You Say Hysterical, I Say Maximalist, Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off

You Say Hysterical, I Say Maximalist, Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off
My labrador Penny and me during the taping of EditieNL

What can I say? I love TV! And I don’t mean watching it – although I always thoroughly enjoy lying in bed together with my black lab Penny and bingeing the night away. What I mean, is that I love BEING on TV. I love the excitement, the attention, and the fact that you always have to talk ‘bigger’ than you would normally. Maximalist, I suppose.

And now that we’re on the subject, we need to talk about maximalism. If I can be brutally honest, I was moving away from maximalist interiors towards something more refined and elegant. Well, in my mind at least. Because the moment I got a telephone call last week from Dutch TV show EditieNL, asking if I wanted to say a few things on camera about ‘hysterical’ interiors, I did not hesitate one second. After all, I’ve lived in a maximalist interior ever since I painted out my entire living room in hot pink all the way back in 2017.

If you look at interior design trends in 2023, I guess we’re nearing peak maximalism. And like with any trend, when it’s at its most popular, that’s when things start to go downhill. Mainstream retailers catch on, too many people jump on the bandwagon for things to stay fashionable, and before you know it, the entire thing comes crashing down.

Instead of being seen as a tasteful celebration of all the abundance we’re lucky to have in the western world, maximalism is currently turning into a funhouse mirror version of itself. Case in point: A restaurant featuring – count ‘em – 172 chandeliers opened a while ago in the Dutch provincial town of Amersfoort. In true style, it is called Dolle Diva – which is Dutch for Crazy Diva – and quickly earned the label HYSTERICAL. And let me tell you right here, right now…hysterical does not equal maximalist.

Hysterical is about not knowing what you’re doing or your emotions being out of control. I’m pretty confident, though, that the owner of Dolle Diva knew exactly what he was doing when he settled on the theme of his establishment. Although now that I think of it, I do admit that ‘Crazy Diva’ has some ‘hysterical’ connotations. Okay, now I’m confused. And so, I guess the only way to find out if Dolle Diva is meant as maximalist or hysterical is for me to actually go there and check it out myself.

Anyway, back to my interior! So, I was asked to tell on Dutch national television how you can translate a ‘hysterical’ hospitality concept to your own home. I told them that for practical reasons you cannot do so literally. After all, having dozens of chandeliers in your living room would be a bitch to clean. Instead, I dutifully explained the four elements of styling (colour, shape, material, pattern), pointed out how you can translate one of them from, let’s say, a restaurant to your own living room.

When you think about it that way, it’s really not that hard. Maximalism is not about going over the top, it’s about getting as near to the top as you can and keeping it tasteful. It’s all trial and error, but let’s face it – isn’t that the case in every good interior? And now that I have that figured out, I guess it’s time to start moving on to something else. I don’t know yet what the next incarnation of my living room will look like, but I’ll keep you posted.