A big part of our job as designers/editors/writers is to sniff out new trends, not because we live and die by them, but because they’re palate cleansers. The new kid at school everyone has fun whispering about because you’re bored of the same people you see every day. And what we’re seeing come down the pike lately is a serious shift into maximalism. This is not to say minimal, neutral rooms are “out” (hello mountain house) but color and pattern seem to be making a fast and furious swing back into our homes, and we’re not mad about it.
The aesthetic isn’t for everyone nor is it effortless to pull off in a sophisticated way, but guess what? We reinvented it using Target’s new spring Opalhouse collection (read: budget-friendly) to make it more relatable and so much easier to recreate yourself. It’s a look we’re calling “quiet maximalism”…you can even refer to is as “maximalism lite”…all the same flavor of the original, half the calories!
It’s like when someone goes FULL THROTTLE with their makeup, and while you applaud the confidence and boldness, you kind of want to pull them aside and give them a “make-under.” You’d use all the same products, just…not as much of them and with less pigmentation. That’s this look. Fully made up face but in a no-makeup-makeup natural vibe that makes you think “whoa, you must have just come from a two-week beach vacation where you had no cell service and definitely never checked your email.” (Boy do we love an analogy around here, huh?)
We’ll walk through each of these elements in every vignette we created below, but while maximalism embraces a general more is more mindset, quiet maximalism is like ::whispering:: more is sort of more. The key elements of the style include texture (and lots of it), a mostly neutral/curated color palette, a sprinkling of natural materials, a touch of glam and, of course, layers of plants and greenery. It’s about being restrained and balanced but visually lush and inviting. Alright, let’s do this…
How to Pull-Off “Quiet Maximalism” in Every Room
As you’ll quickly learn, texture is a HUGE component of quiet maximalism, especially in the bedroom. Here, while there isn’t a plethora of color, the room still feels layered, interesting, inviting, and that’s all thanks to your friend texture. We brought it in floor to nearly ceiling, starting with that amazing rug. The tassels, the nubbiness, the patches of shag…it’s so good it’d make anyone want to leap out of bed in the morning to plant your feet on.
At the opposite end of the floor is our DIY star of the show: the canopy. Have you noticed we’re really into canopies lately? We created a canopy “tent” in the kids’ room at the mountain house we outfitted with Target’s super fun Pillowfort collection recently, and we didn’t stop there. It felt right to bring one in here, IN THE NAME OF TEXTURE, of course. There’s a Pinnable DIY at the end of the post with all the information you need to recreate this, but in short, we used a sheer curtain fabric instead of a netting because we wanted it to feel refined and organic. The bells added that touch of whimsy every maximalist room needs.
The next stop on the texture train is all that bedding, which also plays into the “curated color palette” aspect of this style. While this could have been a flat cotton duvet, it wouldn’t have really spoken to the look we were going for so instead, we went with a crinkly, casual textile here. The blush hue is subtle and picks up the pinky tones from the rug and the velvet pouf (which you’re not seeing here, but is present in the first shot in this post…our touch of glam in this specific vignette).
Let’s stop and take a moment to talk about this amazing lumbar. It’s SO good and looks so much more expensive than it really is ($30, though on sale today only for $21). The raised shaggy texture creates a pattern that plays off the throw at the foot of the bed, the tassels are a fun, eclectic detail, but the tonal white plays down all those elements and keeps it as a textural element instead of a blatant pattern. SO GOOD.
Also, how sweet are these sheets? We love a delicately patterned sheet to level up a bed, plus the hint of black from the speckling and edging touch is grounding to the airy palette and instantly modernizes the room.
Bringing in some natural materials and tones is crucial to the breezy quiet maximalism vibe. That hanging basket planter from the new Opalhouse line is so fun and draws the eye up (as does the canopy, of course). Part of maximalism is engaging the eye wherever you look, so this was how we thought to fill the space top to bottom but in a way that wasn’t overwhelming or suffocating. A mix of seagrass (via the handled tray on the bed), rattan from the hanging planter and headboard, and caning in the nightstand make things feel cohesive without being too matchy-matchy. This new Opalhouse line makes it easy to keep things varied.
A touch of brass (or a metallic) is integral in quiet maximalism to layer in a bit of glam. We brought this in via the frame and the lamp, which is so dimensional and perfectly whimsical here. It’s a great counterbalance to the streamlined and natural caned nightstand.
And, as the final must have, we sprinkled plants (both faux and real) throughout at different levels (like we said, all about filling out the space from bottom to middle to top).
We’re officially obsessed with hanging swing chairs in interior spaces from this point forward. The price point on this one is excellent ($60) and it adds an unexpected moment to any room it graces (it would be particularly nice in a sunroom or even a living room). The off-white macrame brings in just the right amount of texture and is a nod to ’70s style, an old friend of maximalism.
For our curated, tight palette, we went with a base of cream and white but brought in a happy yellow in the curtain details (how fun are those tassels?) and grounded it with a deep teal throw. The hammered brass side table, with its interesting silhouette, feels worldly but adds to both the texture of the space and ups the glam factor.
Like in the sheets from the bedroom vignette, the black from the rug here adds so much depth and grounds the space, while the leopard-like pattern keeps things playful.
There’s a certain loftiness that comes along with maximalism, and what’s more indulgent than a “beauty cart” or vanity area in a bathroom? It takes a purely utilitarian spot and turns it into a spa-like luxury. It’s downright Victorian, and you know how I feel about Victorian leanings (it gets all the thumbs up). To create our beauty cart moment, we actually repurposed a rattan bar cart (which would also be SO GREAT as its intended purpose) and borrowed that amazing velvet and fringe pouf (glam, check) from the bedroom. Can’t you just see yourself perched there, brushing your coif the recommended 100 strokes every night before slipping on a silky floral robe and sauntering into the parlor for a nightcap? This is a life I want to live on the regular.
And because the size on the cart (which ticks off the natural requisite here) is compact, it would be just right for a smaller bathroom or apartment.
While you can certainly add other greenery, we loved these faux flowers. They played so nicely with the curated blush-and-green palette in this vignette, and, even better, they’ll never wilt on you.
While there’s tons of texture in this whole space (velvet, nubby rug, palm fronds, rattan), to create a true “spa” environment, you gotta bring in the towels. We love plain white towels normally, but we couldn’t pass up the textural and fringed details on these to really drive home the “quiet maximalism” vibe.
Quiet maximalism doesn’t have to be just for bedrooms, bathrooms or living rooms. Bringing this highly textural, special style into a home office space or desk area actually works really well because it’s soft and tonal enough to not cause distractions, but layered and textural enough to stimulate.
Here’s how we checked off all the elements in this space:
Natural Materials: Most of the textural elements pull double duty here as well.
Subtle Glam: It’s not an EHD space without a touch of brass, which comes in in the edging of the picture frame on the windowsill.
Plants: We went faux here (seriously into that paper cactus), but using two different types of plants at different levels keeps things interesting and the eye moving.
Our final vignette we created in the quiet maximalist aesthetic is probably the most vibrant out of all the spaces, but it still follows all the rules. The palette is a bit more varied but there’s still really only three main colors happening here: yellow, blue and coral/pink. But because most everything is rooted in a neutral, isn’t doesn’t feel like a rainbow explosion.
It’s important to stop a moment and talk about this mix of pillows, because it’s a question we get asked all.the.time. To get that effortlessly thrown together yet awesome looking combo, here are some good guidelines to follow:
Rule 1: Vary pillow shapes and sizes. Here, we used a big squishy Euro size (normally around 26″x26″), a smaller 20″x20″, a chunky lumbar and a super skinny lumbar.
Rule 2: Mix up your patterns. For this vignette, we did two solids and two “prints”…one a stripe and the other delicate embroidery.
Rule 3: Introduce quiet texture. What is “quiet texture” you ask? Well, it’s a texture but done in a solid, like that mustard lumbar with the shaggy trim and the white lumbar. If these had any pattern AND all that tactile detailing, it’d be a little too much to take it. Pick your power moment.
I do realize that maximalism is not everyone’s style, but we think this “quiet” toned down version is so much easier to swallow and frankly, we’re crushing hard on it. For anyone who wants to amp it up, the new Opalhouse collection has so many more amazing products in bold colors and patterns, so if this is too subtle for you, be sure to check out the whole line.
So…what do you think? Which vignette could you see yourself recreating in your home? Are you into “quiet maximalism” or want to turn up the volume? We can’t wait to hear what you think.
For all the shoppable products, we put together the below Get the Look with everything we used here, but you can also find everything from each vignette directly on Target.com:
1. Textured Planter | 2. Tumbler | 3. Tassel Throw | 4. Pom Throw Pillow | 5. Hammock Chair | 6. Artificial Palm | 7. Rattan Planter Stand | 8. Woven Mules | 9. Accent Table | 10. Leopard Spot Rug | 11. Lace Trim Panel | 12. Ceramic Bird Feeder | 13. Writing Desk | 14. Tufted Velvet Chair | 15. Faux Cactus in Basket | 16. Utility Jacket | 17. Colored Pencils | 18. Stripe Woven Rug | 19. Artificial Lotus | 20. Artificial Anthurium | 21. Artificial Protea 22. Textured Vase | 23. Memory Book | 24. Frame 25. Rattan Bar Cart | 26. Sea Salt Air Dry Spray | 27. Weightless Shine Air Dry Crème | 28. Unisex Perfume | 29. Jewelry Tray | 30. Accent Towel | 31. Bath Rug | 32. Brush | 33. Fringe Ottoman | 34. Hair Clips | 35. Necklace | 36. Earrings | 37. Floral Robe | 38. Pink Robe
1. Artificial Palm | 2. Faux Cactus | 3. Wastebasket | 4. Bell Garland | 5. Headboard | 6. Duvet Set | 7. Macrame Window Valance | 8. Lamp | 9. Nightstand | 10. Parrot Frame | 11. Zebra Jar | 12. Jewelry Tray | 13. Bell Chime | 14. Round Hanging Planter | 15. Rug | 16. Lumbar Pillow | 17. Sheet Set | 18. Moroccan Throw | 19. Green Fringe Ottoman | 20. Pink Fringe Ottoman | 21. Napkin | 22. Woven Tray | 23. Marbleized Mug | 24. Candle | 25. Orchid Wreath | 26. Round Basket | 27. Square Textured Pillow | 28. Orange Stripe Pillow | 29. Velvet Fringe Lumbar Pillow | 30. Looped Stripe Lumbar Pillow | 31. Contrast Stripe Curtain | 32. Throw Bed
Wait, before we go, for anyone interested in the canopy DIY, we put together this Pinnable materials board and step-by-step. Let us know if you have any questions!
*Photography by Sara Tramp for EHD, design and art direction by me, styling by Emily Bowser with assistance by Julie Rose
***This post is in partnership with Target, a brand who we support completely and love partnering with.