Step 1 to Achieving Maximalist Decor Greatness!

STEP 1 - Start with a hero print/pattern.

I love colour and the maximalist interiors trend - I will hold up my hands and declare that I'm not about beige or magnolia.

Colour and pattern have been a journey of discovery for me; I didn't wake up one morning and paint my whole house bright colours and fill it full of pattern; in fact as a long term renter, this has not always been possible. 

So, as it has been a journey of discovery for me, I wanted to share my tips on how to start your own maximalist journey. (Especially if this is something that you love the idea of, but are worried about it all looking a bit bonkers)!

My journey started through my design work and client projects. My love of pattern and colour has been there, and creating designs for others gave me a a real understanding of how colour and pattern work together and an appreciation of how they can effect your mood.

REMEMBER: nothing is permanent - let's get that out there straight away. 

If you hate it, you can change it!

STEP 1 - Start with a hero print/pattern.

With the knowledge that you can always change things later, let's start without fear and find your glorious hero print.

Find a patterned wallpaper or fabric that makes your heart sing - the colours, motifs and patterns should all make you feel happy. 

For me, I realised several years ago that the colours in my house really affect my mood. Several lockdowns and period of COVID isolations made this even more acute for me. Quite franky, if the interior of my house is magnolia, cream, beige or mushroom, I feel depressed. As a renter, traditional wallpaper was out, but my current landlord was happy for me to paint the walls.

Below is my dining room - Painted in Farrow & Ball Babouche Yellow. I absolutely love it! It is so Sun-shiny!

The chair in the corner was an up cycling Ercol project. I recovered the seat and added a cushion in my own Lough Cuan fabric (collection from 2018), and sprayed the chair a bright teal/turquoise.

April Mawhinney's Farrow & Ball Babouche Dining Room

(Of course, now that I have my Removable Stick 'n Peel wallpaper, I will be adding some of this soon!!)

•Happiness Makes the World Go Round!

So find out what makes you happy. If muted, earthy colours are for you, then do it - follow your heart. BUT if you walk into a bright pink or yellow space and you want to do cartwheels and jump for joy, then put that tin of magnolia paint back on the shelf. 

Visit fabric shops, DIY departments, look on Pinterest, get swatches and see what the hero print looks like in the room. Like me, most designers will send you swatch in the post, so don't be scared to get a few.

Look at this glorious kitchen by Sophie Robinson - the Queen of colour and Print!

• Light and the direction of the room

Light and the direction in which the windows in your room face, will change how you perceive the colours in your hero print.

If your room is north facing, then the colours will look more cool and blue.

If the room is south facing, everything will appear more warm and yellow.

East and west rooms will fluctuate between warm /yellow and cool/blue tones depending on the time of day, and the wall the print is near.

So it is always best to see it in the room before you commit to anything. Tape the swatch to the wall it will be on/near, and live with it for a few days - ideally it is best to see it on both cloudy and sunny days, so you can understand how it will look.

• Scale

Consider the scale of the motifs in your hero print. Ideally, the scale of this print should be the most visual of all the patterns and prints in your room. So although I usually agree that a large scale print is pretty awesome, it doesn't have to be big, if the colours make you smile.

Here is a smaller scale (but certainly not shy) floral print by Abigail Borg

But it may be best not not select a very small 'retiring wallflower' of a print or a pastel coloured stripe for this look, unless it is an eye-catching Paul Smith stripe of course!

Image copyright Paul Smith


• Decision Made!

Once you have found your hero print (and this can take some times so don't rush it), decide how you are going to use it in your room.

The hero print is the main print - so it could be a wallpaper, a fabric covered headboard, a reupholstered armchair or a duvet cover.

Here, some of Kitty McCall's glorious wallpaper and fabrics have been used on the wall and to update a chair! Amaze-balls!

Get creative and don't be shy - if you love your hero print, put it somewhere you can see it!

• Next time...

I really hope this has inspired you to get thinking about pattern.
I'd love to hear about your maximalist journey; I'm always up for a chat and you can catch me over on my Instagram page.

In the next post, it will be chatting about Step 2; colour palettes and complimentary prints!

'Til next time!



• Explore My Range...

You can shop my maximalist Wallpapers and Fabrics over on my website. Swatches are available too.
You will receive a 10% discount code if you join my newsletter and there is also free delivery over £50 to all UK addresses.

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