm — Reply

    This was a fantastic article! My husband loves to “collect” things and I always say to put them out of my eye sight, but if we could implement and follow these rules, I think our home would be filled with character, rather than “stuff”. Thanks for sharing.

  34. Dris Wallace
    February 21, 2020 at 1:17 am — Reply

    These are all great tips! I always overdo it with my decorating! And I change my mind all the time, lol!

  35. Kathy Kenny Ngo
    February 21, 2020 at 4:25 am — Reply

    Before I would have loved this kind of design but it seems that the more I got older, the more minimalism works for me. I think the one design I can still handle would be the bookshelves.

  36. Lyosha
    February 21, 2020 at 4:36 am — Reply

    it looks special but I know it is not for me. I perfer more open minimal looks. however photos do look inspiring

  37. Joanna
    February 21, 2020 at 5:09 am — Reply

    I think that you need to be very creative in order to create a functional space when you are following this trend. Personally, I prefer minimalism.

  38. catherine santiago jose
    February 21, 2020 at 6:51 am — Reply

    Wow! This is kind of interior design is a blast and very mesmerizing. I never thought this is so good to the eye and the combination is perfect.

  39. Jackline A
    February 21, 2020 at 8:31 am — Reply

    wow really pretty decor. I love the bold colors. I do prefer less than more though.

  40. Angela Cote
    February 21, 2020 at 9:56 am — Reply

    I love looking at all kinds of different designs. That wall in the first photo is amazing! These are places I would love to go and sit and have tea and get inspired.

  41. jenny
    February 21, 2020 at 10:07 am — Reply

    wow! This is beautiful and impressive. I liked the Maximalist living room for latent book-hoarders.

  42. Rochelle Stivers
    February 21, 2020 at 10:25 am — Reply

    This makes me want to redecorate my entire house. Not even joking. Such beautiful interior design ideas!

  43. David Elliott
    February 21, 2020 at 12:38 pm — Reply

    Definitely a different take on design than the minimalism. I can understand why you appreciate it. It does make order out of chaos. I suppose it depends on the type of person you are which looks and works better for you.

  44. Angela Sedlak
    February 21, 2020 at 2:12 pm — Reply

    LOVE these I am all about the Maximalist living room for latent book-hoarders. But interested in the idea of having it as part of the kitchen for a large collection of cookbooks. Love that it’s alive and lived in with style.

  45. S
    February 21, 2020 at 3:26 pm — Reply

    I love the library room! I have always wanted a room filled with books in my home!

  46. TW
    February 21, 2020 at 4:18 pm — Reply

    First time to read about maximalism and I didn’t know that this can be such a good interior design style. Love all these photos showing them.

  47. Kim
    February 21, 2020 at 5:35 pm — Reply

    Nice decor and use of space

  48. Michelle
    February 21, 2020 at 6:15 pm — Reply

    Great design ideas!

  49. Elizabeth Grider
    February 21, 2020 at 8:46 pm — Reply

    I haven’t heard of maximalism before but it’s interesting! Like you, I love books and have several filled shelves. I wish I could fit it in as beautifully as you’ve shown.

  50. Fransic verso
    February 22, 2020 at 12:44 am — Reply

    This is wonderful interior designs. I like how colorful it is because it feels pretty to look it.

  51. NAti
    February 22, 2020 at 6:31 am — Reply

    Oh, my that was something I just learnt! I had no idea maximalism could be beneficial for people with latent hoarder disorder. Thanks for the beautiful photo gallery!

  52. Pati Robins
    February 22, 2020 at 6:40 am — Reply

    i have myself a maximal interior and wouldnt have it any other way

  53. Nigar RAHMAN
    February 22, 2020 at 8:59 am — Reply

    Really gorgeous and stunning home decoration!Love these all!

  54. Alexis
    February 22, 2020 at 12:39 pm — Reply

    I love the bold colors and such but this design wouldn’t work in our home. I can’t be surrounded by so much stuff, makes me crazy.

  55. Maria
    February 23, 2020 at 12:58 am — Reply

    These designs are fascinating. I would love to grab some of these ideas on my living room especially the bookshelves

  56. Chelsea Sauvé
    February 23, 2020 at 10:04 pm — Reply

    I’ve read so much about minimalism, this was a fascinating read on maximalism! Thanks so much for sharing the photos as examples of the vision – stunning.

  57. Trisha Mishra
    February 24, 2020 at 12:53 am — Reply

    Maximalism is under-rated primarily due to all the buzz surrounding minimalism! I might be down for it if I can get some one to dust all that everyday 🙂

  58. Scott Gombar
    February 24, 2020 at 8:12 am — Reply

    These all look great but I wonder how easy it is to maintain. I would think it’s not too far away from clutter and with my kids not too far away from total devastation.

  59. Nicole Bertrand
    February 24, 2020 at 1:06 pm — Reply

    I have family members that are really good at this type of interior design. I feel like, with kids, it’s just bound to look messy and “hord-ish”. But maybe when we’re empty-nesters we can try this approach!

  60. Kez
    February 25, 2020 at 8:38 am — Reply

    I’m more of a minimalist myself, but I can see the appeal of some of these designs.

  61. Jessica Collazo
    February 26, 2020 at 9:37 pm — Reply

    This are some amazing interior design proposals.

  62. Ruth I
    February 26, 2020 at 11:52 pm — Reply

    This really shows one’s creativity through scraps and waste for the others. But you see it as a beautiful art and can be an extreme make over if you just know how to use it right. I also love to experiment on things especially when I feel bored.

  63. I
    March 12, 2020 at 10:43 am — Reply

    I do like maximal design. The abundance of shapes and colors always brings a nice vibe to a space. And it allows for so much creativity as well!

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