A burst of colours, textures and prints in your home creates an exotic and vibrant vibe
BY MALATI K. VIJAY
The writer is a Bengaluru-based freelance journalist and content consultant. Formerly with the Times of India, Economic Times and Livingetc
India, she writes primarily on design, art and lifestyle. She also enjoys giving a healthy twist to various cuisines.
Cocooned in our homes for two years, we tried to surround ourselves with bold and beautiful things for solace. We searched online for beautiful objects to pep up our homes, pulled out old collectibles and rearranged them, dusted grandma’s trunk and painted it in a bright shade. We sought out beautiful furniture, eclectic blends of colours, accessories, art and textiles, and created charming ‘insta-worthy’ displays. We threw a profusion of vibrant cushions, brought in as many plants as our interiors could hold. This celebration of hues, graphic patterns, florals, disparate shapes and forms… chaotic and kitschy to some, are life-affirming to others. This trend, that interior experts call maximalism, was seen across the world as it coped with illness and loss.
A maximalist approach to home decor, with its more-is-less attitude, brings warmth, an aura of abundance and reassurance during these times of uncertainty. After all, for long, maximalism was the privilege of the wealthy, of those who had lots to exhibit. Indians have essentially been maximalists. When our art, architecture and diverse cuisines are so steeped in richness and sumptuousness, why wouldn’t our spaces be?
The good news, according to trend forecasts, is that maximalism is here to stay in 2022. If you want to experience the joys of striking design and OTT expressions, now is the time to channel your creativity. Maximalism allows you to put yourself out there whether you want to be whimsical, quirky, sensual… you can express yourself freely. Bright walls, wallpapers, statement furniture pieces, rich drapes and rugs, captivating table-top décor, splendid lights, large artworks, sculptural plants… they all help achieve a maximal appeal.
It is all about display – don’t shy away from showing off your collections whether it is art, antiques, memorabilia related to travel, music, books, sports, or nature finds. Go all out to reveal your love for shiny, glamorous things, or any other objects that are close to your heart. This kind of nostalgia-driven aesthetic is highly individualistic and inviting. Maximalism showcases a dramatic play of design that grabs attention and coaxes the eye to wander from one place to another, inviting visual interest. Maximalism, however, is tricky. If not done artfully, and without keen attention to detail, it could easily look tacky.
When dealing with an array of bold and contrasting elements, achieving order is important. You can’t just bundle together a whole lot of unrelated things. You need a trained eye and enough visual relief to make it work.
“Our main rule is to keep the backdrop neutral and have stand-out foregrounds made up of scaled-up accessories, glorious play of patterns, larger-than-life artworks,” says Sachin Gupta of Delhi-based BEYOND DESIGNS, a proud maximalist, whose forte is to meld diverse design styles and influences from around the globe. Blending objects of different sizes and finishes — large and small, rough and glossy, raw and sophisticated — creates a visual balance.
For example, you could put together a table-top display using wooden candle stands of varying heights, a vintage decorative box, a crystal vase and photo frames of different sizes in a gold finish. All objects should look like they belong in the space, and tell the same story. “It is important to create a theme for each space so that you can tie all elements together. That way, each space tells a tale of its own,” says Gupta.
Maximalism is all about juxtaposing and blending various layers of materials, colours, textures and shapes. Layering lends depth and character to spaces and needs to be done keeping the rhythm of the environment in mind. You may sometimes need the elements to complement or contrast one another to make it work.
“With maximalism, you are not at the mercy of symmetry, so you can mix and layer patterns and shapes. But you need to have a proper vision, and keep an eye on the aesthetic outcome,” says furniture and interior designer Neeta Kumar of Hyderabad-based INHABIT, who is steadfastly anti- minimal. Neeta feels maximalism is not for everybody. “It is a whole package; you can’t do it in half measure. It is a complex process that takes time, and you need patience to realise your vision. It is not a DIY activity,” she says.
You could start by creating small corners that highlight a bold fusion. Create a feature wall using diverse artworks, photographs and wall art where the frames are of varying size and style, yet connect visually. Ensure enough negative space so that the wall doesn’t look overwhelming. If you add a console with some diverse décor objects on it to this scheme, you would be taking another step towards restrained maximalism.
“Careful curation of objects and styling separates maximalism from clutter. Keeping an eye out for symmetry brings a sense of balance,” says SANJYT SYNGH, Delhi-based luxury interior designer. He believes in the ‘extra’ element to enhance spaces, and sometimes that ‘extra’ something could be a life-sized Tree Cabinet by Scarlet Splendour or ‘Giraffe in Love’ by Qeeboo, a giraffe holding a chandelier. Unexpected
and playful, these striking features create a unique space. “When combined thoughtfully with attention to detail, an eclectic combination of mismatched figures and patterns results in harmonious spaces that are a visual treat,” he says.
Creating a mood board helps eliminate confusion. “Most importantly, you need to know when to stop adding elements to the scheme, or when to take away one to make it look just perfect,” says Syngh.
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