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:
Source: Minimalist House Design
Next, the Maximalist Goth:
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.
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.
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.