Maximalism vs. Minimalism: What influences your style?

The other day my daughter sent me a photo of what she thought was an example of maximalism done very well:



I thought…”Oooo, our space would lend itself well to a style like this.” My husband and I live in a lofty apartment that is wide open and could use a bit (or a lot) more creativity.

Then it got me thinking about the difference between minimalism and maximalism. Minimalism has been the trend for quite some time now. I feel like my mother was way ahead of this trend. She has been a proponent of minimalism ever since I can remember. I love it too. It’s really easy to clean, and it’s easy on the mind.

The problem is, I’ve always been a bit, well….chaotic would be the nice word, messy would be the judge-y word. I have always been comfortable in a little bit of chaos. A space that looks like it’s from a magazine feels cold and not lived-in to me. I love a clean counter in the kitchen, with not too many appliances, I would love to have clean surfaces in our home all the time, but that just doesn’t happen. I am reminded of a quote by Einstein:

“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk?”

So, what are the differences? Diane Koopman at sums it up nicely:

Minimalism is:

  • clean lines

  • empty spaces

  • plain colours/patterns

  • clearing of surfaces

  • having only what is necessary

  • living with less

  • a need for singularity and clarity

    Minimalism embraces storage. It doesn’t mean you don’t have stuff, it means it is neatly stored, organized and put away.

Maximalism is:

  • visually and spatially busier

  • bold colours/patterns

  • filling a room with interest and variety

  • always something new to discover

  • dynamic and flexible

  • a gradual evolution of space

  • order within chaos

    A maximalist room is brimming with life and history, with set intention and deliberate design.

I was at a friend’s studio apartment for a coffee, and every time I am there I find something new. The space borrows from both styles, but heavily leans toward maximalism. It’s extremely well-appointed and it’s always a joy just to be in there because it’s just so vital and exciting. There’s always something new that I didn’t notice before.

We are fed trends that people follow madly. Minimalism is one of those trends. IMHO, there are appropriate places for both in a living space. I personally want my bathroom to be minimalist, my sleeping space minimal, but the place where I hang out the most, my living space, to be more visually interesting and a space that reflects my/our creativity.

It’s fun and, I think, valuable, to reflect on your own personal style and to think about how you might want to elevate your living space. I’m inspired to work on an art wall similar to the one in the photo. We have the space, and I am wanting to fill it up with beauty.

Here’s to inspiration,

xxx C