Minimalist Home Decor

Photo Courtesy: LivSpace

Happy New Year! We’re looking forward to embracing all that 2022 offers, including exciting design trends for the home and office. After we put away our holiday decorations, people tend to feel one of two ways. Either they feel their home looks drab and empty or that they need to declutter after looking at Christmas decorations for a month or more. With these scenarios in mind, this month we’re covering minimalism and maximalism in home décor, and even how these concepts can be adapted into existing and new construction homes.

Minimalism Defined
Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe (Mies) was a preeminent, modern architect who emigrated from Germany to the United States during the rise of Naziism. He led the architecture school at what became the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. He is credited with popularizing the “less is more” approach to architecture and design. This has evolved into the minimalism design style that remains popular today.

Minimalism vs Maximalism in Home Design

Photo Courtesy: LivSpace

Conceptually, minimalism focuses on design with a purpose. Many crave this design aesthetic after the holidays or when seeking a serene environment. As MyDomaine explains, “Paring things down to the basics and ditching the superfluous can do wonders for your sanity—not to mention it looks super sophisticated and sleek.”

Minimalism takes on a clean, uncluttered look with typically a neutral or monochromatic palette. Accent colors are kept to a single hue and are used judiciously as shown in the room above. (A misconception is that minimalism is bland and austere but it actually can be quite welcoming.) Furniture and lighting tend to have straight lines. Rather than having a collage of several art pieces, feature one larger masterpiece.

This style also questions the reason for each element in a room. When incorporating accessories in a minimalist home, we encourage our clients to edit and then edit a bit more. In fact, we remind homeowners that it’s refreshing to rotate accessories throughout the year. Store some items in easily accessible cabinets or drawers and later update the décor when replacing those items previously on display. Not all favorites need to be visible all the time. Like the other furniture described above, storage cabinets include handles or pulls with clean, simple lines or are handle-less as shown in the example below.

handle-less drawers in a minimalist design

Photo Courtesy: Modsy

Since this design approach adopts the less is more concept, it inspires owners to truly curate their belongings. As a rule of thumb, we recommend investing in quality over quantity. This idea resonates with minimalist décor.

Maximalism Defined
If you’re looking at your home after the holiday ornaments have been put away and the blandness has you feeling blue, maximalism may be the design style for you. A clear departure from minimalism, this extravagant design approach has roots in the 1970s and has regained popularity recently.  After two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, maximalism allows you to enjoy vibrant colors and treasured items — all without leaving home!

As shown in the example below, bold contrasting colors bring vibrancy to this space. The vivid orange from the sofa repeats in numerous accessories on the bookshelves. Notice the curves in the sofa, bookshelves and circular rug (even in the rug’s pattern), which contrast with the straight lines of minimalism. The circular motion is also echoed in the light fixture hanging above.

bold colors in maximalist home decor

Photo Credit: The Spruce & Home_ec-op

Photo Courtesy: The Spruce & ImJessicaBrigham

In addition to adopting bold colors, maximalism plays with scale, pattern and shimmer from paint and wallpaper to fabric and accessories. Looking again at the above example, both orange and blue are used boldly, instead of using a secondary softer hue as an accent.

Maximalists often even paint or wallpaper ceilings as shown in the example at right. (For more examples of decorating your ceiling, see “Create a Statement with Ceiling Treatments” on our blog.)

Layering is the name of the game. Layer fabrics in window treatments, sofa cushions, throw pillows and blankets. Extra trims are common with this design approach, so splurge on additional trims for your accent pillows and throws. The example on the right even uses a tapestry layered behind the bed as a substitute for a traditional headboard.



Maximalism design and displaying of collections

Photo Courtesy: The Spruce and MaggieOverByStudios

Maximalism also encourages you to display your collections, while grouping like colors or finishes to create a cohesive look. In the above example, MaggieOverByStudios creates a collage of silhouettes that she’s collected. By grouping these together on one wall, they appear as a gallery-like display. The consistent black and white theme unites the individual frames. Collages like this one can even extend across an entire wall.

Similarly, highlighting your collections from past travels, heirlooms and art can be staged on a smaller scale. The example below from The Spruce and The Alluring Home present a tasteful presentation of blue and white pottery before a fireplace. Not only do collections like these reflect the owner’s unique personality, but the groupings also remind residents of indulgences of the past. Exhibiting treasures is a way to appreciate your abundance and welcome luxury into the home.

Collections of pottery or vases are popular with maximalism

Photo Courtesy: The Spruce & The Alluring Home


Even with a maximalist design style, the décor needs to provide a place for the eyes to rest. Establishing one or two key features in a room allows you to embrace the color, pattern and abundant nature of maximalism while still looking tidy and professional.

If you’re ready for a fresh look that uses minimalism, maximalism or a blend of both, Pamela Hope Designs would love to cultivate the look that’s ideal for you. Contact us to schedule an appointment to jumpstart the creative process.

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