More is More: 10 Maximalist Homes

by Sabrina Smelko

The antithesis of minimalist design — which boasts clean lines, neutral color palettes and simple furnishings where belongings are stowed away or done without — maximalist style is dramatically daring and often laughs in the face of most design rules. With this design aesthetic being a feast for the eyes, maximalists believe more is more and embellished is better.

Harder to pull off than the in-vogue, all-white trend, maximalism comes with the risk of bordering into the land of kitsch or looking forced; but when executed right, it’s not just a look that’s worth the leap of faith, but one that celebrates personality and can be oh-so liberating. If you adore playing around with color, texture, pattern, and scale — and you’re not satisfied until you’ve found just the right quirky pieces for all of your home’s surfaces — then maximalism is most definitely for you. If you agree that more is more, then these 10 maximalist homes will tickle you pink (and yellow and blue and…). –Sabrina

Despite how it may come across at first glance, maximalism is an evolution and practice in adding and subtracting. It's about not being afraid to take away things as much as it is about not being afraid to add things. This live-work loft does a beautiful job of filling every space without looking busy or forced, thanks to the homeowners' curative approach to decorating.
This loft -- in a word -- is gutsy (as the title suggests). Mixing hues that oppose on the color wheel, it embraces sparkle and pizzaz and scoffs at the status quo. After all, life is short, and waking up to piñatas and streamers can't not put a smile on your face.
For the maximalist homeowners, it's hard sticking to one era or style. Rather, myriad looks are embraced and flaunted to create a graphic look. In this French abode, mixing pieces in various styles and from different eras creates automatic visual interest and adds personality to the home.
Home to designer Peaches Freund, what this Illinois home lacks in square footage it makes up for (and then some) in personality. One of the greatest things about maximalism, which is showcased in this home, is the permission it gives homeowners to take ownership of the things they love and display them how they wish, no matter how atypical or unrelated the pairings may be.
If something makes you happy, it surely deserves a place in your home. Rather than stowing away the things you use and the things you love, put them on display and have them at-the-ready. It may not be everyone's form, but there's no arguing its function. In this colorful English home, rolls of toilet paper, face towels, and perfume bottles become part of the decor.
In just 400 square feet, Tarajia Morrell's studio in NYC is all about clever placement and layering textures. With limited space for big furniture pieces, she deliberately chose to include just a handful of bold, larger-than-life pieces and paired them with some smaller-ticket items such as artwork, pillows, and throws.
One of my favorite attributes of maximalism is how utilitarian and at-the-ready it can be. Home to Christine Schmidt, this San Francisco home squeezes usable, livable space and storage out of every nook, cranny and corner possible.
In this home, creativity, family and color are king. With no fear, the homeowners used various patterned wallpapers, bold statement rugs, and ceramics in all shapes and sizes.
Juliet's home proves that maximal can also be moody. It doesn't always have to insist on bold combinations of color -- sometimes it's simply the level of layers you create and the textures of those layers that bring a room from Boring-ville to Awesome-town.
And don't forget to infuse color, pattern and texture into those places where it may not seem obvious -- much like the homeowner of this Santa Cruz Victorian achieved on the staircase by decking it out with fun, mismatched tiles. Paired with a bold wall color and plenty of art, it's loud and makes a statement without feeling cluttered or busy.

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  • I love maximalism! I always wish that I could pull off the sleek lines of minimalism, but my home just doesn’t feel like me unless the walls are absolutely covered and colorful! I’m glad to see this style getting some recognition.

  • Like anything that goes beyond the middle of the road, tried and true, it takes a strong personality and well-developed taste to pull of maximalism. Otherwise it’s hoarding.

  • I especially love the layered mirrors and the non-traditional bouquets prevalent in a few of these (huskcherries?) Thanks for providing inspiration that says it’s okay to go beyond pale tones and all white. I have felt so discouraged by the minimalist trend and I appreciate that D*S is encouraging me to be myself!

  • I enjoy seeing minimalist design, yet can’t live with it. It gets boring, living in a work of art. I wrote this quote on my wall: “That which we elect to surround ourselves with becomes the museum of our soul and the archives of our experiences.” – Thomas Jefferson

  • I love maximalism and really appreciate the homes that you show that reflect that style. So fun and interesting and inspiring. Thank you!

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