Moderation is Key for Maximum Style

Posted on Mar 13, 2017Mar13
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A while back, an article in the Wall Street Journal caught my eye. The piece detailed the rise of a design trend called “maximalism,” which shuns the pristine lines and neutral color schemes of minimalism in favor of flamboyant patterns, quirky collections, and contrasting layers of décor. The trend, experts say, is one part a response to people’s growing boredom with the minimalist movement and one part a product of our visual online culture. With more photographs of stunning interiors out in the world than ever before, people are striving for new ways to design a space that’s completely unique and stimulating. But, as is often the case, what looks good on Pinterest is not necessarily practical in real life. 

An example of a maximalist living room. Design by Nigel Pierce via Houzz.

An example of a maximalist living room. Design by Nigel Pierce via Houzz.

When I look at rooms like these, my first reaction is, “yikes!” Though clearly plenty of curation and creativity went into these designs, this is not an aesthetic that would fit into the average person’s everyday life. Our lives are busy and hectic enough as is, and many of us view our home as a place to escape from the grind and to relax, and rejuvenate. Most of my clients want their home to be a calming space that’s easy to navigate and keep clean and organized. Despite how visually interesting these rooms may be at a glance, most people would find this manic, mismatched style overstimulating and stressful to maintain.



An example of a maximalist bedroom. Designed by John Loecke, Inc.

This is also a challenging aesthetic for anyone interested in downsizing. From my own personal experience, and through conversations with clients, most people are already feeling the burden of having too much stuff! Possessions should be kept or purchased if they have meaning or function, but collecting items just to fill space is simply impractical. After all, you’re going to be living in your home for a very long time — décor that may look trendy right now can all too easily turn into stressful clutter in the long run if it lacks function or a personal connection. 


Your downsized space can still have plenty of personality -- no clutter required. (Design by Leslie Fine Interiors, Inc.)

Design by Leslie Fine Interiors, Inc.


All that said, I’m not here to put down anyone who truly loves the maximalist style, and I agree that on the opposite end of the spectrum, extreme minimalist design can be cold and uninviting. The fact of the matter is, I’m not an advocate for any design “trend.” Trends come and go, but your home is a place where — day after day and year after year — you want to feel comfortable, organized, and in control.



Because of this, I always encourage my clients to share their own preferences with me so I can create a transitional design that suits their personal style. Whether it’s a color or pattern you love, a collection that’s very personal to you, or simply the feeling you want to evoke when you get home at the end of the day, that is what counts. When your house is designed in a way that speaks to you (and not the design critics), then it truly feels like home. 



How do you feel about the maximalist movement? Do you prefer maximalism, minimalism, or transitional design somewhere in the middle? Let me know in the comments! And as always, if you’d like to give your home a refreshing and personal new look and feel, reach out to me at 617-236-2286 or to schedule a consultation.

About Leslie Fine

Leslie Fine is the president of Leslie Fine Interiors, Inc., an award winning, full service residential interior design firm located in Boston, Massachusetts. Leslie is known for her personalized service and hands-on approach with her clients in creating functional and beautiful homes. Leslie’s Blog has a large national and international following, and she enjoys sharing her experiences with interior design and luxury living with her readers.

For more about Leslie, please go to the page.

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