Saturday, March 17, 2012

Minimalist vs. Maximalist

One of the latest loves of the interior design industry is the concept of minimalism. The idea was not to have a lot of "stuff", but instead to have a few things which, when arranged in a particular way, would make the most impact on the viewer. Minimalism is supposed to look fresh, clean, organized, etc. but some view it as sterile and uninteresting. However, what about before Minimalism? For a long time, and certainly during the Victorian era, there was a design now referred to as Maximalism. For the Victorians, one of the best ways to prove how wealthy you were was to have a lot of stuff. And, since people were already groaning under pounds of fabric at the time, it made a lot of sense to show off how much stuff you had in your home. But, how does this work in a Goth aesthetic? I'd like to show you some examples.

First, the Minimalist Goth:


Next, the Maximalist Goth:

Source: ColorMeBlind

Minimalist Goth design reminds me of what the background of a Vogue "goth" photoshoot would be. Clean lines, black furniture, highly polished, elegant, but nothing that firmly says "Goth." The Maximalist design, on the other hand, is very heavy on the design details. Coordinating but not matching colors, ornate furniture and fixtures, many motifs popular among Goth, all coming together to lend to a purposefully cluttered feel.

In many ways, I am a Maximalist at heart. I love coordinating elements and colors, layering textures and collecting "stuff." However, as I look up at the above example of Maximalism design, I can see how overwhelming it can be at times. And think of all the dusting you'd have to do! I think, perhaps, that Maximalist can work in some rooms of a home, but not in all of them. For some reason, a Maximalist bathroom does not appeal to me. Or, really, any small room would easily be overwhelmed by a Maximalist design aesthetic. Perhaps that's something I'll have to keep in mind while decorating my dorm room this coming fall, as dorms aren't known to be particularly roomy.

One might think that certain design schemes lend themselves to one style or the other, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that that's not necessarily true. For example, looking up at the above bedroom's medieval design you might think that Maximalist is completely necessary to carry that design. I mean, when you think Medieval, it's completely reasonable to think of Maximalist design. The layers of patterns, textures, and design elements is very Maximalist. But, not always. This Minimalist room surprised me with how well it portrayed a Medieval feel without layering a lot of patterns, textures, etc.
Source: MyDeco

The great thing about the distance between those two styles is most decorations will fit in with either design. To create either "feel" for the room, you just have to focus on how many of each decoration you have and how you present them. For example, consider this skull candle from Urban Outfitters.

Source: ThisNext

For Minimalist design, you could do something as simple as putting it on a highly-polished mirror tray on an end table. For Maximalist, however, you could group it with other gothic design elements. For example, setting the candle on top of a stack of antique books on an end table with an extra-long table runner on it. Next to that, put another grouping of tapered candles or an hour glass. This skull candle will, in each grouping, portray a completely different design. This can be achieved with a great many other decorations that you might like in your home.

So, readers, which do you prefer? Or do you dislike both? I'd love to hear your opinions.

12 comments:

  1. A very interesting post, I really like to read on interior design. The pictures are all simply beautiful and inspirational. I myself call myself a maximalist aswell but in my room I tried to use white as a basis and then decorate with black and antique pink to be able to use many patterns and prints without ending up with a room that looks too full =)

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    1. I love interior design too, it's always a joy to look through pictures and I had a lot of fun writing this post. I think your room sounds absolutely lovely!

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  2. I only found your blog recently but I've been reading some of your back entries and it's both a good read and informative. You seem both intelligent and a nice person <3 I think this is going to become one of my favourite blogs <3 xxxx

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    1. Thank you very much! I'm glad you find my blog informative, and me to be nice. <3

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  3. i have to admitt that these two are both pretty XD i didnt know about maximalism but thinking about my future flat (that will have bedroom and living room instead of one big chaos room) i want my bedroom to be cozy maximalism and my public living room simple, clean minimalism - couch, table, tv, bar, end.

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    1. That's a good philosophy, I think. And that way if you have company over they're not as likely to knock over anything in a minimalist living room as they would be in a maximalist one!

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  4. I'm definitely a maximalist, but I like being able to walk freely around in a room, so I suppose, I like maximalism when it comes to decorating certain areas.

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  5. Interesting...as far as interior design, I am definitely a maximalist. But on the other hand, in the way I dress, I'm a total minimalist.

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  6. I'm a complete maximalist. I was reading an interior design/lifestyle website the other day that was trying to encourage minimialism. It asked 'how does an empty room make you feel?' and honestly the idea of an empty room fills me with horror. I like clutter =P I posted some pictures of my old bedroom on my blog (http://cemeterydreamer.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/my-student-bedroom.html)

    I agree about bathrooms though and I think the same should go for kitchens; hygiene is very important in those spaces, so ease of cleaning is the most important thing. If there's six months worth of dust on my bedroom bookshelf I'm not gona freak out but I want to be able to wipe the bathroom down quickly after use.

    I really like the medieval maximalist room posted above, but the minimalist one reminds me of an abbot's cell or something equally pious!

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  7. I am a maximalist living with a minimalist. As I type this, I'm in the bedroom, my haven of luxury, sitting in bed under a flocked duvet of deep purple with elegant "damask" designs, on top of four purple velvet cushions trimmed with silver detailing, and one black cushion with purple embroidery and beading, a stack of fancy boxes and journals in the corner, a big framed painting above me, fairy-lights in filigree orbs over the window, fancy christmas baubles that I felt were too fancy to put away hung on the ends of the curtain rail, candles in wrought iron holders everywhere...

    My partner likes clean lines, stainless steel, glass, things that are wipe-down, square furniture, a lack of twiddles, modern stylings...

    Our compromise is that different rooms are different styles, and even within rooms we have different areas. I have a cosy corner in the living room where there's the book case and two chairs and my pictures and ornaments, but the rest is quite airy Oriental minimalism - wooden floor with no rug, square, low furniture, mostly neutral colours, not much stuff, prints of chinese calligraphy in square black frames, a few splashes of red and gold brocades in the surface-protecting table-cloths (it's a furnished apartment, if we damage the furniture, we loose our deposit) and cushions, but the fabrics are condensed towards my cosy corner. We don't have a television, but we do have two katanas, one antique, one functional on a stand above a very low cupboard/table combo beneath the huge windows that give an excellent view to the mountains and the sea. The view is so dominating that we didn't want to fill the room with stuff that detracted, and the light from the windows makes what is actually quite a small space feel airy, especially with the neutral tones, and lots of stuff would make the room feel small.

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  8. I think I lean more towards minimalism but I like elements of maximalism too. That bedroom though is just too much. A fair bit of stuff needs taking out in my opinion.

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  9. I just started following your blog, and it is great. I just decided to embark on trying to be more minimalist. I tried to do it before, but I am a maximalist pack rat at hear because I like my goth knick knacks and clothing so much that it was too extreme for me. However, I hate the amount of time I spend cleaning and looking for stuff, and it is so stressful to see so much clutter and things to clean with so little time to do it. I think your minimalist goth decor alternative is a great idea. I will be definitely checking out your other posts as well.

    www.legallygoth.com

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