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Maximalism: The New Minimalism?


We’ve witnessed excessive emphasis on the minimalist style throughout the past few years, but styles don’t hang around forever. Those who considered minimalist style too simple and impersonal created Maximalist style, a reaction to the minimalist movement that has aspects and elements that are practically the polar opposite to minimalist components.


White walls, minimally decorated walls, and quiet color palettes are a no-go for maximalism. When it comes to decor, the bigger, brighter, and busier the better. Think precious photographs, prized collections, and eclectic furniture, which you may have acquired over time, often in a rainbow of colors, textures, and styles. Rather than displaying one or two of these aspects, this style takes and utilizes all of them (The Spruce).

Maximalism was once a category of music, visual art, and literature which has now expanded into the interior design world. “A common misconception is that maximalism encourages hoarding items and overstuffing rooms. While it embraces the idea of excess, it's not in the way you might think. It promotes repetition, patterns, bold palettes, intricate graphic details, and one-of-a-kind possessions. Maximalism is a loud style composed of mixed patterns, excessive, but curated collections, and saturated colors” (The Spruce).


Whereas minimalism encourages decorating with the bare minimum of everything, maximalism encourages utilizing your space in the boldest way possible. Its ornate nature is reminiscent of the stately home interiors found in England, but the bold colors and modern accents are what modernizes maximalist style.


Elements of Maximalism

Those exquisite maximalist interiors you may have seen on Pinterest or Instagram can feel intimidating. When maxing out your style at home it is important to remember to include your unique preferences. "Maximalism is, in a way, much more personal than minimalism. People are not just one thing; they are complicated and complex and multifaceted—and maximalist decor expresses that," says Nicole Alexander, principal interior designer behind the firm Siren Betty Design. In some ways, maximalism allows your personality to shine through much more easily than in a minimalist space. When it comes to identifying a maximalist space, these are some key characteristics:

  • Layering

  • Repetitive patterns in prints such as florals, abstract, and animal prints

  • Rich, bold colors

  • Unique statement pieces

  • Mixing and matching of textures and colors

  • Multiples of items like books, statues, artworks etc.

  • Blending of styles—oftentimes but not limited to classic, eclectic, and boho

Alexander mentions that combining rugs, wallpapers, paintings, and photos can be a great start for curating a maximalist room. "Add furniture in different patterns and colors—each layer should share the story of your home or the people who occupy the space."

How to Incorporate the Maximalist Style In Your Home

The best way to adopt the maximalist trend is to start slow. Adding color, layering patterns, and displaying sentimental pieces of decor is a good place to begin. Keep in mind maximalist can look cluttered, so try to avoid over-accessorizing. Interior designer Anne Hepfer says, "My recommendation is to start with books, throw cushions, and plants. Then select a favorite object to put on top of your stack of books. The idea is to add a few pieces at a time. If you already own a lot of extra accessories, consider filling a bookcase to create a sense of order."

In addition, try to maintain colors and styles that are noisy, but still complement one another. Avoid clashing colors as much as possible. The photo below provides a perfect example of a maximalist room that contains different shades of blue, yellow and red in many different patterns, but nothing clashes and the bright colors are offset by some big neutral furniture, ceiling and walls. The maximalist nature allows the owner to personalize with art and decorations on the shelves, while maintaining a color scheme.

And here's another pro tip. Interior designer Isabel Ladd says that animal prints, such as leopard and snake can serve as neutral bases for a maximalist space. The colors of the prints themselves aren't over the top, so mixing these patterns can create a maximalist feeling in the room that isn't too obnoxious or noisy.

So, what is your preference? Which style speaks to you? Share with us on Instagram!


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