Death of minimalism as home design runs wild and free

Maxed out: Ikea recently launched a maximalist home range, featuring ornate skulls and riotous colours.

For decades, fashionable homes have been styled in muted colours and minimal design. But is our anxiety about the modern world spilling over into bold, disordered self-expression in our homes?

Leopard-print cushions. Opulent-blue sofas. Neon walls stacked high with pictures, prints and plants.

Is this your idea of heaven or hell? It might come down to whether you are a maximalist or a minimalist.

Pati Robins is firmly in the former camp.

When she first rented her home in 2006, it was a “magnolia hell, all Scandi and Ikea, all white and empty”. Now, 50,000 Instagram followers fawn over her punchy black walls, heavy, fur drapery and DIY-ornaments.

Led by designers like Luke Edward Hall, a growing number of people are turning to radical self-expression in an attempt to banish the darkness and anxiety of the modern world.

This was not always the case. When property prices boomed in the 2000s, home owners were encouraged to keep their homes bland to appeal to buyers. Ikea’s “chuck out your chintz” adverts from 1996 are credited with starting to simplify the era’s interiors.

But minimalism has survived in other forms.

American duo Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, known as The Minimalists, have attracted more than 20 million devotees.

“We tend to give too much meaning to our things,” the pair claim. They argue that this deprives our lives of true meaning and fulfilment. The solution is to strip away clutter and distractions.

Would you rather be a maximalist or a minimalist?

Just be yourself

Maximalism all the way, say some. This kind of creativity is a joyful celebration of life and individuality. Besides, in our depersonalised society, one of the most grounding things we can do is to make a tangible mark.

Less is more, respond others. Relying on external possessions for your sense of self is inauthentic and unsustainable. These objects are the trappings of a superficial, cluttered culture that contributes to stress and self-obsession.

You Decide

  1. Are you a minimalist or a maximalist?

Activities

  1. Design your dream bedroom. Create two drawings, one in a maximalist style and one in a minimalist style.

Some People Say...

“Have nothing in your homes that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

William Morris

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
Maximalism is having a revival. Since the 1990s, it has been popular to decorate homes in simple beige and monochrome styles, but now there is a movement to inject personality into interior design.
What do we not know?
Whether it’s better to be a maximalist or a minimalist. Both have their devout supporters, and a minimalist style can still be unique to a person’s taste.

Word Watch

Scandi
Styles inspired by Scandinavian countries, like Denmark and Sweden, have been popular in recent years.
Luke Edward Hall
A London-based artist and designer whose style is characterised by clashing pastels and bright primary colours.
Chintz
Fabric printed with elaborate, often floral, patterns. The style was popular in England for hundreds of years, but became unfashionable in the 1970s.