Get The Look: Maximalism in 1/12th Scale for the Dolls House

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07 May 2012
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Jane Kubiesa reveals the secrets behind maximalist design in miniature. ...
Get The Look: Maximalism in 1/12th Scale for the Dolls House Images

Someone once described maximalism as looking like an explosion in an interior design shop - it is a fair description of this unusual, eclectic style. Maximalism began as an antidote to the austere and sanitised minimalist look, mixing clashing patterns and colours with lashings of accessories and nick-nacks to fill every conceivable space. This is the style that the Victorians would have adopted if they were here today.

For the miniaturist, the flooring of choice is the self-adhesive carpet which mimics the shag pile flooring popular with this style, and comes in a wide range of colours. Scatter brightly coloured rugs with heavy patterns and textures to complete the busy look - Turkish, Chinese or brash 1970's prints all work well.

Walls tend to be randomly covered with every kind of picture, painting and wall decoration imaginable. If any of the actual wall covering is still visible, it should be ornate and highly patterned with painted skirting boards. There are two main options in wall coverings; the first is a different design of wall paper or paint on each wall, but in complimentary colours. The second uses lavishly painted wallpaper for all walls, with the same or a related pattern on all soft furnishings like bed covers, cushions, lampshades and curtains. Floral and animal or bird patterns are ideal.



Janet Granger's co-ordinating projects in 1/12th scale & Kay Burton's abstract original artwork

In homage to its Victorian inspired links and its use of 1970's fashions, any lighting in a maximalist interior really needs a traditional fabric shade. And whether this has spacey 1970 patterns, chintzy florals, tassels or a striking colour, it can be used on ceiling lights, wall lights, table or standard lamps.


Kay A. Burton's bird themed interiors collection includes over 40 items, papers, fabric, prints, plates etc

With this look once you think your room is finished; add a few more items and then your're done. In terms of furnishings - anything goes. This style aims to use items from every period and nothing is thrown away. Cupboards are banished in favour of open shelves and display cabinets to show off everything your miniature homeowner has.

How to Customise

  • Re-cover sofas and chairs in the same floral or animal pattern fabric.
  • Curtians, throws, cushions, lampshades and bed sheets can also be made with the same material for a unified finish.



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Jaspers Miniatures Wonham Starburst Colours double duvet set & Contemporary sofa & chair from 1 Inch Minis of America

  • Fabric can be scanned and resized on a computer or photocopier to create artwork and lining paper for the inside of shelves or drawers.
  • Waterslide decal paper for home printing can be used to add your chosen motif to plain crockery or ceramic tiles.
  • Give furniture a lick of paint in bold block colour to complement the room. Use silver, gold or marker pen to add interest.
  • The more accomplished artist could try painting miniature scenes or animals onto table tops.



Medieval cupboard from Ann High, Palm Tree Design Commode from ACD Miniatures & Blondie Creations USA Flag Table

Where to find inspiration

To get an idea of the kind of excesses involved in maximalism, the Victorians can show us a thing or two. Visit Eastnor Castle's Gothic Drawing room by A.W. Pugin (, or pop by the Victoria and Albert museum ( for a wealth of Victorian design.

For inspiration from full-sized furniture from maximalist trend setters, has a range of unique furniture with a retro edge, while companies like Fabulous Furniture ( and Straight Line Designs Inc. ( feature quirky fashions ideal for translating into 1/12th scale.

This feature was originally published in Dolls House and Miniature Scene magazine. If you like making miniatures, why not buy yourself a copy of the magazine. Or better still take out a subscription so you never miss an issue. For fans of Facebook and Twitter, or to email, print or comment on the feature, please use the buttons above to share with your friends.

For materials and suppliers, please take a look at the marketplace section of this website.


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