The field of design is always changing, with trends falling in and out of favor. In recent years, more designers from all areas of the field have turned away from the simplicity of minimalism and have decided to go for maximalism. This design trend is not new in any way but recently people have taken a shine to the garish and almost overwhelming style this presents. 

Everyone from interior decorators to visual designers are now taking it up. But what is maximalism?

Learn what’s maximalism is all about including its components as well as how you can use it effectively in your designs?

What is Maximalism?

Maximalism is a school of thought in design that encourages designers to put as much color, textures and styles in their creations. For years, maximalism was considered overlooked because it was considered too garish and overwhelming. 

Maximalism is practiced in visual design as well as interior design. For example, in visual design, a maximalist designer can use different colors and put in a lot of elements in a single work of art. This can create works that look visually striking and extremely colorful. In interior design, maximalism involves as many different things as possible. 

Color schemes may clash, there may be assorted pieces of furniture and décor all lumped together in a single room. 

What are the Elements of Maximalism?

Paint Brushes Inside Clear Plastic Cups
Using different colors are an effective way to achieve maximalism.

Although maximalism may seem disorganized, effective maximalism uses several elements in conjunction with each other to produce the desired aesthetic. These elements may be different, depending on what field the designer wants to apply it on. 

Generally speaking, the four elements below are some of the most common and prevalent components of maximalist designs. 

Learning more about them may help you perfect your own maximalist project.

  • Layers

A maximalist piece often incorporates multiple layers, whether that’s layers of décor or art material. For example, a maximalist painting will have many layers of paint to create jarring and surprising effects on the canvas. 

When it comes to maximalist interior design, this could involve putting down multiple carpets and rugs on a floor to make a pleasing blur of riotous color. Multiple layers gives a space or a work of art some depth and different elements to look at.

  • Colors

No maximalist design will have just a handful of colors. Maximalism gives designers and artists plenty of leeway in using as many colors and in as garish a color palette as they want. Complimentary colors may share spaces with contrasting hues. 

An artist may use multiple splashes of pain in a single artwork in different colors. Interior designers will use differently colored cushions, rugs and paintings to create a very vibrant atmosphere in a room.

  • Textures

Although this element is primarily explored by interior designers, this can also appear in art. Textures create diversity not just in visual experience but also with tactile enjoyment. 

For example, a designer could put smooth silken thrown pillows atop thick and wooly rugs for an interesting living room set up. An artist can evoke texture by using different kinds of paints and material on their work such as flakes of gold and rich creamy oils or washed-out watercolors. 

How Can You Use Maximalism Effectively?

A person holding papers with scissors beside it
Designers need to handle maximalism carefully to achieve beautiful effects.

Maximalism can easily veer into overwhelming and garish in a bad way if handled inexpertly. It has to be handled deftly if you want to create a pleasing effect with all the elements involved. 

Maximalism isn’t just about cramming as many different elements and colors in a single space or gathering as many kitschy items in one room. 

Below are some ways you can use maximalism effectively in your own designs. 

  • Find Unity

Even with so many disparate seeming elements in your design, there should still be unity and harmony among them. For example, the recent trend of cottagecore involves different fabrics, wood surfaces and other quaint items. They have few things in common visually, but they are united by their rural aesthetic.

  • Go For Uniqueness

Some maximalist designers use multiple items of the same type to populate their designs. For example, a maximalist artist might use repeating patterns or motifs to fill their design. An interior decorator could use books or multiple pillows. However, you should use unique and eye-catching items instead. For example, multiple roses may become visually dull in a painting but a whole bouquet of different types of flowers can be bold. 

  • Mix and Match

You can achieve excellent maximalism by using different styles together or by combining different material. 

For example, a painter could use layers of thick acrylic paint alongside softer watercolors for interesting visual appeal. An interior designer may mix furniture and décor from different periods of cultures to create amazing room aesthetics. 

Maximalism needs to be handled carefully if you want to avoid making mistakes and creating huge unsightly messes. Learning how to effectively apply the principles of maximalism can help you understand design even better. 


Like and Spread:
Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top