Left chevron
Left chevron

Dean Keyworth, the Master of Maximalism

Megan Hill
A bright yellow staircase with dark wood accents designed by Dean Keyworth.
Dean Keworth smiles candidly, wearing blue pinstripe suit
Dean Keyworth—founder of interior design studio Armstrong Keyworth

Dean Keyworth is the former president of the British Institute of Interior Design and the founder of leading interior design firm Armstrong Keyworth.

See for yourself

Circumstances permitting, Dean always opts to meet his clients face to face. And ideally, those meetings take place on-site because Dean has learnt that the best way to envision a client's future home is to stand in the heart of their existing one. "I can pick up cues of what the client likes and how they live just by being in their space. I think finding out how someone lives is more telling than their aesthetic preferences."

On-site meetings continue throughout the entire project to help Dean pick up on any client concerns straight away. However, he always follows up his meetings with detailed emails—always best to have things in writing!

Reality > imagination

The design must adapt to the lifestyle, not the other way around. As Dean says, "There is no point putting in a formal dining room if entertaining consists of beer and pizza! And you need to be mindful that live-in staff or small children radically changes the rhythm of daily life."

That being said, Dean will always attempt to tailor to aesthetic preferences too. "Sometimes people like things they see in magazines or online and want me to replicate them in their own home. But often their room is a different shape, has a lower ceiling or is a different kind of architecture, so I have to adapt their vision to make it suitable for their environment."

Dean will only accept that he has truly delivered if, at the end of a project, the client exclaims, “It’s even better than I imagined!"

An ectremely maximalist bathroom, golden column pattern wallpaper with contrasting tiles and golden finishings
Did somebody say maximalism? Golden grandeur cloakroom designed by Dean Keyworth

So, what is the secret to securing that "better than I imagined" reaction?

Dean never shies away from the grand, the bold, the daring. In keeping, we challenged Dean to decipher the true desires of a client seeking a 'maximalist' design for a living room—if he only had five questions to work with...

What... do you mean by ‘maximalist’?

Is it a bold colour, lots of patterns, ornate detail such as fringed upholstery, lots of objects or a combination of these elements?  People interpret style labels in different ways and it is important to drill down into which aspects attract them to a certain look.

When... do you need this room by?

If you have a party in 6 weeks, there is no point in me suggesting hand-woven rugs or bespoke furniture that will take months to arrive.

Why... does maximalism appeal to you?

Is it a fashion thing or do you genuinely love to be constantly stimulated by your living environment?  

Who... will be using the room on a regular basis?

I need to know if these will include, children, people with disabilities, older people or pets to cater for their needs accordingly.

Where... do you envisage having your Christmas tree?

There needs to be a socket in the right place for fairy lights!

A huge open plan dining-living area with balcony floor and big church-esque windows
Maximalist living space designed by Armstrong Keyworth Interiors

Got a question for Dean? Visit his website. Or check out more of Dean's work on Instagram.