If there's one thing that's become a mantra in the past 20 years of decorating, it's that less is more. But there's a new wave of thought that's decidedly old-fashioned, and it says that less is sterile and un-homey. There are those who feel that there is comfort in stuff, like the overfull bookshelves in your grandmother's living room, the ceramic figures that adorned the tops of dressers, and the chintz and patterned wallpaper that gave her rooms life. Has our give-it-all-away decluttering left us with little to cherish and a home absent of homeyness? Some say yes.
If owning very little and having few possessions is a relief, maximalism is not for you. Maximalism is a trend that bucks the "less is more" idea with a belief that, well, more is more. However, Maximalism isn't about clutter and hoarding. It's finding comfort in excess or repetition, such as with color or design. In the arts, maximalism celebrates pattern and texture, and it has a no-holds-barred view of design.
It doesn't matter that things don't match; it's exactly the point that they don't. Putting together what works for you and your personal aesthetic is the key to maximalism. To a Zen décor enthusiast, the visual array is clutter, overwhelm and excess, and adds visual stress, the point at where maximalists feel comfortable.
For years, the Zen style of décor has offered a respite from the busy, hectic and oversaturated world. It's streamlined with scaled-back possessions, clear, open spaces and muted, neutral colors with emphasis on the colors and textures of nature. It's the absence of excess that creates a Zen-style home. And it's that stark absence that the maximalist notices and that makes them feel uncomfortable. The lack of color and personal items represents loss of connection and feels like you're floating in your home -- the very thing the Zen style is aiming for — versus being anchored firmly by color, collections and the stuff of your life.
If you've grown weary of feeling the need to relieve your home of your possessions or to streamline it to a point that it's uncomfortable, maximalism is your escape route. Embrace your joy of color, pattern and excess so you find your comfort zone again. Simply put, there may be only so much white, beige or brown you can manage.
Pile up the pillows on the sofa. Mix and match patterns to your heart's content, but try to keep a little order by organizing some of the chaos. If you have a collection, try pulling it together so that it can make a statement instead of spreading it around the house where it looks cluttered and loses impact. Put your stuff out and let it take center stage. Use juxtaposition to keep it interesting. Have a stuffed moose head? There's no reason it can't go over a chintz covered sofa next to a contemporary leather sling chair.
Maximalists see the neutral emphasis as a home going nowhere, and being transported is where they want to be. If you love big, bold design you are part of a burgeoning trend and it's colorful, loud and proud.