Maximalism vs. Minimalism: The Design Trend with Staying Power

I don't care if maximalism is the current design trend.  Less is beautiful.

Less means you spend less, because minimalism is not about continuing to buy more and more, thinking it's okay as long as you get rid of stuff you no longer want.  That's not minimalism – that consumerism.  If that's what you're doing in your home, you're still caught in a trap of binge and purge, and you haven't yet started on your minimalist journey.  You're just contributing to the waste problem on our planet. 

You need to stop accumulating clutter in the first place by buying less.

maximalist design

Minimalists do it better.

Truly wanting and acquiring less is an environmentally sound choice.  It's an economically sound choice.  You shop less, you need less storage, and you can live in a smaller house.

Less means you're not weighed down by unnecessary things.  You worry less.  You search for things less.  You spend less time cleaning and organizing.  You're lighter, freer, and you can focus on more important things.

When you travel, you can travel easily.  You can spend time doing things instead of shopping for souvenirs.  You can experience the place you're in instead of buying something to prove you were there.

Less is more sustainable – not just for the environment, but for your time, energy, and budget.

Don't just trash things.

You don't have to hang on to stuff just because you don't want to send it to a landfill.  You don't want to create the equivalent of a small landfill in your home!

Instead, be intentional about what you get rid of.  If you would like it better if it was repainted or reupholstered, do that and reuse it.  Don't just move it to the garage with plans to get to it "someday."  If you just want it gone, donate to Habitat for Humanity ReStores, or post items for free on Facebook Marketplace or Nextdoor.  Contact your local school or church to see if they're planning a tag sale to raise funds, and donate your excess.

Related article:  You Can Make a Difference

How to explore a minimalist lifestyle

yellow chair
It's okay to start small.

  • Remove clutter from your kitchen, and notice that it's easier to prepare meals and even eat more healthfully.
  • Remove clutter from your work area, and notice that you can focus more and streamline your productivity, resulting in less stress.
  • Remove clutter from your calendar, and notice that you're less rushed while enjoying your chosen activities more.
  • Remove clutter from your kids' play area, and notice that they're more creative with fewer toys, and happier with the items they treasure.
  • Remove clutter from your bedroom, and notice that it's more peaceful and restful.

The positive results ripple outward no matter where you start.

Want to avoid bland and beige?

Perhaps you're drawn to the maximalist look because you're tired of the neutral design trends of the past few years.

However, you don't want to overwhelm your senses with a ton of stuff.  Designer Jillian Wiedenmayer describes maximalism as "the loud person at a party who has tasteless jokes but dominates the conversation anyway.  Bold and exciting at first glance, it soon becomes tiresome."  Exactly what you don't want in your home!

Minimalism can be dynamic, if that's what you desire.  You don't need to add stuff to add vibrancy.

9 ways to create maximalist excitement in a minimalist room

1.  Paint is magic.  It makes a huge difference, and not just on walls.  You could even keep your neutral walls and add color to the ceiling, doors, moldings, dining chairs, side tables, or a dresser.

2.  Add gold paint accents to lamp bases and picture/mirror frames.

3.  Cover a plain lampshade with patterned scrapbook paper.

Make a focal point with large-scale wallpaper.

5.  Shop second-hand stores for eclectic cushion covers, especially faux fur, animal prints, embroidery, or velvet.

6.  If you have a patterned area rug, use it.

7.  Create a gallery wall with family photos or artwork.  Alternatively, use one large, dramatic piece to draw the eye.

8.  Make a mini jungle.  Group your houseplants in one spot instead of scattering them throughout the space.

9.  Gather a favorite collection on one tray or shelf to make it a highlight.

The beauty of less

Maximalism is a trend that won't last for long.  It's stressful to look at, hard to clean, and will make your space feel cramped.  It would be a nightmare to pack up and move.

But adding color and a few of your favorite possessions pumps energy into a minimalist room.  The beauty of less will be around when maximalism has become "so 2023."

Want more step-by-step advice for a simpler life?  My new Minimalist Basics series can help you find the life you want, with less stuff to distract you from it.  Volume 4, Exploring Minimalism: Begin the Journey to a Life You'll Love, is available now on Amazon.*

* This blog is reader-supported.  If you buy through my links, I may earn a small commission.


  1. Think of it as treating your rooms like your wardrobe--a basic black dress with a statement necklace makes the necklace stand out. We have a basic, neutral living room with one red lamp. Everyone notices that lamp.
    Linda Sand

    1. Especially if they don’t like red that lamp will stand out to them like a sore thumb ! I’m a red person and I get snide remarks about my red poppy wall artwork! I don’t care why they if they make a remark because they don’t live there I do!

  2. Especially if they don’t care for red! I’m a red person but I receive snide remarks about my red poppy painting ( that I refuse to remove. I live in my home they do not!


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