Fresh Maximalism

Fresh Maximalism


A return to fun and optimism.


There is movement afoot in interiors. A change of guard at the house of decorating. After almost two years of living life very differently, and mostly in and around our homes, we want to experience a different vision. A look that feels individual and interesting, comforting and comfortable, happy and optimistic. A look that captures the romance of pattern and the optimism of colour, alongside the refreshing charm of an English country garden. 


Enter Fresh Maximalism. 


The established maximalist trend has dominated hotels, restaurants and interiors for the last few years with its heady mix of dark tones, intense pattern clashes and flashes of leopard print. A look that owes its heritage to Victorian interior design spliced with a hint of rock ’n' roll - ornate, intricate, busy but sometimes loud and excessive.


Today’s decorators are looking for something a little easier to handle. We want something softer; more genteel maybe, but no less subdued. This is no return to the quiet of Scandi chic or cool minimalism. While we might want calm, enveloping retreats we don’t want plain. We don’t want empty. And we definitely don’t want austere. 


In essence, Fresh Maximalism applies the same principles of classic maximalism - mixing patterns, layering textures, honouring history and ‘filling’ spaces - but this new reading injects a refreshing, light mood into a space, carefully curating a rainbow of harmonious natural shades, taken directly from a summer’s day. Peachy pale pinks, hyacinth blues, lemony yellows and vibrant botanical greens.


Indeed, such is our hunger for sunshine shades, that one of Pantone’s two colours of the year for 2021 was an uplifting buttercup yellow, while the comforting mood of the cottage core aesthetic captured decorators’ imaginations through those relentless lockdowns.


The spirit of Fresh Maximalism nods to these joyful hues and rural idylls but is also influenced by the sophisticated, urbane age of interior design, when Sister Parish was decorating the White House and thrilling 5th Avenue with interiors that were “refreshingly unstudied, unself-conscious, and unstrained…” When Slim Aarons was photographing high society against palm-fringed pools in bright sunlight or catching them reclining on tiger rugs in stately surroundings. 


Today, Fresh Maximalism is re-imagined in Miami’s recently opened Good Time Hotel, the brainchild of David Grutman and Pharrell Williams, with interiors designed by Ken Fulk, who showcases sherbet pink velvet sofas fringed in deep turquoise braid and a check-in desk skirted with palm tree fabric. This new vision of maximalism is about interiors that express the joie de vivre that we lost for a time. That sense of fun and plenty against a palette of happiness. 


And while the application of joyous colour is key, it is the genius of well-designed pattern, multi-scaled and expertly mixed with grounding plains, that elevates Fresh Maximalism. William Morris’s methodical repetition of swirling leaves and scattered blooms in prints such as Pimpernel and Willow Boughs, tricks the eye into reading a busy, maximalist print as a soothing, relaxing backdrop and work perfectly as a starting point for Fresh Maximalism.


Such patterns make creating the look less daunting. Re-imagined in lighter colours than Morris himself used, they are easier to play with, like pulling together a bouquet of country flowers. There is no right nor wrong. No dominant bloom or pattern. Room schemes feel full… of optimism. Because that’s what Fresh Maximalism is all about.



posted on 15 Sep 2021 by Suzanne Imre in Interiors

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