Choose a custom-made wallpaper planned around the furniture in your room | pic: 5feet4 Design Studio

The optimistic air of this year’s festive season has permeated through design and decor as well. After years of experimenting with various ways to project austerity, home owners are welcoming the richer Modern Maximalist look.

What does it mean?

With no cookie-cutter definition in and of itself, Modern Maximalism celebrates freedom and artistic flair inviting you to enhance your space with precious mementos, keepsakes, and nostalgic photos. “I love the romanticism of the Modern Maximalist trend that harks back to the Victorian age. While today’s representation may be more refined and planned out, it’s the sense of discovery that holds the key to this look,” says celebrity interior designer Sussanne Khan, Creative Director, Avas Living.

Modern Maximalist home décor is a style that is all about living with the things you love. “One doesn’t necessarily have to be a collector or hoarder of things, though displaying objects from trips around the world and vintage objects that have been passed on over generations is excellent,” says Aditi Murarka Agrawal, Co-founder of online home decor store Nestasia. More is more when it comes to this decor trend, which is good news for us texture and colour-doting Indians.

Lighter walls and bare floors along with dark bold colours or patterns are the main elements of this design. A vibrant wallpaper highlighting the ceiling gives a soothing feel. “People are eager to put big planters, and accent pieces they have collected from different places while travelling. They want to fill up their homes with art and décor,” says architect and interior designer Aatika Manzar.

Have a collection of bright artworks and sofa in accent colour against a plain wall

Have a collection of bright artworks and sofa in accent colour against a plain wall | pic: Aatika Manzar

Organised chaos

The tricky part about Modern Maximalist interiors is adding elements without it looking overwhelming or overbearing. There is an order to the chaos. “The key is to pick the right colour palette, create a sense of harmonious balance between prints and patterns, and ensure the space doesn’t look cluttered,” says Apoorva Shroff, Founder and Principal Architect, lyth Design. A pop of colour in different corners is preferable to a haphazard collage. This is why gold and metallic accents are great additions in the interiors. Try not to botch being a maximalist with having a jumbled space. Throw in some plush geometric rugs rather than having assorted knick-knacks that hold no nostalgia nor appeal. “Modern Maximalist rooms are slyly brightened with a ‘more will be more’ theory,” says Raghunanadan Saraf, Founder and CEO, Saraf Furniture. For example, for a residential project’s indoor bar, Aboli Shah, Founder and Lead Designer at Aboli Shah Atelier, used elements such as a patterned floor, dense wallpaper, tinted mirrors, warmer lights and a choice of deeper colours.

Maximalist and minimalist elements are balanced out in this luxury home bar in the interior

Maximalist and minimalist elements are balanced out in this luxury home bar in the interior | pic: Aboli Shah

Wonders of wallpaper

The easiest step for projecting this rich look is through wallpapers. Wallpapers always help a house to create a desired statement. The best part about them is that after a few years, you could always replace them with another. “You could also choose a custom-made wallpaper with a ready print and apply it around your room’s furniture. In one case, we used beautiful Bougainvilleas and lamps to play around the mandir wall of a living room,” says architect Benny Sam Mathew from 5feet4 Design Studio in Mumbai. Make sure the wallpaper has a print likeable enough for you to live with for at least a few months.

Arched water feature above the basin inspired by European 
drinking fountains in public squares

Arched water feature above the basin inspired by European
drinking fountains in public squares | pic: ATesor Designs and Decor

Layer materials and textures

The concept of layering works across the board here, from colour schemes, materials and textures to themes. Use two or more items from completely different schemes (a piece of modern art and an antique chest of drawers) to compliment one another. The more such varied pieces you can use in a room that compliment each other, the more of a Modern Maximalist your home is. “With an experimental attitude, home owners can achieve maximalist ambience via elaborate material boards. Layer finishes, textures, and colours in unique and unpredictable ways. For example, using artwork as bed backs,” says Rahul Mistri, Principal Designer at Open Atelier Mumbai. “Rather than getting all your furniture from the same store or manufacturer, I recommend eclectic elements and personalized decor pieces handpicked from various sources,” says Pooja Narayan, Director Architecture & Design, NBMA in New Delhi.

All this talk of ‘more and more’ need not scare the eco-conscious folk. This home decor style is planet-friendly. It lends itself naturally to sustainability by way of options for upcycled accessories, second-hand and repurposed furniture and quirky items you’ve picked up on your travels. Done right, a modern maximalist home is a warm expression of your creativity and your outdoor discoveries.

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