photograph of a mustard yellow sofa placed in the middle of a peachy pink coloured room with a dusky pink vintage dresser to the left and tall striped lamp on the right, surrounded by colourful artworks in lilac, red, pink and blue

Your guide to vintage maximalist decor

By Iona Bower on

We were right! It turns out more definitely is more after all. Maximalism has had its turn in the spotlight again and again over the years, from Louis XIV’s glamorous Versailles style, via dramatic Victorian looks, to bold 1980s interiors. Originally, maximalism was all about showing off how fabulously and spectacularly rich you were with your architectural gold chairs and hundreds of artworks crammed onto the walls. In the roaring 2020s, however, maximalism has become about thrift, upcycling and making a nod to history. Enter (boldly and dramatically) Vintage Maximalism. 

Vintage Maximalism began as a social media micro-trend, designed to help Instagrammers’ squares stand out from the crowd a little. It was also partly a response to the Scandi minimalism that pervaded for so long. Where once we were all paring back, this aesthetic is all about piling it on with gay abandon! There are very few ‘rules’ to achieving the look - you simply have to go bold and be brave, but here are a few ideas to help you get started.


 photo of a living room with bold pink painted walls, green painted inside shelf area, yellow fireplace surrounding, with a light forest green coloured velvet sofa on the left, covered by a vintage knitted throw

Vintage maximalism galore over at Heather from @heatherscolourfulhome. We love the colour combination of our Joyful Pink and Friendly Green paint colours in this living room, and the fact that every single object in here has its own story.

1. Meet the vintage maximalist colours.

Deep jewel colours, such as greens, blues and dark pinks are the order of the day. But black also has the dramatic touch you’re after. These hues let the golds and brights paired with them really sing out, and blues and greens particularly have that ‘Victorian study’ feel. Start with a coat of darkly dramatic wall paint as a backdrop for your Vintage Maximalist room. YesColours shades that would work well include Passionate Blue, Loving Green, Loving Pink and Electric Black. Now. We know we said ‘more is more’ but try to pick a palette of a handful of colours to bring a bit of cohesion to your scheme, otherwise the whole look can go a bit wild.


2. Make a statement with mismatched furniture.

Look for statement pieces of furniture that are big on character, such as Louis Ghost chairs, button-back winged armchairs and other pieces with architectural designs, as well as glass and metallic elements that ‘glow up’ your dark background. Don’t go for one period or style though. Keep it eclectic with six mis-matched chairs around the table, or several different styles of armchair, mixing velvet chaises with distressed leather club chairs, for example.


photo of a colourful dining room with vintage upholstered dark leopard print chairs, photographed on a light wooden floor in the middle of a room with four walls painted in geometric circle shapes in green, yellow, red and pink

We call this eclectic vintage maximalism. Surely the creator of this masterpiece of a dining room - Rich @househomo will agree with us. Steal the look with a set of velvet leopard print chairs from La Redoute and the following YesColours paint shades: Calming Blue, Friendly Blue, Joyful Pink, Joyful Green, Calming Yellow, Passionate Pink and Loving OrangeBon appétit!


3. Layer your layers with... more layers.

‘Layering’ is a big part of the Vintage Maximalist aesthetic and it applies everywhere. Layer up sofas with throws, blankets and cushions - you can do the same with two or more rugs on wood floors, too. Go for several different textures, which nod to various eras, such as fur, suede and velvet. But also think about layers of pattern - perhaps polka dots, ditsy prints and stripes - whether you’re layering cushions, fabrics or rugs. Stick to one colour but in a variety of patterns and textures to provide just enough eclecticism without giving you a migraine. 


4. Embrace the old and keep the new.

Another important part of the Vintage Maximalism look is mixing old and new; consider yourself an interiors time traveller. Think carefully about what you want to achieve before you make any big purchases. Do you hope to warm up a sleek, modern space with some vintage ephemera? Or do you want to add some contemporary style to a largely vintage scheme? You can incorporate this in subtle ways, perhaps by using a very modern colour such as YesColours’ Passionate Teal paint colour with vintage furniture, or by pairing a more historic shade such as our Passionate Olive Green paint colour with very contemporary art on the walls. 


photo of a light pink painted spacious bedroom with a wooden framed bed photographed on the right side, a yellow coloured bedside table on its right and a centred long clothing rack with pastel coloured dresses hanging from it

Trust us when we say we are obsessed with this bedroom. Not only because the colour scheme was designed by our Lead Colour Consultant - Emily, but because it's feminine, elegant and maximalist in a subtle and delicate way. Just like it's owner - Charlotte @wiltshirewonderland. Steal this colour combo by using our Fresh Peach paint colour on the walls, our Fresh Yellow paint colour in eggshell finish on the wall and woodwork and our Fresh Lilac and Electric Hot White paint colours in eggshell finish for the floor. 

5. Love your 'stuff'.

If you just didn’t get Marie Kondo and felt a bit sad at the thought of a minimalist home, Vintage Maximalism is here for you. Now’s your chance to celebrate all your ‘stuff’. Gather together all the things you love most and spend some time ‘curating’ them… on shelves, in corners, hung on walls… Bring out all your books and pile them artfully in corners of rooms, as well as on bookshelves. Create galleries of all your artworks, clustered together on the walls (you can theme them by colour or subject or find consistency in the frames or the spacing of the arrangement if you want to bring a little order). Then go for it with the collections of trinkets, curiosities and candles. And don’t forget plenty of houseplants - they’re a key part of the look and will bring some freshness and life to the slight dustiness of Vintage Maximalism.

Now. Boldly go where no decorator has gone before (or at least not since the last Maximalism moment).


*cover image by Charlotte @wiltshirewonderland featuring our Fresh Peach paint colour

We hope these handy home decor tips have inspired you to dive deeper into the world of Vintage Maximalism and turn your own interior into a real maximalist trend-inspired paradise. And if you need any help with choosing the colours for your space, simply book a colour consultation with us and we'll sort your colour puzzle in no time. It's easy, it's fun... and there's a free option available too.

Share your YesColours home transformation by tagging us on Instagram.