Does Maximalism + Small Spaces = Chaos & Claustrophobia?
Maybe…Or Maybe Not.
I was scrolling through Pinterest the other day and came across a few images with the title “Maximalist Interior Design”. Some were beautiful and some were just… well, terrifying (to be honest). And then I had a thought. I wondered whether this design style was used in smaller spaces. Turns out Maximalist Interior Design In Small Spaces is a thing! And quite popular too.
Naturally I did some more digging (and more scrolling) and figured this might make an interesting post.
Here’s what I found out.
Trigger Warning: Minimalists, be warned. This page contains images of brightly colored rooms, copious amounts of patterns, and A LOT of accessories. If you find any of these things distressing, then I advise you to look away. Look away Now!…Hehe.
Just kidding. Keep reading!
So, What Is Maximalist Interior Design? Really.
When you hear maximalist interior design you might think along the lines of … a fairly neat hoarder house, right? (or maybe that’s just me). But, as it turns out, maximalist design is far more interesting. And not as scary.
“Maximalism is a loud style composed of mixed patterns, excessive, but curated collections, and saturated colors. Its strongly opposed counterpart minimalism encourages paring everything down to its bare minimum, but maximalism encourages utilizing your space in the boldest way possible.”– Deirdre Sullivan– Home Improvement & Interior Design Writer For The Spruce.
She Continued, “Maximalist style was a reaction to the minimalist movement and 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.”
More Than Just ‘Stuff’
At first glance, you’d think that maximalism encourages hoarding (no one would blame us).
But according to Sullivan, maximalist interior design is not about adding random stuff to your decor. It’s about curating a collection of things that tell a story. Your story. Maximalist design promotes repetition and intricate graphic details and encourages the homeowner to display their one-of-a-kind possessions.
This design style certainly follows a ‘More Is More’ philosophy when it comes to decor. The no-rules-necessary approach to decorating is the cornerstone of maximalist design. An attractive quality to many designers.
Common Characteristics Of Maximalist Interior Design:
- Busy walls – Walls laden with photographs or art, oftentimes from ceiling to floor
- Bold colors and repetitive patterns
- Multiple items like books, sculptures, plants, etc.
- Eclectic furniture
- Multiple, layered textures
- Layered rugs
- A mixture of different interior design styles, and
- Most times it’s literally all of the above combined…
Maximalism In Small Spaces
It may seem counterintuitive to add more stuff to an already small space, but maximalists just don’t care. They’ve managed to squeeze almost all their prized possessions into their small homes effortlessly and stylishly.
If you’re a born maximalist downsizing to a smaller place, you should know that you don’t have to sacrifice personal style for more visual space. In other words, you don’t have to force minimalism just because you live in a smaller home. Maximalists Can Do Small Space Too!
Some Examples of Maximalists Interior Design In Small Spaces
These small spaces are bursting with personality, color and of course, style. It’s chic maximalism minus the claustrophobia.
Delhi Maximalist Living Room
This Delhi-based work studio-turned-livingroom gets maximalist decor right. There are tons of colors in this room, but they all come together beautifully. They all play their own part in the overall design. While this room certainly has a lot going on, it doesn’t look or feel cluttered. It’s just full of personality!
Tiny Home Maximalism
A Tiny House that’s totally anti-minimalism. This maximalist tiny home features a colorful geometric kitchen backsplash and busy black and white bedroom wallpaper. More is certainly more for the owners of this home. This 190-square-foot tiny home has been featured on TeeHugger, Curbed, Apartment Therapy. Interiors were designed by the Galeana Group.
I absolutely love this kitchen! But honestly guys, I don’t know about that bedroom. That bedroom wallpaper is giving me anxiety right now (Lol). what do you think?
Small Space Maximalism Using Color
This petite 8′ x 8′ living room is the definition of maximalism, with its fuchsia walls and kaleidoscope rug. Bold colors are put on show here to create a design-packed space for entertaining or relaxing. Again, notice how there is quite a lot happening in this space, but it still feels airy and bright. The mirror is strategically placed opposite the window to help bounce natural light around.
- 5 Tips For Using Dark Paint Colors In Small Rooms.
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- You’re Gonna Love These Dark Accent Walls In Small Spaces!
Boho Maximalist Decor
Bohemian style, in general, has a lot of similar characteristics to maximalist design. In fashion, it’s multiple and layered jewelry and busy, intricate patterns for clothing. This makes it an obvious choice for maximalist interior design. The layered table cloth and multi-textured pillows are inherently bohemian but also synonymous with maximalist decor. The same no-rules-approach applies.
Dark Walls And A Ton Of Accessories
Image Credit: Lily Sawyer Interior Design
This 5 bedroom London Victorian home was designed by Lily Sawyer. The plan for this home: Homely, eclectic, bold, cozy, maximalist, lived-in family home. The before and after pictures on her website show how this space took a huge leap from minimalist to maximalist design.
Sawyer breaks all the small space rules by not only bringing more items into this space but by also incorporating dark walls and fixtures. Creating a bold eclectic style that’s bursting with personality.
Source:@zebodeko on Instagram
Exactly how many plants are considered too many? Sometimes maximalism involves more than just layered rugs and artwork. Sometimes it’s all about plants! This earthy bedroom has certainly embraced Biophilic interior design with an abundance of greenery and natural decor elements.
Personally, if I were to become a maximalist, this is the route I would take. I’d have no problem filling my home with plants. It’s like living in a greenhouse! You can’t go wrong with plants. They’re beautiful and good for your health.
Related Posts: These Indoor Gardens Are Perfect For Small Spaces
Tips For Creating Maximalist Design In Small Spaces (Without The Chaos).
1. Be intentional and purposeful. Showcase a collection only of the things you love. Maximalism in small spaces is not about pulling out everything you own and stuffing it into your home. It’s about thoughtfully curating and displaying pieces that tell a story. Choose open and interesting shelving to display your beloved collection.
2. Create an art wall that draws the eye up. If you’re into art, designate a wall to display all of your favorite pieces. Do the same for photographs. Take art up to the ceiling to create the illusion of height in the room. Society 6 has some really unique wall art for every style!
3. Add living things. Plants in maximalism design help to break up the space visually and are a great way to add diversity. It also helps the room feel a little less like an overstuffed museum. Be sure to add plants of all different sizes and shapes to create some dimension throughout the space.
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It’s safe to say that square footage (and the lack thereof) is irrelevant when it comes to maximalist design. Small space maximalism proves that small spaces are more versatile than many would think. This design style delivers boldness and personality. Done right, maximalism adds creative charm and intrigue to any space.
While I don’t plan to become a maximalist any time soon, it’s certainly fun to see how the other half lives. More than that, it’s great to see more proof that small-space-living does not require sacrifices in individuality or personal style. Just because you’ve decided to downsize doesn’t mean that you have to suddenly become a minimalist. It’s all about creating a space you feel at home in.
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