Maximalism is here to stay!

Maximalism is here to stay!

This year, when it comes to decorating interiors, more is better. Because, in the end, it’s stories and memories, not things, that make a home, avers Nisha Ravindranathan

Sure. IKEA hacks seem like fun, that is until you encounter yet another ‘how-to blog’ – what is it, the thousandth one to appear on your RSS feed? And of course, you could go neutral colours, clean lines, sleek accents – the Swedish minimal way – but you should also know that it’s no longer cool. In fact, calling it boring is the understatement of the year. No pun intended.

Make your way instead, towards Maximalism. Not only is it the perfect antidote to hackneyed austerity, there’s just so much more in store here for everyone – excitement, the space to experiment, drama — not to mention ample opportunity to put everything that’s daring, bold and fun about your own personality on display. Newbies to Interiors Anonymous, trust me when I say, home is where the start is.

RIP, less is no more

True story. Maximalism is out there — it’s loud and it’s proud. And as far as decoding the design sensibility behind maximalism goes, well that’s just the kicker – there isn’t one! Maximalism is about dynamism and evolution. It celebrates the fact that the only constant is change. You can do with it what you will, still make an impact style wise, call it your own and call it a design sensibility.

So, for those of you who love playing with colours, patterns, textures and scales, those who think even a lot of embellishment only just goes a little way, and those of you who have collections of collections – this is your moment in the sun. Love it and live it up to the hilt. This writer’s list is only here to tell a story of our own maximal-adventures.

Why pick a favourite colour when you can embrace a whole palette? Bright colours, either in stark contrast to each other, or complementary colours from the same, if slightly unusual family, are often the first hint that you’re walking into a world of endless possibilities.

Become friends with paint, unless you’re one of those who loved wallpaper long before hipsters claimed it for themselves. Either way, you can mix and match shades and patterns to your heart’s content — the bolder, the quirkier, the better!Statement lighting goes a long way.

You know that elaborate chandelier you though was just darling? Add further visual interest to it by giving it a home in a cosy corner in place of a candelabra. For those who choose to go contemporary, end up choosing light fixtures that are more modern in their styling — just go all out instead and bring in your A-game.

Throw some floor lamps, table lamps and twinkly lights into the mix in as many shapes, sizes, colours and style that you can find, and you’re all set. Set high benchmarks when it comes to furniture. For once, forget about what the decorators think. Instead, think theatrical, think busy, think of the room you’re doing up as an elaborate production – then set the tone with furniture.

Forget what goes with what. Instead, start with a few select pieces that anchor the whole space. There’s the sofa, the chairs, perhaps a table (or sidetables depending on the shape and size of your room) and a dresser, then build up your layers in stages (yes, pun intended). Here’s where your drapes or blinds, rugs and throws, lamps, art, books and collectibles all come into play. More on each of these later.

Meanwhile, what’s important to remember here is that in a maximalist home, there’s no such thing as an ‘arrangement’, a standard talking point for visitors, and most certainly no such thing as too much furniture. The art you collect, just like your books, is a reflection of your personality. Put it out there for everyone to see.

A true maximalist looks at a blank wall and sees only wasted opportunity. The question is not ‘does it go’, but, ‘will it fit’? And when buying either art, or when stacking shelves or sills, corner alcoves or coffee table tops with precious literature, stick to only one rule – Shakespeare’s very own – “to thine own self be true.”

Say yes to texture and layers. Wallpaper, murals, wall art, decals, staid silhouettes and playful water colours framed back to back, blinds, drapes, curtains of every kind – silk, velvet, lace, organza, jute, cotton – sporting patterns and weaves, a casual throw here, a gorgeous mat there, and of course, to tie it all together, indoor greens, casual cushions, quirky odds and ends – a cabinet full of curiosities perhaps, or vases of every shape, size and colour.

Everything else...

Play around with scale or decorate around a single point of spectacular visual interest, either way, remember, when it comes to layering in a maximalist home, there’s no such thing as a contradiction, and more is always less.

When it comes to your floors, make sure they too, are dressed to kilim! Besides a wide variety of flooring options – marble, granite and other stones, wood, terracotta, tiles, mosaics – that can also be mixed and matched, don’t forget to think of these as an opportunity to add colour as well as charisma to your space. If your ceiling can boast mood lighting, then your floors deserve their own fair share of carpeting too.

Be proud of your home. You know all those knick-knacks you picked up when travelling – what everyone else so tackily call “souvenirs”? Well, they’re in fact so much more – all your wall plates, your flags, magnets and mugs, your postcards on memory boards and maps (even if tattered from use) – each of these, is an extension of your own wayfaring, curious and delightful personality.

Add further quirk and eccentric interest by displaying these, alongside your other collections: jars and bottles that hold your greens, pressed flowers peeking out of lovingly scoured first editions, a collection of vintage dollhouses that started when your great-grandmother passed hers along down generations, antiques and flea market finds that you never could resist, boutique buys, decoupage and other craft projects – yes even the incomplete ones, seashells from a lazy tropical getaway spilling from a centre table bowl, and every other odd and end that you never had the heart to give away because they held sentimental value.

If people stare, it’s only because you’ve nailed Maximalism. Because in the end, it’s stories and memories, not ‘things’, that make a home.

(The author is founding editor, www.forbetterorverse.com)

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