Max It Out

Nikki Hunt, co-founder of award-winning design studio Design Intervention, shares her essential tips on how to get the maximalist look for your home.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Nikki Hunt, co-founder of award-winning design studio Design Intervention, shares her essential tips on how to get the maximalist look for your home.

Maximalism is definitely on-trend now, judging by the number of recent articles in design magazines and the news, declaring a new age of opulence, a resurgence of colour or a rediscovery of this decadent style. 

Of course, as a self-confessed maximalist aesthete at heart, I could not be happier about this! At Design Intervention, we have been championing this modern maximalist style for a few years now. But the year 2019 is seeing this look becoming mainstream. 

Even Ikea (yes, the purveyor of streamlined Scandinavian lines) has launched a new collection with distinct maximalist leanings. And quite frankly, after well over two decades of clean lines and neutral palettes, a change is long overdue.

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So what exactly is this new maximalism?

This design style mixes eras, patterns, textures and materials. It incorporates elaborate detailing and showcases treasured artefacts. Maxed-out interiors are multi-layered, delivering a dynamic and multifaceted environment that is uplifting, revitalising. They make for empowering statements and always feel utterly unique. When you adopt this approach for your space, it reflects your courage to live life to its fullest. 

The minimalist interior has dominated the design landscape since the mid-1990s, when homeowners were drawn to its subtlety and understated aesthetic. However, with the dawn of a new millennium and the rise of technology, there is an increasing desire for individuality and the ability to stand out from the crowd. While bloggers and influencers make use of digital technology to achieve this, interior designers now turn to maximalism as a way to create unique, one-of-a-kind spaces.

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Minimalist interiors are imbued with serenity, while maximalist ones radiate energy. Minimalist interiors embrace simplicity, while the maximalist room delights in featuring unexpected elements. Minimalist rooms are understated, and maximalist ones are luxurious. Minimalist interiors include only what is functional, while maximalist ones are filled with details and embellishment. Where minimalists celebrate the unfettered lifestyle, maximalists celebrate life with all its nuances and idiosyncrasies. 

However there is one important similarity and it may astound you. Everyone knows that minimalism is all about removing clutter but it may surprise you to learn that decluttering is essential for a chic maximalist interior too. That is why maximalism is not chaotic when done right; it is a result of deliberately curated choices.

The objective

Nikki’s bold style of creating plush designer interiors has garnered international acclaim, such as being included among the World’s Top 100 Designers in the Andrew Martin Design Review. 

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The great artist Joan Miro once said: “The works must be conceived with fire in the soul but executed with clinical coolness.” And there could not be a more perfect guideline for the would-be maximalist. With minimalism, there is a distinct aesthetic and clear, easy-to-follow rules. Maximalism embraces everything, all eras, all colours, patterns and textures – and that can be a little daunting.

My top 6 tips for the modern maximalist


One of the easiest ways to bring energy to a room is with colour. Maximalism is about all colours in any combination. There is no right or wrong. Just pick a colour or colours you love. If your choice is a mix of bold colours, make sure you incorporate some neutral elements to add balance.


This can be done through rugs, upholstery or wallpaper, or a combination of all three. Experiment with layering patterns of different scale. Ensure sufficient, negative space, so your eye has a place to rest.


Combining different textures can take maximalism to the next level. Metallic elements, sumptuous velvets, feather trims and tassels can all be combined to bring visual and tactile diversity.


With so much visual stimuli, symmetry will keep the room looking balanced, allowing you to add multiple layers, yet still retain a harmonious feel.

A cohesive element

It is important to establish a link, or visual thread, that runs throughout the scheme so the interiors feel connected, even with a mix of colours, patterns and textures. This could be a colour, or a motif.


At Design Intervention, our mantra is “just because we can, doesn’t mean we should”. Successful maximalist style is a meticulous balancing act. These rooms can be bright, bold and mismatched, yet each element is carefully curated to achieve a style that inspires and revitalises, rather than overpowers.