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8 Expert Tips on How to Do Maximalism Right

Decorist’s creative director Jessica McCarthy shares the low-down on getting high-impact maximalist style

Nena Farrell
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Go for Bold

Curious about maximalist style, and how to bring it into your home? Jessica MCarthy, Decorist’s creative director, shares what she loves about maximalism, a few key tips on how to achieve the look, and one thing to never do in this aesthetic. Project: Podcast Room for Kaitlyn Bristowe
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Defining Maximalism

“Maximalism is a ‘more is more’ approach to design,” she says. “It is all about mixing and matching patterns, textures, materials, and design styles to create a space that is a collection of all things you love while breaking all of the design rules.” Project: Landing by Justina Blakeney
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Designate a Spot

“I think that personal spaces are the best for a maximalist approach,” says McCarthy. “If you live by yourself, your whole home can be a maximalist retreat. If you live with a significant other, you need to keep in mind that not everyone loves wild combinations. A home office, ‘babe cave,’ or special room dedicated to yourself is a great place to start and you can expand from there.” Project: Podcast Room for Kaitlyn Bristowe
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Hone in on a Starting Point

“I believe in always finding a piece to draw inspiration from when starting a project. Personally, I always use wallpaper as my jumping off point. For Gray Malin’s pool house, Justina Blakeney’s landing, and Kaitlyn Bristowe’s podcast room projects, the wallpaper was sourced first, which led to each space’s overall theme. You can create a very maximalist look by sourcing a patterned wallpaper with lots of contrast, color, or even texture and then juxtaposing that with something in a completely different style.” Project: Pool House for Gray Malin
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Mix Patterns

“Combining textures and patterns is a sure way to create a maximalist space,” says McCarthy. “Don’t stop at the obvious. Patterns can be used on rugs, ceilings, throw pillows, accessories, wallpaper, and upholstery!” Project: Landing by Justina Blakeney
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Over-Accessorize

“Take your room design to the next level by styling your space with accessories, art, pottery, decorative objects, plants, and floral arrangements. When you think you are done, add one more thing.” Project: Pool House for Gray Malin
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Combine Design Styles

“The best advice I could give on creating a maximalist space is to combine as many different styles as you can,” she says. “A Louis XIV chair would go maximalist next to a glamorous Milo Baughman sofa along with a contemporary side table and traditional table lamp.” Project: Landing by Justina Blakeney
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Make a Connection

“Although you are combining a lot of different styles, colors, textures, and patterns, it’s important that there is a cohesive feel to the space, whether it be exotic, whimsical, sophisticated, or artsy. This is the biggest challenge with maximalism design. Find a way to connect every item to another to make the space really work.” Project: Podcast Room for Kaitlyn Bristowe
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Stay Low-Budget

“Scour flea markets and garage sales for accessories to layer in a room. I also love ‘shopping my own house’ for repurposing pieces from one room to another,” says McCarthy. Project: Landing by Justina Blakeney
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Don’t Be Matchy-Matchy

“Be sure you are combining a minimum of two different design styles, two different pattern, and two different textures to be sure you reach your full maximalist potential.” Project: Pool House for Gray Malin
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