What Is Minimal Maximalism?

james mcdonald photography wowhouse 2024
What Is Minimal Maximalism?James McDonald Photography

Wow!house 2024 has arrived at London’s Chelsea Harbour Design Centre, giving us 19 eye-candy-filled rooms to ogle. The spectacular show house, now in its third year, is never short of ideas that send maximalist design lovers running to their mood boards. From the 3D-printed mandala-esque facade by Mamou-Mani, which greets guests at the Design Avenue space once again (albeit with a few updates) to the 19 rooms on the interior, over-the-top ideas like marble countersplashes, mirrored walls, and stately canopy beds continue to reign. The roster of 20 international designer firms, including Ken Fulk (who partnered with The Rug Company), Watts Alidad, and Maurizio Leo Placuzzi, certainly didn’t hold back creating spaces filled with maximalist staples like layered patterns, gilded accents, extensive antique collections, and graphic tile.

But the moments we’re zeroing in on are maximalist in a way that’s surprisingly muted and pared back. Designer Tolù Adẹ̀kọ́, who partnered with Zimer + Rhode, and Veere Grenney Associates, who partnered with Schumacher, utilized tricks like coordinated color stories and monochromatic pattern play to take maximalism in a quiet new direction. In a show house that encourages designers to let their imaginations take the lead, several spaces practice restraint while still having a sumptuous, grand design impact. It makes you wonder, “Can you be a maximalist in a minimalist way?”

Whether you agree or not, Wow!house 2024 proves that maximalism lives on a spectrum. You can love the popular design style (or is it a lifestyle?) whether you consider yourself a maximal maximalist or a minimal maximalist. Keep reading to get tips on the latter design style from this year’s Wow!house you can use in your own home. Should you find yourself across the pond this summer, the Design Centre Chelsea Harbour’s Wow!House 2024 is open for tours through July 4, with ticket proceeds benefiting United in Design, a nonprofit with the pledge to foster inclusivity in the industry.


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Play With Monochromatic Patterns

There’s nothing more maximalist than layering pattern on pattern. Quintessential British interiors firm Veere Grenney Associates covered this bedroom in a large-scale windowpane print, including the bed lining, and paired it with another of the designer’s newest Schumacher fabrics in a similar tone, giving the space a dramatic softness.

Related: How To Carry Off Maximalist Interior Design In Every Room

james mcdonald photography wowhouse 2024
James McDonald Photography

Tell a Bold Color Story

This home bar by London-based OZA Design, which is known for drawing on its founders’ French and Turkish roots, brings the drama while remaining clean and modern. The soulful color palette distributed throughout the space–with earthy red clay walls by Clayworks alongside the bronze bar–work together without competing for your attention.

Related: 60 Home Bar Ideas to Channel Your Go-To Cocktail Lounge

james mcdonald photography wowhouse 2024
James McDonald Photography

Use Luxury Materials

Nigerian-British designer Tolù Adẹ̀kọ́ pulled from his experience designing superyachts to create this ocean-liner-inspired bedroom. The end of bed bench, which pairs geometric Zimmer + Rohde velvet with a striking metallic base designed by Jean-Louis Deniot for Pouenat, is just one example of how Adẹ̀kọ́ creates dimension and intrigue using textures and patterns in a maximalist yet soothing way.

Related: 32 Luxury Bedroom Ideas From Stylish Designer Spaces

james mcdonald photography wowhouse 2024
James McDonald Photography

Focus on One Thing

By selecting materials from the same brand (Zoffany) as well as opting for solid and complementary pieces, London-based designer Benedict Foley keeps the focus on the fabric that wraps this entrance hall while still adding interest.

james mcdonald photography wowhouse 2024
James McDonald Photography

Highlight the Architecture

In London-based architect and interior designer Guy Goodfellow’s drawing room, the walls covered in Tissus d’Hélène fabrics do the talking. The graphic detailing on the columns and florals adorning the walls draw eyes up and around the room, where they find respite in the neutral flooring and furnishings.

Related: These Are the Florals Designers Are Loving

james mcdonald photography wowhouse 2024
James McDonald Photography

Let Your Collections Shine

Lucy Hammond Giles of Colefax & Fowler describes the firm’s morning room as “the perfect refuge” and says it is designed to be “elegant, warm, and comfortable.” We have to agree. The Larsen linen lining the walls is a bold backdrop that highlights the curated found furniture and accessories.

Related: 20 Items You Should NEVER Pass Up at a Flea Market

james mcdonald photography wowhouse 2024
James McDonald Photography

Stick to Primary Colors

Working in collaboration with this year’s Wow!House charity partner United in Design (UID), designer Sophie Ashby gave the color wheel a spin to create this sitting room. Infused with playful color, it definitely has a maximalist feel. But her choices to stay within primary colors and tones and to color block the wall panels makes it calming and easy to digest.

Related: 16 Maximalist Decorating Ideas That Interior Designers Love

james mcdonald photography wowhouse 2024
James McDonald Photography

Incorporate Natural Materials

London designer Suzy Hoodless created an enveloping dining space by covering the walls in a Adam Ellis design and the fireplace in natural clay Moroccan bejmat tiles by Robert Emile Atelier. Natural materials like blond wood and rattan ground the space, making it a serene place to enjoy a long meal and conversation well past when dessert is served.

Related: 90 Designer-Approved Dining Room Ideas

james mcdonald photography wowhouse 2024
James McDonald Photography

Contain Yourself

London slash New York firm Michaelis Boyd blended nature and sophistication in the primary bathroom by House of Rohl. From the handpainted mural by Claire Basler to the niche for the Victoria + Albert bathtub, it’s a space that allows the imagination to wander but still feels like a relaxing oasis.

Related: 45 Luxurious Primary Bathroom Ideas

james mcdonald photography wowhouse 2024
James McDonald Photography

Combine Dramatic Neutrals

London-based dancer turned designer Andrea Benedettini set out to create curtain walls reminiscent of the theater in this library. He brought the drama of the stage and costuming through a tasseled sofa, dancing swivel chairs, and secret doors. The room remains a cocooning retreat due to the soft colors and textures of his Chase Erwin fabric choices.

Related: 44 Beautiful Home Library Ideas For Cozy Reading

james mcdonald photography wowhouse 2024
James McDonald Photography

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