Interior designer Abigail Ahern calls herself ‘an unabashed maximalist’. In her new book Everything: A Maximalist Style Guide, she guides us through this explorative and optimistic style and how to achieve it. Here she shares her top tips for turning your home into a maximalist welcoming cocoon this autumn.
Paint the floor
It’s such an easy trick. I did the whole stripping and varnishing thing, and my floorboards were still too orange. I hated them. I painted the floor the same dark colour as the walls and it elevated everything in the room — the sofa looked cooler, the rug looked cooler, the lights, the plants, it made everything in the room more of a star.
We’ve got lots of little succulents, plants you can put on any surface, on a mantelpiece or on a heap of books, in bathrooms and kitchens. They are instant pick-me-ups.
If everything is overlit it is not relaxing. Any light that’s suspended or in the ceiling has to be dimmable. We need enough light to cook, but the minute I sit at the dining table I don’t want the light glaring at me like Heathrow. Table lights create pockets of isolated glow with little bits of shadow and mystery in between. Plonking two lamps on my kitchen counter changed that room around.
Tall trees improve the view (if you want to see less)
We’ve got these glass doors in the living room so I see the garden all year. We planted 14 trees in our garden and they are just under 100ft now. I’ve grown them high so that I can’t see any other buildings.
Include lots of cosifiers
Is that a word? Putting the rug on the landing was instant cosification. Books are great cosifiers, so I always use them in my decorating arsenal. As is anything old. I used to visit Kempton antiques market, Newark and Ardingly, and Porte de Vanves in Paris.
Photograph by Graham Atkins-Hughes.