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November 26, 2021


Words Rachel Balzan Demajo – Interior designer at SAKS

During the thick of the pandemic, people spent most of their time at home. Interiors took a drastic turn from minimalism to maximalism, as homeowners wanted to brighten up their space, and create a den of happiness and cheer. This in turn led to an influx of new ideas, and bold moves, inspired by artists and trend setting designers, that encouraged homeowners to fill up their homes with items they loved and that brought back happy memories.

Décor took on a new personal meaning and finally shifted away from showroom standards. Artwork and paintings were no longer compelled to the centre of a wall, but instead lined up, side by side, haphazardly even, to create a distinct and interesting focal point in the room. Out with the greys and in with the royal colours – sofas and upholstery morphed into warm and textured elements in any given room. Velvet was the choix du jour. It was soft, warm, and inviting but it also evoked a sense of regal and sophistication that previously many family rooms shied away from.

As we enter 2022, with or without the same restrictions we had in the past two years (depends how you look at it), re-invention and creation remain the common themes in a world where ‘watering your own garden’ and ‘nurturing your own being’ has never been so apt. Luckily for us, this means that the maximalism trend is here to stay, and there’s never been a better time to indulge in a few exquisite treats. Rule of thumb, maximalism cannot be abused, neither can it be overdone (ironically!).

Maximalism is the art of putting things together, in a layered fashion, bringing about colour (and shades thereof) drawing the eye to a plethora of artefacts of common theme, be it of a particular period, or a particular material or a set of complementary colours. Maximalism is not a carte blanche to figuratively speaking close your eyes and splatter the paint. It’s a careful approach, done with a high level of taste and love for colour, and for this reason professional advice should be sought. In terms of styles, its highly akin to Victorian and art décor periods, where more was more, so a style direction towards this trend or a merge of the two, is usually a good starting point.

Maximalism can work effectively for a hauntingly beautiful, surreal, and somewhat eery décor, especially when the architecture of the house lends itself to such style. To this effect, we would be looking at high ceilings, panelled walls, ornate archways across doors and other intricate house features that set the mood. In more modern and contemporary builds, with lower ceilings and less architectural drama, we could easily apply boho and vintage accents as the foundation for our maximalism trend. Earthy, retro, playful pieces and tribal accents will work very well in a more laid-back maximalist room.

If you’re a book lover, you’re in luck, as this trend is all about showcasing and displaying whatever you’ve got, and books remain a favourite! We see raw shelving, and sustainable wood displays, full of artefacts, books, treasures and collectibles, a paradise for any hoarder, a nightmare for the minimalist (although it can also be done clutter free)! Then again, balance is key. This overly stated trend will not flow throughout an entire house or apartment. It would be a choice for one or two rooms, typically leisure and family rooms (not bedrooms), that seek to meet the right balance of artistry and individuality, combined with function and sophistication.

Whilst the appeal of minimalism is universally obvious (less clutter, less to clean, easier to handle and requires less input), the appeal of maximalism is a personality expression of life. It is often said that we dream in colour, and that is why sometimes we can recall our vivid dreams. Our daily space should have the same effect – whilst on the one hand we deserve to be calmed and steered away from distraction, on the other hand we must remember that we are all individuals, with a past and a hopeful future, and our expression and energy on how we present ourselves to the world, both in person and as well as in our spaces, should be a direct reflection of this.

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