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Maximalist Interiors Vs Clutter – Is There a Difference?

There is a fine balance between maximalist décor and clutter, very subjective of course, but if you are drawn to maximalist interiors how do you achieve an engaging, witty room with personality, rather than a cluttered mess?  There have been many studies into how clutter affects our mood and emotions and the way it can create stress in our homes and workplace, and be detrimental to our mental health.  So, what’s the answer?  Editing, storage and tidiness is the essence of it!

There is a fine balance between maximalist décor and clutter and this eclectic living room has got it spot on.Image credit: @archer.t.j

As a person who loves a home filled with memories, objects, colour, pattern and the more is more approach I do feel the need every now and again to edit it down when it becomes overwhelming.  You know how it happens – you buy a new vase, a new lamp, or whatever, and instead of rearranging and moving some items out you pile it in, and before you know it there’s too much going on.

There is a fine balance between maximalist décor and clutter and this eclectic living room has got it spot on.Image credit: @retrosugar

So yes, there is a difference between maximalist interiors and cluttered interiors.  A maximalist interior has a theme and unity that creates a pleasing, welcoming space that envelopes you in warmth and love.  Clutter comes from the irrelevant stuff that offends the senses leading to an overwhelming desire to escape the room.

There is a fine balance between maximalist décor and clutter and this eclectic living room has got it spot on.Image credit: @my_london_home

These fabulous house pics are all full on maximalist interiors, but they work.  Why do they work?   A limited colour palette with pops of colour, groupings of objects that correlate with each other, and each item is beautiful in its own right, and carefully placed for maximum effect.

Audenza’s top 6 tips for decluttering and to help you to see your way through the maze of stuff:

1.   Themes – there must be something that links your objects and furniture together to create a cohesive vision; be it colour, texture or a collection, such as house plants, mid-century vases, whatever takes your fancy, then the eye flows around the room and it creates a pleasing visual scene without jarring the senses.

2.   Size – think about the size of your room. Don’t cram in more furniture than the space allows or there isn’t room to breath and admire the view.

3.   Tidiness – it is essential in a maximalist interior to be tidy. The detritus of everyday family life overwhelms if not sorted regularly and put away, binned or dealt with, otherwise you end up with what looks like a junk yard with piles of stuff everywhere.

There is a fine balance between maximalist décor and clutter and this eclectic living room has got it spot on.Image credit: @jazzierere

4.   Love – just keep the stuff you love! If you don’t love it get rid because it’s just clutter then.  Charity shops, ebay, tip, whatever suits get rid.

5.   Storage – you can never have too much storage. Put away anything that is not essential for your vision of the room.  Day to day life such as mail to be dealt with, put in a drawer.  Magazines go in a rack, not left strewn about the place.  Coats and bags in a cupboard etc. etc.

6.   Edit – as in, don’t have it all out at once regardless of whether it works in a scheme or not. I have a cupboard that objects-I-love-but-don’t-fit-into-the-present-scheme go into, to be swapped around at a later date when I want to refresh a room.

Of course, one person’s idea of a wonderfully exciting maximalist interior is another person’s idea of clutter.  But then, if it’s a loved and carefully created interior that pleases you it doesn’t really matter what anybody else thinks, does it?

Jacqui x

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10 replies to “Maximalist Interiors Vs Clutter – Is There a Difference?”

  1. Tom says:

    Brilliant…never thought of rotating my possessions to prevent over doing it! Great ideas in here!

  2. Donna Ford says:

    This is definitely me! Really good to remember the ‘formula’ to make it work. But storage and keeping things you love are amazing tips. Thanks!

    • Hollie@Audenza says:

      There’s definitely a bit of an art to making it work, without overdoing it. But then, what works and what doesn’t is so personal anyway! I’m glad you found the tips useful 🙂

  3. I think rotating products makes sense (as long as you also have the proper storage to hide them or you risk moving the clutter elsewhere). The line is of course very subjective. For example, @RETROSUGAR feels “cluttered” whereas @my_london_home feels maximalistic but in order. Editing your “vignettes” is really important too. Personally, I cannot work with clutter around me. But I am a maximalist… go figure

    • Hollie@Audenza says:

      Oh yes, storage is definitely crucial if you’re rotating products! That’s what I love about design though, it really is subjective and what’s right for one, won’t be right for another. How you use the space is also crucial in determining whether to add to the space or take away. x

  4. Fiona Mostyn says:

    A gorgeous collection of homes here and some great tips too. I often swap items like picture frames and vases from the mantel and shelves or windowsills for a change of scene.

  5. There is a big difference but lots of people get confused! Having themes to group items into is a great tip.

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