Interior Design Demystified: How To Embrace Maximalism At Home

Welcome to Interior Design Demystified, where Christiane Lemieux, co-founder and CEO of The Inside, identifies the latest interior design trends and explains how to make them work in your home. We know cultivating a fun, on-trend space isn't always easy — especially on a budget. That's why Christiane is bringing in the big guns — aka her friends and mentors in the business — to help break it all down for us. Think of it like having an interior designer always on call.
Let me start by saying that I don’t personally identify as a maximalist. But we’ve reached a point where the stripped-down and overly organized aesthetic has become so dull. So I recently found myself immersed in all things maximalism – both because I love to look at layered, over-the-top interiors, and because there are really important design and living lessons in the maximal. I wanted to capture some of that abundance and joy for my own space.
So naturally, I called the hippest, most boundary-pushing, most layering person I know to ask for a lesson in living to the max – Matthias Vriens-McGrath. Formerly the worldwide creative director for Giorgio Armani and senior art director for the Gucci Group, Matthias now lives and works in Hollywood, where he opened Atelier MVM, one of LA’s coolest aesthetic spots.

Embrace Florals

Nothing is an easier maximal design trick than the perfect vase and fresh flowers. Better yet – get even more maximal by layering vases of every color and style with florals on every surface.
“I'm hopelessly Dutch – I need flowers all the time and everywhere, and that translates to great vases,” Matthias said. “Vases also act as objects that add layers to a room.” 

Display Books

Like florals, Matthias pointed to books as an easy add for a maximal-inspired interior. “Books are the personality of the space and speak to the person living in the home. A home without any books is very sterile.”
They can be anywhere, on any surface, and they bring soul to a room. Also, a well-placed book that speaks to a personal interest or memory is the perfect conversation starter.

Layers On Layers

Artful mixing of patterns and textures is an easy way to add depth.
“I love blending all different kinds of vintage textiles with new textiles,” Matthias added. “You can combine things that will make any space look rich – think an old castle somewhere in England or France that has layers of generations.”
 “It's about creating an atmosphere, and that’s not just one style of furniture. I personally like to make a potpourri out of lot of things and it usually works out.”

Light It Up

Never forget lighting – it’s as easy as switching bulbs. Matthias agrees: “I'm all shocked by how abominable lighting has become. Everything uses fluorescent light bulbs and they give off a blue light that no matter how pretty the space is, the lighting just kills it.” 

Don't Forget To Personalize

“I think if you have ingredients like textiles, good flowers, plants and books, then you can have a mattress on the floor and people will walk in and say, ‘this is the coolest place ever’. If you are missing these personal things, even the best space can just end up looking like a really great suite at the Four Seasons.”
If nothing else, layer fearlessly. It usually does work out.