Where minimalism is all about paring back: clean lines, neutral colours, clear surfaces, controlled coordination, and no clutter, maximalism is the opposite. Vibrant colour, vivid pattern, contrast (possibly even clashing), and beautiful things everywhere. Minimalism is all about restraint while maximalism says you can have it all!
Maximalism isn’t a new idea, we might once have called it bohemian or aligned it with a Frida Kahlo style Mexican aesthetic and the use of colour and pattern was very popular in the ‘60s and ‘70s. The modern version of maximalism is perhaps a buck against minimalism and what some see as a very austere, clinical style that has been popular for a while now. Maximalism reflects a desire to show some personality and frivolity. We have put some examples together on our Pinterest Board – Maximalist Kitchen Ideas.
Maximalism can really be anything you make it. You don’t have to feel constrained by trying to match colours, patterns, and styles as it’s much more of a ‘collected’ feel, making the objects in the room as integral a part of the design as the fixtures and fittings. Surfaces adorned with trailing plants, pictures, clocks, and ornaments, as well as the more kitchen-related items like crockery, pans, spice pots, utensils etc may seem cluttered to some but a curated selection of beautiful objets to others.
In the many examples we’ve looked at, some seem to have no style guide whatsoever. Take these two; they really just seek to fill the space, creating a sense of chaos, but also warmth, homeliness, and beauty.
This one has created a sense of busyness with the patterned wallpaper and open shelving with plants and objects but maintained a more restrained feel through the predominant use of white.
The starting point for most maximalist kitchens is a boldly coloured kitchen. How about something like the vibrant lilac shade of Heather, the brooding deep green of Forest Green, or the vintage muted shade of Heritage Blue (all these colours – and many more - are available in Pembroke, Grassington, Henley, Bramham, Oakley, Amberley, and Farnley kitchens).
Another staple is to add some pattern. You can do this through patterned tiles for the splashback or flooring, wallpaper, or patterned vinyl flooring (there is an amazing choice of patterned vinyl flooring available on the market now). As we saw in the example above, you can even paper the ceiling!
The next is to fill the space with beautiful things. Hanging busy pictures on a patterned wallpaper seems like madness but it can really work in a space that is unequivocally maximalist. Open or glass cabinet shelving is perfect for displaying your accumulated objets and plants will add an organic layer to the whole thing. Trailing plants that cascade down and blur the horizontal lines of the shelves really soften the style even further.
There is obviously some middle ground where most people would probably feel most comfortable; the starkness of minimalism being too cold and the eccentricity of maximalism just too much (and possibly a nightmare to keep clean with all that clutter!), so is there such a thing as ‘mediumism’?!
Well, that might not be a term that any interior designer would use but the idea seems a solid one: some colour and pattern, perhaps a floor or wall tile that tones rather than clashes with the colour of the kitchen and a more reserved display of kitchenware and foliage? Well, we did say there were no rules!
Images are reproduced from Pinterest. To see the original Pins click on the images or see the full board here.