When is ‘too much’ ever too much?

20th June 2018

Paint The Town Green

When you deal with colour day in and day out, maximalism is a concept you become less and less afraid of over time. Nathalie Farman-Farma, founder of textile-design business Decors Barbares is shown here wearing La Double J as shot by this month’s Vogue. We coveted La Double J’s Italian home not so long ago. It’s maximalist fashion meets interiors and quite frankly, we love it! We also love Decors Barbares who source 19 Century fabrics from Odessa to Lisbon and reprint their patterns in a 150 year-old workshop. With only high profile clients under her belt (Tory Burch, Violet von Estenholz – matchmaker to the recently married royals to name but a few!) her fabrics are inspired by the mix of colours and patterns found in traditional Persian, Central Asian and Russian costumes and as well, in Ballets Russes designs.

Reading this particular article however and studying the shots, there was something that niggled. It took a while before it became apparent. In such a glorious environment of colour, pattern and envy-incurring antique finds, the walls looked a tad out of place. Arguably bland. This perhaps was purposeful: a neutral background to highlight all that sits in front and to act less of a distraction perhaps. This however is a maximalist setting – one that doesn’t shy from ‘too much’. We looked again and as much as we didn’t want it to be true, we couldn’t help but feel the walls were borderline dull and in contrast to all else, a little cold. We immediately hypothetically re-schemed using our colours!
This realisation made us wonder when ‘too much’ is ever too much. Maximalism is an emerging ideal. Molly Mahon is inspired by colours from India and her block printing designs are bold and beautiful. Sophie Robinson is a self-confessed addict to colour and celebrates it in her work at every turn. Oliver Thomas – finalist of The Great Interior Design Challenge puts colour and pattern together that in theory shouldn’t work but look brilliant. We asked him ‘When is too much ever too much?’, a question he gets asked a lot! He says: ‘It’s always a question of balance, checking scale, colour and textures adding, and editing as you go, til you get to that eureka moment when everything just works.”  We love his idea of ‘that eureka moment’! We encourage people to have fun with their interiors, not least a lick of paint is one of the most cost effective ways to update your home. Brad Dunning once wrote in GQ magazine about maximalism: ‘to quote the Divinyls, there’s a fine line between pleasure and pain.’ We get that. In short, done wrong it’s a chaotic mess. But done well, there is no such thing as too much. Decors Barbares – please don’t take offence. We adore you and your work. It’s just that we love wall colour too.


Paint the Town Green is a bespoke decorating company with its own range of high calibre eco-friendly paints which have the lowest possible levels of VOCs, making them a better choice for you and the environment. All water based, they are odourless, quick drying and come in three finishes: matt, wipeable or eggshell.

For more information about our paints, for a free colour consultancy or for a decorating quote, please visit our showroom at 39a&b Allfarthing Lane or call us on 020 8871 0531.

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