If you have been following the latest interior design magazines, news and interviews, you will have noticed one word keeps cropping up time and time again. It’s ‘maximalism’. What does this word mean? It means the opposite of minimalism, which you have heard before and come into contact with. It’s where you place more and more in each room, different depths, layers and textures. There are lots of colors, shades and tones, as well as items on different heights. However, it’s not a case of overloading your home. Yes, bric-a-brac and ornamentation are making their way into our homes but it’s not as if they are going to swamp us. That is of course, if you don’;t allow them to. So there is a finesse involved, a lighter touch to maximalism is required because unlike minimalism, moderation is harder to achieve.
The new maximalism
Maxislim has been around longer than minimalism, it just didn’t have a name. This was the normal style of most homes. Even homes that were owned by poor people in the 16-20th centuries, were maximalist. They didn’t consider that less is sometimes more, and if you have a small home, minimalism can create more room. It was normal to have photos on side tables, lamps in window sills, items such as figures and ornaments on shelves, on top of the radio, TV and drawers.
So what does the new maximalism look like? It’s being called millennial maximalism because it’s different from the previous generation’s take on the style. It’s about more personal items in the home. Once upon a time, you may have seen collections of china, figures and statues that didn’t really have a personal connection aside from meaning something abstract. Nowadays, more things that you have made, your friends and family have given you, are going to appear around the home. This kind of aesthetic is more personal and joyful than what we may have seen. It’s also a kind of anti-consumerism approach as making more things yourself not only limits waste, but you can be more proud of your items.
So how do you get started with minimalism? You will need to become more generous overall. What does this look like? Well, you just add one more of every item to begin with. Do you normally have 2 sofa cushions? Add in one more. But this time make sure it’s bright, or just offset from the others. We’re also going to be generous in how much the newly added items don’t fit into the normal look. We’re trying to enter lots of different styles into one room if we can.
You should add one more figure in your lineup. If you have figures of Japanese women on your window sill, add in one more. This time, instead of a woman, it could be a child, a man, or some kind of deity that is worshipped by that culture. If you have one seat in the room, add in more. It doesn’t have to be a chair so to speak, it can be a simple stool that is cushioned and kept around the coffee table. Not to mention, if you have one plant in each room, add one more as well. The way to get going with maximalism is to just be more generous with your decorative items.
More light variations
It’s not just items that we are concerned with, different levels of light are added into the home. There’s just more of everything as you can tell. So we advocate that you add more natural light into the home first because artificial light is not going to be a problem in terms of variations. So consider shutters or blinds that will allow you to thrust light into the home, in a moderated manner. Do you want French shutters that will be full height? Do you prefer to have bay window shutters? Cafe style shutters are very popular because they allow you to just have shutters on the bottom half of your windows making them more accessible. This is a style you see all over Europe and it’s a classic look for a home that wants to stay quaint.
You should also consider different kinds of artificial light. If you don’t have a side table lamp, you should! These can be great for limited lighting in your living room. If you would prefer not to have light shining down on you and instead, have it at eye or waist level, together with a lampshade, this can really change the look of your home. You may also want to consider LED ceiling lighting for your bedrooms, so you can change the mood of the room without needing to change the bulbs or shade.
Cover your walls with art
This may be a pastime for modern day living but it was absolutely standard in homes from the 18th to late 20th century. Walls should be covered with art, not left plain and without feeling and emotions. So what kind of wall art should you have? It should be a mix to add depth and different colors.
- Classical paintings are very desirable. Naturalistic, impressionism, and portraits are a good idea to hang on your walls
- Sculptures are great too. Putting the sculpture of a face of some kind, such as an African tribesmen is a great idea if you want an exotic wall.
- Sketches are simple but effective, they always draw the eye due to their bichrome appearance.
- Maybe some kind of 3D art would be great, such as a bird with real feathers which guests can touch. It could also be of a fish that has scales you can feel.
- It may also be a piece of art that you did. It could be a painting, drawing, abstract, sculpture, statue, etc.
Surely your walls should be decorated with multiple kinds of artwork to begin with, but many homes like to show off their wallpaper, the quality of their painted walls. So snap out of it and get adventurous. Chances are you will only place art on your walls in the living room or hallway, maybe even the foyer. But you should try to place art in every room. If you are feeling bold, you should try and consider ceiling art too. This can hang down from the ceiling, or be nailed to it.
Books express who you are
Books shouldn’t just be for reading, they can be used to decorate your rooms. Why not have some kind of bookshelf in multiple rooms? Why is it always the living room with the most amount of books? You should consider placing a bookshelf in your bedroom, your lounge, guest room, your loft conversion and even your patio. You can make a glass bookcase for your patio.
It also matters what kind of books you are keeping in each room and how they are displayed. Let’s be honest, you want your favourite books to be presented to guests first. So, you should consider leaving your best books standing on top of the bookcase, with their own support. So open the books slightly so they can stand on their base, and the front cover pointing in the direction of the entrance to the room. This could be a door, arch, or if it’s an open plan, toward the rest of the room.
The boho style
It’s very easy to see the connection between the Boho style and the maximalist style. This is because the boho style was all about comfort. It didn’t care about how the room looked, it was all about making sure that you felt comfortable. So there could be floor seating, with throws, cushions, pouffes and lots of beads that act as doors and lampshades. It was soft, cotton, wool and velvet played big roles in the boho style. So now what about maximalism?
This too offers more comfort in the home. You should consider woolen and cotton throws which you can literally throw around the room, and not worry about them. This could be placed on the sofa, seating, tables or along the floor if you have floor seating.
Consider placing different kinds of seating and cushions in your living room or patio, so there are naturally different layers of comfort. You could have a really soft seat for the floor, it could be made out of foam. The sofa cushions could be filled with feathers and the throws could be made from silk, velvet, satin, wool, faux fur, etc. If you know the boho style, maximalism shouldn’t be a large step.
Maximalism seems to be something that was always there, ready to spring out from behind the sofa when minimalism was ready to be swapped for something else. With our homes meaning more to us now than before, due to the pandemic, maybe we should consider giving marxism a try at making us feel more comfortable, more creative and more at home with layering.