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The outrageous Topsy-Turvy world of ‘more is more’.

Even the most casual follower of anything design related will have at least some understanding of the basic principles and preconceptions of Minimalism. For many of us Minimalism and its ‘less is more’ guiding principle is all about empty white rooms devoid of the clutter-some ephemera of everyday life, and some might add – devoid of character. If this is the case for you, then we’re not here to judge, we’re simply here to introduce you to MAXIMALISM (yes, in caps). Maximalism is exactly the antithesis of its omnipresent counterpart, but equally striking. The impact of Minimalism is derived from its stark neutrality, whilst the impact of Maximalism is a full-on visual assault on the senses – mixing styles, periods, materials, colours, lightness and darkness, old and new. At its best, this often outrageous aesthetic previously embraced by the Victorians is like a punch in the face from interior design itself. But there is an art to this madness that’s hard to master, even by the most talented design professionals.

There is so much more to Maximalism than filling a room with ‘stuff’. It requires great skill and a good design eye to successfully curate, and layer, so many contrasting and often conflicting styles. Be warned Maximalist can quickly become ‘messimalist’ with the flick of a paint swatch. Although still far from ‘anything goes’ choice, Maximalism is equally accessible as its skinny white friend. And, with a few basic principles, you can create stunning spaces loaded with character and more importantly, your personality. Where Minimalism turns your room into a gallery space, with Maximalism – the room is the canvas, and you are Jeff Koons. Have fun.

Image Credit (DeVol Kitchens)

Get the look…

The keyword when assembling a Maximalist look is contrast. It is this contrast that creates the impact associated with this look. Forget what you know, or have been conditioned to believe to be true by society's taste-makers, and think like a child. Be playful, experiment and explore. In the eyes of a child, this is Mr Topsy-Turvy's house. If you want plain brightly coloured walls and floral wallpaper on the ceiling, that’s Maximalism. Mixing polka dots with stripes – Maximalism. Pink kitchen worktops and an orange tiled splashback, go for it.

Image Credit (Pluck Kitchens)

Embracing the art of layering.

By layering textures and patterns you can take classic items and ‘max them out’. For example, a grey sofa can be ‘Maximalised’ by adding a brightly coloured throw or several eclectically patterned cushions. A beloved Shaws sink can easily be dialled up by pairing candy coloured composite stone worktops with tiles in a contrasting hue. If you personally prefer pattern over colour, Terrazzo worktops have an elegant luxury feel, but a very playful effect. Especially if you opt for the brighter, more contemporary styles. Bold gold taps like the Armstrong by Perrin & Rowe will complete the look.

Image Credit (Pluck Kitchens)

The room is the art, not the gallery.

Try not to think of individual items as the stars, think about how they contribute to the whole look of the room. Remember, the room is your canvas, so fill it with textures and patterns that you love and that will be sure to brighten your day – to the max.

Shake up your Shaker.

If you are feeling uninspired by the ever-growing sea of Anthracite Grey Shaker kitchens. Try painting your cabinets in a bright colour. Choosing an unusual shade you like (even if others don’t) will really add an injection of your own personality, or simply adding an art-inspired tea towel for a touch of creativity.

Be bold.

Bringing bold patterns into a room is a great way to get the Maximalist look, and applying bold patterns to your ceilings is very much a signature feature of a Maximalist space.

Bright, illustrative, wallpapers and fabrics are a great way to add vast areas of pattern easily. Traditional designs with a modern twist like those available from Cole & Son will really make a statement. Whilst bold, geometric, designs like those offered by the House of Hackney will have the same effect but in a more dynamic and contemporary way.

The Hotel Les Deux Gare in Paris by English designer Luke Edward Hall is a perfect example of Maximalism at its most playful, and his transformation of a Cotswold cottage has an amazing twist on a country kitchen – complete with a Butler Sink. Even Sweden, where its favoured Minimal approach to interior design is often referred to as ‘fifty shades of white’, has seen a progression toward colour, luxurious fabrics, and unexpected objects in recent years. The Haymarket, a Scandic hotel in Stockholm is a testament to this.

The key to Maximalism is to make it your own by making it personal to you. This style can be full-on, overbearing and even garish to those looking in from outside, but if you love it, it will bring a smile to your face in a way that its bland brother never could.

If you have a creative kitchen or bathroom featuring a Shaws product, we would love to see it. 

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