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When Less is Not Enough: Maximalist Design in 2020 (plus 5 Ways to Keep it Modern)


For years, we've seen minimalist designs in the headlines – a “less is more” approach that focuses on serene, simple beauty paired with high functionality. For many, this approach doesn't allow them to properly showcase the things they love, especially as it relates to pattern, color and collections, so they're taking a bolder approach to design, which is referred to as Maximalism. Let's see how this unapologetic aesthetic is inspiring new trends in 2020. 

With design being a journey of discovery and elaborate story telling, I say: travel far, collect well and curate to your hearts content! -- Philippa Radon, Interior Designer


In the fashion world, there's Iris Apfel, the 97-year old fashionista and former interior designer (she designed the White House for nine Presidents!) who is known for her love of layered-upon-layered baubles and bold, colorful wardrobe.

The Iconic Iris Apfel. Image @sebastiankim

Check out her brilliant – and ironic  collaboration with Istanbul based glass designers, Nude, where she combines her over-the-top style with their minimalist attitude.

“I like simple objects but I like to use a lot of them” -- Iris Apfel

Read the full interview about the Iris Apfel and Nude partnership here


French designer Jacques Garcia is known for his lavishly designed interiors, specifically in hotels and restaurants throughout Paris. His Belle Époque style also lends itself to Bohemian opulence and Oriental elegance -- all the signs of a true Maximalist.

"His ability to design such traditionally elaborate interiors, that can also accommodate the modern needs that a hotel or private residence requires is a key to his success."

The Oriental-style lobby at Paris' Maison Souquet is furnished with velvet settees and tasseled floor lamps.  Photo: Photograph by Eric Antoine via

Recently, he has been perfecting a 17th-century Norman estate and its gardens for a quarter-century. Champ de Bataille, the 17th-century château in central Normandy (roughly 30 miles south of Rouen) that Garcia bought 25 years ago as a country retreat from his Paris home and has meticulously restored.

NOBLE VISAGE | The drawing room walls are hung with a series of royal portraits from the Louis XVI era. PHOTO- RICARDO LABOUGLE FOR WSJ. MAGAZINE

For Garcia his maximalist ways reflect his love of nostalgia:

“Nostalgia—before and after. That is what’s important. In order to see tomorrow, you must look at yesterday. Now is nothing. Everybody can do now. And then it’s exactly the same.” 


Having a maximalist design aesthetic doesn't automatically mean clutter and chaos take over. Quite the opposite. When layering multiple pieces, colors, fabrics and patterns, there are thoughtful ways to approach it so that it looks chic and modern (not overwhelming and crowded). 

1. ADD BOLD COLOR – whether it's on the walls or bright furniture pieces, this screams: I know what I want and I’m not afraid to show it!

 image via

2. TRY FLOOR PAINT – Don’t forget what fun you can have under your feet! Two words: painted floors. Adding color and creativity gives your floors an artistic element that can completely transform the look of wood and tile. What was once a simple choice of wood color or carpet has evolved into one of the hottest new Pinterest categories

C2 Cabinet & Trim paint comes in any color you can imagine! Read more about it HERE. It's eco-friendly (made from whey protein!), easy to apply and is durable enough for floors.

Farmhouse fun_image by Hometalk via

According to this year’s Pinterest 100 report...“painted floor tiles” have seen a +1276% spike. And, no, people aren’t just painting their existing floor tiles: They’re creating faux mosaic scenes, mimicking herringbone, stenciling illusions, and more. (via

3. MIX + LAYER PATTERNS – if you're like us, there are so many amazing patterns out there it's hard to commit. But don't worry, you can mix all of them. For a more polished style, stick with the same color and layer them.

4. USE ANIMAL PRINT – once again, nature positions itself as the most masterful designer. Animal prints artfully combine patterns, shapes and colors to create a classic neutral. If you love everything from zebra to tiger to leopard, exercise your maximalist muscles and show them all!

Image via

5. ADD A STATEMENT CEILING- simply look up to see one of the most underused areas of design: the ceiling. We actually did a whole blog post on the fact that ceilings are stealing the show when it comes to design. Read it HERE.

This ceiling used C2 Paint's Churchill on the ceiling with a gloss coating

Adding a pop of color and highlighting it with a gloss sheen in C2 LUXE adds instant chic and sophistication to the room. 


If you want to surround yourself with beautiful things as you travel the world, check out these 12 amazing MAXIMALIST hotels like this one from Johnny Wujek. The designer, who famously styles singer Katy Perry, collaborated with style blogger and Modern Legacy founder Kaitlyn Ham to satisfy the needs of couples with different decor styles. 

Image via and




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