First off, what you need to know about maximalism is that it is the epitome of statement interior design. It is in no way a nondescript look—it’s a design movement which only the very bravest attempt. When it comes to the nonconformist interior style, no element is simply there for the sake of being there—every element has a purpose and is impressive in its own right.
This is an idea well-understood by LuxDeco 100 top interior designer Kelly Wearstler, the LA-based interior designer to the stars which has many followers renouncing the minimalist life for one that’s colourful, surprising and larger than life.
The South Carolinian tells us, “I view my interiors as sculptures. I want to create a sense of adventure with artful pieces that tell a story.” An adventure is just what you’ll get when you experience the interiors of this maximalist mastermind—a full-on, sensory one which inspires in a way that only it can.
And whilst Kelly’s style is practically inimitable, her style is just too lust-worthy to miss out on trying to grasp the basics. Here are four tips for achieving the Kelly Wearstler look.
Colour is Currency
They say that colour is the easiest way to instantly update a room, as any maximalist knows all too well. Whilst minimalism is subtly confident, maximalism is unabashedly so. Where minimalism favours a blank canvas, maximalism takes that canvas and paints it with gusto. (And very colourfully, might we add.) Whilst Kelly has the quintessential old Hollywood glamour palettes (Art Deco monochrome, for example) perfected to a fine art, her boundary-pushing use of vibrant tones shows her comfortability with the colour calling card.
Accessories Aren’t Accessories
Maximalism laughs at the prospect of accessories as solely room additions. Instead, amaximalist room is the sum of its outstanding pieces and is built around its smorgasbord of individual components. As the antithesis of clean and clutter-free minimalism, rooms are chock-full of eclectic, oversized and sculptural shapes, objets and artwork which are as directional as its furniture. Above, the ornamental table lamps, a sculptural suspension light and a unique horse sculpture transcend the accessories pigeonhole and become some of this dining room’s key players.
Bigger Is Better
"Go big or go home” seems to be the catch phrase for maximalism and any of its proponents. Kelly is known for using oversized designs which act as focal points for a room or create a buzzy vibe without being too busy. Her tabletop vignettes aren’t full of delicate trinkets but, instead, treasures which can hold their own. Colossal wooden heads, metal spiked spheres and life-sized anatomical casts are recognisably Wearstler.
Patterns Are Everywhere
There’s hardly a surface untouched by pattern in a maximalist interior and Kelly is the master of pattern play. The living room of this New York apartment proves that unconventional moves pay off big time in the style stakes. By combining contrasting motifs which are less eclectic and more cohesive, the designer's creations are full of life without being overbearing. Geometrics, gestural paint strokes and natural patterns—think veined marble and wood grain—are some of her go-tos for creating a sensory experience.