C2 Paint

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


For years, there we've seen minimalist designs in the headlines, the “less is more” approach, most commonly associated with names like Frank Llyod Wright, Jill Sander, ?? and most recently, Maria Kondo. For those who feel that urge to showcase more of the things they love, they are turning toward a bolder approach to design, referred to as Maximalism.

So, what is the requirement for being a Maximalist? Basically, it means you leave your restraint at the door and feature ALL the things:  color, patterns, artwork, porcelain dog figures, whatever floats your boat. It's a way to create to honor your unique personality and cultivate a space that’s reflective as YOU.

“Maximalism has such an emotional quality to it because you’re drawing upon things you love.”  Sasha Bikoff, Interior Designer

In fashion, think maximalist icon Iris Apfel, the 97-year old fashionista and former interior designer (she designed the White House for nine Presidents!) 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 brand 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 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." - galeriemagazine.com

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

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 mean you lack a thoughtful approach. Quite the opposite. When layering multiple pieces, colors, fabrics and patterns, there are 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 boholuxehome.com

2. TRY FLOOR PAINT – Don’t forget what fun you can have under your feet! Two words: painted floors. It's no surprise, we love the versatility of paint and fully believe in getting creative with it. Adding color 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 a whole new Pinterest category

C2 Cabinet & Trim paint is so easy to apply and is durable enough for floors!

Farmhouse fun_image by Hometalk via domino.com

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 domino.com)

3. MIX + LAYER PATTERNS – if you really want to go all out, mix all the things, all the time. If you are looking for a more polished style, stay with the same color pattern and layer the different patterns.

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 layer them all!

Image via livingetc.com

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.

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. Read more about it HERE


If you want to surround yourself with LOTS of beautiful things as you travel around the world, check out these 12 amazing MAXIMALIST hotels!