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  • Minimalism vs. Maximalism: The Differences & How to Achieve Each Look

Minimalism vs. Maximalism: The Differences & How to Achieve Each Look

8 min read
  • Design Trends

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If there’s one thing we know for certain, it’s that design is highly personal. Some seek an easy-on-the-eyes aesthetic, combining clean lines, neutral palettes, and an obvious focal feature to create calm oases. Others take a fuller, funkier approach to room remodels, packing the space with eye-catching color, contrasting textures, and mixed patterns. Whether you’re a minimalist, maximalist or somewhere in between, starting your home remodel with a clear design approach can make the process easier and more enjoyable.

To determine your design style and create a cohesive plan for the home of your dreams, start by figuring out if you’re a minimalist or maximalist when it comes to filling a space.

What is Minimalist Design?

If you hear “minimalist design” and think of stark, sterile rooms with sharp-edged furniture and a one-color palette, you aren’t alone. Many of us see minimalism as a way to empty a space, to pare a room down to clean, white nothingness. But minimalist design is actually about filling a space intentionally, focusing on its most essential components. It uses sleek lines, neutral color schemes and basic textures to make focal points like a modern shower stall or sculptural light fixture stand out. To achieve a minimalist, “less is more” look, follow the tips below.

1. Keep Your Color Palette Neutral

towels hanging on bathroom wall

Simple, classic colors like white, black, shades of gray and even wood tones interact with a room’s natural light to create environments that are clean and serene. By keeping your color palette neutral, you allow the focus of the room to be the shape, structure, and use of the objects within, and any subtle changes are easily highlighted.

2. Maximize Storage

bathroom vanity

In a minimalist room, not everything needs to be seen. Minimalist design encourages us to scale down on display, and elements in a minimalist room are often multi-purpose. For example, a sleek bathroom vanity can also store essential bathroom items that don’t necessarily need to be seen, like towels and toiletries. Wall-mounted storage cabinets and floating shelves offer an alternative to bulky pieces of furniture, providing designated spaces for items while keeping the streamlined feel of the room intact.

3. Choose a Focal Point

focal point bathroom sink

Designing your minimalist room around a focal point will guide the rest of the room’s look and feel. A large bronze sink, standalone bath or contemporary walk-in shower offer natural landing places for the eye. Avoid incorporating competing interest points in a minimalist room, instead using light fixtures, appliances, and colors that are most cohesive with the focal point.

What is Maximalist Design?

Maximalist design is about grabbing your attention through color, texture, and pattern. In a maximalist room, the more that can be incorporated and displayed, the better. Maximalism isn’t necessarily about cluttering a room with objects, but rather allowing a room to play with what is appealing for the eye through contrasting design elements. To achieve a maximalist, “more is more” look, follow the tips below.

1. Experiment with Wall Color

pink wallpaper with vase and flowers

In contrast to the minimalist design approach of a neutral color palette and natural light emphasis, the maximalist designer views color as the easiest way to make a room bolder and brighter. Whether you opt for a monochromatic blue from floor to ceiling, a tiled accent wall, or wallpaper patterned with exotic plants and animals, dynamic walls are immediate attention-grabbers.

2. Mix Prints, Patterns, and Materials

bathroom setup

Maximalist design isn’t about obvious cohesion. You can add interest to rooms by mixing unexpected prints and patterns that may not outwardly match but rather complement each other. This can be done through mixing wall materials, upholstered furniture, bright area rugs, colored tile, printed curtains, and metallic finishes to tie the room together. Bathrooms are great spaces to experiment with maximalist design, as they incorporate multiple materials made for mixing.

3. Incorporate Decor Items to Add Interest

bathroom setup

While minimalists want only the essential on display, maximalists enhance a room’s appeal through a range of decor items like artwork, throw pillows, candlesticks and book collections. Add a hanging plant to your glass shower, or fill an entire wall with mirrors of varying shapes and sizes. Patterned floor pillows can offer alternative seating options, while artfully stacked books can fill a defunct fireplace. Don’t be afraid to repurpose non-functioning items or spaces and give them new life as design elements.

Design the Shower of Your Dreams with KOHLER® LuxStone

No matter your design style, LuxStone® offers a wide selection of products to meet your shower needs. Explore the KOHLER LuxStone collection to design the luxury shower that reflects your style and routine. If you’re interested in learning more about how KOHLER can help you customize the home of your dreams, request a free consultation today

Request A Free Design Consultation

or call to speak with a KOHLER Authorized Dealer (800) 704-9847