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Minimalism vs Maximalism: What’s the Difference?

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Samuel Hurley
Minimalism vs Maximalism: What’s the Difference?

The concept of minimalism has been on-trend in home decor for years. Keeping the home neat and clutter-free with neutral colour scenes creates a sense of calm and relaxation for many. But, recently, maximalism styles have slowly but surely been on the rise and are becoming loved by interior designers and home decor enthusiasts alike.

But what is a maximalist style and how exactly is it different to minimalism? In this guide, we’ll explore both decor styles to help you discover which one will suit you and your home best.

What is a Minimalist Home Decor Style?

A minimalist home decor style is exactly how it sounds, it keeps things simple and strips the room down to its most basic form. Minimalist decorating is very much an exercise in restraint, rather than buying everything you want, choose a selection of perfectly curated pieces with simple silhouettes and clean lines to create maximum impact.

Using a monochromatic, tonal colour palette along with natural textures such as wood, plants and cotton, for example, will make it easier to create a minimal look while still adding warmth to your space and avoiding it looking flat. Sometimes colour is used as an accent, such as a vibrant armchair, rug or cushions, but not including too much. Minimal homes are always uncluttered and typically feature an open floor plan, plenty of natural light and functional furniture.

Key Elements of Minimalist Interiors

When creating a minimalist interior for your own home, think about the following key elements to ensure you nail the look:

  • Bare essentials - Use the essential elements: light, layout and natural materials and avoid any excessive ornamentation and decoration. Use few, uncomplicated pieces of furniture that blend perfectly into the room.
  • Clever storage solutions - From ottomans, benches or coffee tables that double up as storage to sofa beds and media units, use clever storage solutions to keep furniture and clutter to a minimum.
  • Clean lines - Avoid highly patterned pieces or items with lots of detail and instead focus on flat, smooth surfaces, and simple shapes to make a statement.
  • Simple colour scheme - White, beige, grey and black are the most typical colour palettes you’ll find in a minimalist home as they are timeless, versatile, easy to work with and offer a fresh, clean look. For more inspiration, read our article on 20 cosy grey living room ideas and styles.

What is a Maximalism Home Decor Style?

When it comes to a maximalist decor style, the world is your oyster. It’s a chance to really show your personality and create a truly unique space. Maximalism is the total opposite to minimalism and only has one rule: the bigger and bolder the better. Vibrant, clashing colours, lots of patterns and textures, unusual shapes and no space left empty is what maximalism is all about.

This type of decor is extremely attention-grabbing and very visually stimulating. It’s definitely not a style for the faint-hearted but one for those who love making a statement in every aspect of life. With a blend of old and modern pieces, such as a contemporary sofa in a bright colour and plush material, it combines every colour, design and accent that you personally love to create a room that screams you.

Key Elements of Maximalism Interiors

If you’re feeling brave and want to experiment with a maximalist style for your home, the following elements are key to achieving the popular style:

  • Rich, bold colours - Blues, greens, reds and purples, choosing rich bold colours that stand out and grab your eye is the first step toward creating the vibrant maximalist style. Whether you paint the walls teal and include gold accents or feature bright yellow chairs, curtains or cushions to brighten up the room, the idea is to stay away from neutrals as much as possible.
  • Layering - Layering different coloured rugs or throws or creating a gallery wall of different shapes and sizes of prints will create a carefully planned cluttered look, making the room look and feel cosy, full while adding plenty of depth and interest. 
  • Unique accents - Adding multiple unique accents such as funky statues, lamps and lighting, side tables, artworks, books and more to represent all parts of your personality will inject life and fun into your space. 
  • Mix and match patterns - Like both floral and animal prints? With a maximalist style, you can combine both in a wonderfully clashing way. Mixing and matching your patterns as well as colours and textures is a great place to start when trying this style.

Is Minimalist or Maximalist Right for you?

With the two styles being so different, choosing one may seem easy for many. But, others may struggle as they try to decide whether they want a classically neat and neutral looking home or a home full of their favourite things that show off who they are. We’d recommend viewing both styles side by side on social media sites such as Pinterest or Instagram and seeing which one you’re drawn to most.

Choosing which style will work best for you can also depend on your personality type. If you love being organised and having a clean and tidy space to concentrate and relax in, then it’s likely a minimal interior is the one for you. However, if you love colours and patterns and aren’t afraid to make mistakes or try new, experimental things, maximalism may be the better option.

Take a look at some of our top 8 maximalism decor ideas for more inspiration on how to incorporate this wild style into your home.

Also, read our guide on the top 9 modern and contemporary sofa types that will easily fit in both a minimalist and maximalist style home.

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