How 'more is more' has become THE mantra for high society interiors!

Carrie’s right, ‘more IS more’ for high-end interiors! As Downing Street gets a revamp, the socialites and designers who favour ‘manor house maximalism’ including Poppy Delevingne and Annabel’s Martin Brudnizki

  • Carrie Symonds is reportedly redesigning No 10 in the style of Lulu Lytle
  • The interior designer favours maximalist interiors offering wall-to-wall luxury   
  • The ‘more is more’ look can be seen in members’ clubs and posh country homes 

Chintzy wallpaper, dark wood and clashing fabrics might bring to mind your Granny’s cluttered living room – but now they are key features of the maximalist interiors trend that’s captured the hearts – and purses – of well-heeled homeowners. 

Carrie Symonds is reportedly adopting a ‘more is more’ approach when it comes to redesigning her Downing Street living quarters, drawing inspiration from London-based Lulu Lytle, whose Soane Britain company offers clients wall-to-wall luxe with a promise of bringing ‘joie de vivre’ into the home.

But Lytle is far from alone in offering this ‘more is more’ approach to interior design, which has the power to bring the feeling of an eclectic manor house to even the smallest of city flats.  

Socialites, celebrities and high-end designers are all fans of the trend, bringing floral wallpaper, rattan furniture and gold accents to their homes, hotels and private members’ clubs.  

High society hangout: The luxurious interiors of London private members’ club Annabel’s typifies the maximalist trend. The design is the brainchild of Martin Brudnizki, who took inspiration from the Garden of Eden. Above, Amber le Bon and Sabrina Percy at Annabel’s

Go-to designer: Rita Konig whose signature look is colourful and comfortable. Her portfolio boasts country piles, sleek New York apartments and Notting Hill pieds-a-terre

Carrie’s inspiration: Carrie Symonds interiors overhaul after moving into Number 11 Downing Street is said to have been inspired by Lulu Lytle – with an example of her work pictured above

‘The foundations of this aesthetic are based on the principle of grand old country house interior design,’ explained interior designer Benji Lewis of Zoom That Room (zoomthatroom.com). ‘But where it’s clever is that it isn’t contained within this and allows itself sufficient decorative wriggle room to adapt and include all sorts of elements. 

‘It can suit all manner of tastes – think traditional floral wallpaper with a supersized photograph of Jimmy Hendrix playing live at Woodstock.’ 

Award-winning designer Ben Pentreath, who is said to count the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge among his clients, is known for his playful combinations of colours and fabrics, as are Kit Kemp, who brings her personal brand of maximalism to the properties in her Firmdale Hotels group. 

Then there is Rita Konig, daughter of the designer Lucy Campbell, whose portfolio boasts country piles, sleek New York apartments and Notting Hill pieds-a-terre.

Her signature look is colourful and comfortable; pretty, but never twee. Think luxurious upholstery, hotel-worthy beds, jewel tones, subtle patterns and artfully mismatched prints.

Champions include Poppy Delevingne, who has a striking jungle-print wash closet, and Countess Alexandra Tolstoy, the ex-partner of exiled Russian banker Sergei Pugachev, who has brought her own personal brand of maximalism to properties in London and the country.

Personal flair: Countess Alexandra Tolstoy, whose ex-partner is exiled Russian banker Sergei Pugachev, is a lover of maximalism. Pictured, at the desk of her former London home


Bold and beautiful: The wash closet in Poppy Delevingne’s London home (right) is covered in a jungle-inspired print. Pictured left, Poppy with her supermodel sister Cara

Cashing in: Brands supplying bold fabrics, printed cushions and quirky objets d’art are cashing in. House of Hackney, which burst onto the scene in 2011 enjoyed its most successful year ever in 2020. Pictured, a room in the House of Hackney’s Cornish castle

The style is also reflected within the walls of the hotspots favoured by these socialites, like Annabel’s, which has Martin Brudnizki to thank for its ultra glamorous interiors. 

Brudnizki, who worked closely with Caprice chairman Richard Caring on other restaurants belonging to the group, including The Ivy and Sexy Fish, was inspired by the Garden of Eden and flora and fauna abound. 

Brands supplying bold fabrics, printed cushions and quirky objets d’art are cashing in.

Creative corners: You don’t need money to be a maximalist, explained interior designer Benji Lewis who produced this stunning space. And you don’t need huge amounts of space, either

The high-end House of Hackney, which burst onto the scene in 2011 enjoyed its most successful year ever in 2020, selling £150 animal cushions and intricate £370 lampshades to wealthy shoppers wanting to recreate the look at home.

But you don’t need money to be a maximalist, explained Benji, and you don’t need huge amounts of space, either. 

‘There’s not a room in a home that couldn’t be handled in a maximalist way,’ he said. ‘Think tongue & groove boarding in a downstairs WC with a set of prints on a wallpapered wall, lit with a wall light or go.’ 

How to master maximalism at home

Benji Lewis, of Zoom That Room, shared these tips: 

  • Setting in place fantastic bones on which to build a room scheme, with a very well-planned furniture layout
  • Establish a lighting design to concentrate on artificial ambient lighting with a mix of table lamps, floor lights and wall lights (include a pendant or two as well if you like)
  • Curation – consider the items you include with care so that what looks slightly chaotic is actually anything but – there are likely no happy accidents to an interior that suggest ‘clutter and chaos’ – a more accurate description might be ‘confident curated chaos’ – the key is to not fixate on everything matching, be prepared to clash a little at times, mix up your seating, blend antique French armchairs with a modern mirror glass cube table
  • Colour, pattern, and texture – mix these ingredients up in the way you’d do anything creative, and build up layers of interest accordingly – think floral chintz, add a woven geometric, include bullion fringe, a traditional table lamp and a contemporary floor light

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