Embracing Boldness and the Resurgence of Maximalism

by Brenna Kehew Sculley

by Amber Edwards
After years of minimalism as the gold standard of design, the trending clean-girl aesthetic dominating the space across your Instagram feeds, and simplicity being celebrated… the time has come for a resurgence of maximalism. Like all trends, the pendulum swings back, and now in décor and fashion, the world is embracing the beauty of more.
Maximalism appeals due to its celebration of personal expression, offering rich visual stimulation and a connection to nostalgia through meaningful objects. It allows creative freedom, letting people mix and match styles without strict rules. As a counter-movement to minimalism, maximalism provides a more personalized and lived-in feel. The whimsical, eclectic nature of maximalism makes decorating and living in such environments fun, resonating with those who value individuality and creativity in their surroundings.
“I know that everybody right now is about quiet luxury, which is obviously an important topic,” Olivier Rousteing of Balmain shared with the New York Times backstage before a show. Fall 2023 runway shows were bursting with color, texture, joy, and more, more, more, and we’re seeing this trend stay strong throughout 2024.
Maximalist interior design finds its roots in the opulent styles of 17th and 18th-century Europe, beginning with the Baroque period. Renowned for its highly decorated interiors, Baroque design featured gilded accents, bronze and brass details, fine art, sculptures, intricate tapestries, hand-painted ceilings, and grand chandeliers. This era transitioned into the Rococo style, known for its ornate and playful aesthetics, followed by the more restrained Neoclassicism.
Though Baroque, Rococo, and Neoclassicism all incorporated elements of maximalism by curating lavish interiors, it wasn’t until the mid-19th century that the Victorian era epitomized maximalism by blending art, objects, colors, and prints across different periods. Victorian maximalism reflected an intense desire to express individual identities, resulting in meticulously curated spaces filled with beloved items, vibrant colors, and varied prints.
One fundamental concept shaping maximalism is the “kunstkammer” or “Wunderkammer,” translated from German as a “cabinet of curiosities.” Popularized in the 16th century, these cabinets housed exotic artworks, preserved specimens, and eclectic artifacts from around the world, intended to provoke awe and spark conversation—a tradition that modern maximalists continue to uphold.
While the Wunderkammer itself may have fallen out of fashion, its essence persists among contemporary interior designers. Mementos and souvenirs still hold special significance in today’s interiors, especially for maximalism enthusiasts.
In recent years, social media has fueled a resurgence of maximalist style, coining new terms such as grandmillennial, dark academia, cottagecore, and dopamine decor. These trends echo the Wunderkammer’s fascination, creating interiors brimming with cherished and meaningful items.
You can find top designers to help you achieve the maximalism vision of your dreams, or simply keep building to your collections, adding more and more until you slowly feel you’ve achieved the magic of showcasing your whimsical self in every corner and in every outfit.

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