From interior design to organization, minimalism has been a popular trend for much of the 21st century. While it is still part of the zeitgeist, minimalism has taken a backseat to its counterpart, maximalism. But when it comes to minimalism vs. maximalism, the styles share more similarities than you may think.
While you may be inclined to lean toward one aesthetically, this decision is about more than looks alone. Minimalism and maximalism go beyond design, ultimately determining how you want to feel in the space.
Maximalism in Interior Design
As the tide begins to turn from minimalist, modern farmhouse spaces adorned with the bare necessities, the spotlight on maximalist design trends has returned. Maximalism is all about throwing tradition to the wind and mindfully filling your space with items you love. Your decor doesn’t have to belong to the same design style to give your room a cohesive look.
The biggest thing to keep in mind is that maximalist design must be purposeful to avoid looking cluttered or unorganized. By focusing on the hallmarks of maximalism, you can avoid common pitfalls and create a space that looks intentional rather than untidy.
Bright Colors (And Lots of Them)
If you’ve ever wanted to paint your walls a daring color but feared it would be ‘too much’ for the space, a maximalist design scheme is the perfect excuse to give it a try. In fact, vivid hues are encouraged, so select a complementary palette and allow the shades to collide.
There’s no need to worry about having a matching furniture set with a maximalist interior. A mismatched assortment of colors, fabrics, and patterns that span any number of eras are ideal for this type of aesthetic. If you’re in need of inspiration, try to think of creating a space that feels collected over time.
A Combination of Patterns
From intricate wallpapers to richly textured fabrics, maximalist design thrives with layered patterns. While this may feel like a decorating faux pas, it will actually add depth and complexity to the space.
Mixing and Matching Textures
Velvet and woven fabric, silk and chenille, damask and leather—these materials may fall on opposite ends of the tactile spectrum, but pair seamlessly in a maximalist interior. Designing this kind of space is about tapping into your five senses. Opt for materials you love, regardless of traditional decor conventions.
Adding in Personal Collections
Maximalists cherish their personal collections and often use them as focal points in their design. Turn your space into a visual narrative of your life by displaying personal mementos from childhood to today.
Nothing is off-limits when it comes to decorating a maximalist area. Use this as your opportunity to purchase or commission a few items outside of your comfort zone. Whether it’s large-scale artwork, ornate mirrors, or oversized lighting fixtures, these pieces will contribute to the opulent ambiance of the interior.
Multiple Focal Points
The idea of more than one focal point might seem counterintuitive, but maximalism is about taking in the entirety of the space. Multiple focal points keep your eyes moving throughout the room, rather than focusing on one area. Use height and dimension to your advantage by incorporating accent pieces at varying levels and depths within the room.
Ultimately, maximalism can be achieved by decorating with the senses. Between cozy textures, comforting scents, and visually appealing patterns, the combination of how your space looks and feels will help guide you.
Minimalism in Interior Design
With all of its recent popularity, minimalism is a concept that most people are familiar with. It boils down to choosing simplicity and necessity, filling your space with items that serve a purpose, and opting for color palettes that are easy on the eye.
Minimalism, however, is not a synonym for boring. Minimalist spaces are often inspiring in their straightforwardness and while they may look effortless, they are anything but.
Designing a room with minimalist principles takes careful consideration. Just like maximalist design, it is important to style a minimalist space based on how you feel, but with a focus on functionality versus emotion.
Neutral or Monochromatic Color Palettes
It’s a simple fact that neutral colors are easiest to decorate with. Minimalist spaces often use neutral colors like whites, grays, and earth tones to uncomplicate design decisions. Not only does this make the space highly functional, but also creates an atmosphere of serenity and tranquility.
Simplicity in Furnishings
The priority for minimalist furniture is functionality. Pieces that double as storage or those that can be converted for different uses are a minimalist’s dream. In terms of aesthetics, think of sleek furniture pieces with an emphasis on clean lines and a lack of ornate detailing.
Use of Negative Space
Minimalism celebrates the beauty of untouched spaces. These open canvases allow room for thoughts and emotions to breathe.
Choose one accent to focus on in your space. Keep in mind, that a key principle of minimalism is that items should carry purpose and meaning, while also contributing to the overall aesthetic.
Focus on Functionality
Every element in a truly minimalist space should serve a purpose, enhancing the efficiency and usability of the area. Ottomans that double as storage, coffee tables that can be raised and lowered, or even a sleeper sofa are all items you might find in a minimalist space.
Consistency in Materials
Minimalism goes beyond function and aesthetics. Eco-friendly elements are quite common in minimalism; committing to similar materials throughout the space will create a cohesive look with less of a carbon footprint.
Patterns aren’t off-limits, but bold, busy motifs aren’t the norm. If you want to incorporate patterns into your space, opt for monochromatic designs in neutral palettes that don’t compete with any other elements in the room.
Minimalism vs. Maximalism: What They Have in Common
Smart Use of Storage
Getting the most out of a space isn’t unique to one aesthetic or another. For a maximalist design, this may entail taking advantage of vertical space by using floating shelves to display treasured mementos. Storage in a minimalist interior is more about being able to tuck items away when they’re not in use in order to create that clean, seamless look.
Use of Natural Materials
Natural materials are welcome in both minimalist and maximalist designs. With a minimalist space, you’ll want to stick to one or two complementary materials, while a maximalist space gives you the opportunity to combine natural materials with unexpected textures.
Focus on artwork
Contrary to what some people think, artwork is an important element of minimalist design, just as it is for maximalist spaces. Maximalism doesn’t put limits on the style or type of artwork, whereas minimalism requires a more thoughtful approach.
Minimalism vs. Maximalism: Your Preference May Surprise You
While minimalism and maximalism are opposing design philosophies, each offers a unique approach to creating visually striking and functional spaces. No matter where you fall on the minimalist vs. maximalist spectrum, both hold their unique charm and appeal. At the end of the day, each style offers a distinct way to transform your living space into a reflection of your personal taste and lifestyle.