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Loud and proud: Why we’re (still) loving the maximalism trend

By Rachel Wallace

At its loud and proud core, maximalism has always been about breaking free from the mould and expressing your personality in all its colours.

Melbourne-based creative duo @joshandmattdesign have built a TikTok audience of over 400,000 followers and 18 million likes based on these very principles.

“It feels like you have less rules to follow with maximalism … Our particular style of maximalism has been very focused on sustainability, colour, not following any rules and just having fun with it, which has really resonated with a lot of people across the globe,” they say.

When it comes to maximalism, rules are made to be broken. Photo: @joshandmattdesign

In bite-sized TikToks, we get a glimpse into a space filled with quirky shapes, a DIY robot lamp, and more colourful seating options than you could imagine.

But it’s not just about how much colour and furniture you can pack into one room. By promoting maximalism that is less about excess and more about sustainability, it’s not hard to see why Josh and Matt have caught the socially-keen eyes of the Gen Z-dominant platform.

The creative duo have taken the TikTok world by storm with their love for maximalism. Photo: @joshandmattdesign

“You’re never going to get rid of maximalism, so we thought why not use our own home as an example of how maximalism and interior design, in general, can be a much more environmentally conscious journey by making small changes,” they say.

“Choosing thrifted or vintage when you can, upcycle and repair instead of throwing out, choosing ‘forever’ pieces over fast furniture and shopping local and from small business are just some of the ways we can make our homes more sustainable.”

Maximalism can be both fun and environmentally conscious. Photo: @joshandmattdesign

Josh and Matt’s maximalist philosophy points to the ways maximalism is able to endlessly recreate itself with each resurgence of the trend by taking on the current concerns of society and pushing its boundaries to, in turn, stay timeless.

The spaces designed by Dominique Brammah and Shannon Shlom from Sydney interior design studio, We Are Duet, are equally considered. Not afraid to push the boundaries right to the point of being “almost uncomfortable”, while also committing to long-standing design principles, the studio epitomises a modern maximalism that promises to transcend the fickleness of the trend cycle.

“We like to encourage clients to listen to their gut and believe in the things that make their hearts sing. If they love it now, it will still have relevance and beauty in years to come,” they say.

Brammah and Shlom from We Are Duet find the best results when they push the boundaries just far enough. Editorial styling: Megan Morton. Photo: Anson Smart

For Brammah and Shlom, “maximalism is a place of comfort,” and a way to define interiors by joy.

“For us, it is an eclectic celebration of decoration, pattern, texture, and colour which, after the past few years now feels so welcomed in redefining our interior environments with a new joyful exuberance.”

It’s no surprise that the maximalism that emerged after the past few years is all about taking pleasure in our own company. No longer are we proving ourselves to others. The latest iteration of maximalism promotes a much more empowering and ultimately sustainable notion of choosing forever pieces that speak to you, rather than for you. This time around, we’re reclaiming maximalism for ourselves.

Maximalism is all about layering, says Brammah. Editorial styling: Olga Lewis. Photo: Anson Smart

“Maximalism is a beautiful philosophy that is inherently about celebrating our stuff and harks back to bygone eras when treasures were displayed and curiosities were given a cabinet.”

In a (literally) oversaturated TikTok ecosystem, Josh and Matt stand out not just because of their deliciously fun styling, but also – or perhaps more so – because of the obvious joy they find in styling and enjoying their space. It’s infectious.

Trends come and go, but as Brammah puts it, “maximalism is, after all, about layering, many stories, many treasures, over many years.”

We Are Duet’s homes celebrate decoration, pattern, texture, and colour. Editorial styling: Olga Lewis. Photo: Anson Smart

Top tips to bring a touch of maximalism into your home:

Create a visual mood board 

“Research will be your best friend when it comes to working out your own maximalist aesthetic. Use resources such as Pinterest, Facebook marketplace, your local vintage and furniture stores and just start saving different pieces, taking photos, note any colours, shapes and fabrics you gravitate towards and before you know it you’ve developed your own visual mood board that will help you develop your own interior style that embodies your own unique personality,” says Josh and Matt.

Start with colour

“Always follow your gut when it comes to colour combinations and pattern partnering. Being bold with colour is a great way to ease into maximalism,” say Shlom and Brammah.

Josh and Matt agree, and recommend “mixing bold colours with their pastel counterparts”, or choosing “more neutral larger pieces of furniture that you then style with pops of colour”.

Use your existing pieces

In the hands of We Are Duet, forever pieces never lose their shine.

“We love to revisit clients and their homes [a few years on] and give spaces a new feeling just by moving already purchased items around.”

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