The New Opulence
There’s a new trend in town and it’s championing bright, bold, daring interiors: maximalism, and it’s here to banish all your notions of whitewashed Nordic interiors and bare-to-the-bones decorating. With the wave of austerity finally broken, bid farewell to season after season of starkly appointed, gallery-style homes long revered for having an almost clinical approach to the human condition. In its place comes an unapologetic abundance of colour and pattern, layered in the dramatic more-is-more fashion of Tony Duqette and Yves Saint-Laurent. The new modern is a complex, experiential form of decorating that takes its place in a zeitgeist that demands life to be lived as personally and honestly as possible.
Draw inspiration from around the world and combine prints and patterns for a richly layered, familiar yet completely eclectic feeling.
Colour is one of the most crucial elements to this densely styled opulence and the easiest way to achieve this look. It is vital that the colour pigment of choice conveys a sense of sophistication, so forego muted hues and shades of pastel and opt for highly saturated tones, especially rich reds, purples and oranges that really stand out. Don’t be afraid to enliven spaces that have traditionally been kept very neural, such as bedrooms and bathrooms, and rather approach them with a reckless abandon that’ll see walls, floors, furniture pieces and accessories animated in an iridescent spectrum of colour.
An all-inclusive and wide-ranging approach to pattern and print is another cornerstone in this decorating style. Draw inspiration from around the world and combine them for a richly layered, familiar yet completely eclectic feeling. Moroccan tiles, exotic prints, the fine detailing of Chinoiserie and the rustic appeal of Eastern European folk embroidery all come together in a cultural crucible that fills any space with a strong sense of storytelling and adventure. In a similar way, art loses its serious and impersonal air in favour of a mixed offering, where monochrome photography, colourful abstracts, woven pieces and small shelves for displaying ceramics are all given equal wall space in unconventional groupings.
The multi-faced approach is continued in the selection of furniture, which again sees pieces of varying eras and origins all united in a single space. This is an opportunity to be daring and, perhaps, a little irreverent in your decorating; offset sleek mid-century chairs and gilt Italian antiques with market finds of humble provenance. A liberal application of finishes – deep butting, studding, fringing – will work well in further building up the maximalist aesthetic.
In an age where Instagram and Pinterest have resulted in the complete democratization of decorating, this new opulence is a return to making homes uniquely personal. Approach your interiors with single-mindedness and, to a large degree, the courage to break the Scandi-Japanese mold that has come to represent modern decorating. This is a celebration of personality over trends and individualism over conformity for a look that’s positively brimming with vibrant narratives.
This is a celebration of personality over trends and individualism over conformity for a look that’s positively brimming with vibrant narratives.