The Blue Stocking Society


Minimalism Be Damned

Why I am over Minimalism and How to do Maximalism without your home looking like a Hot mess

If, like me, you have been hibernating, the arrival of Spring has me blinking my eyes in the sunlight and reacquainting myself with my neighbours and friends, a lot whom I haven’t seen since the first frost arrived harking a season of early evenings, Netflix and fireside weekends. With the promise of warmer weather a lot of you will be thinking about throwing open the windows and cleaning the house from top to bottom. And a lot of people see this as a time for cleansing themselves of Stuff.

Minimalism has become a buzz word over the last decade and many a book on the best sellers list with titles like “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” are there to guide you to personal happiness and zen by discarding all your worldly possessions.

Minimalism started as an art movement that began in the 1960’s and 70’s and became a termed used in the fields of architecture, fashion, literature and music. As a lifestyle it is living only with what you need and value whilst ridding yourself of anything that does not equate to that. As an aesthetic it equates to clean lines and simplicity of design.

But I am bored. This current wave of minimalism has me cynical and jaded. If, like me, you are tired  with your Instagram and Pinterest feeds full of Scandinavian sameness, where marketability seems to have superseded creativity and personality you will agree that minimalism is just looking like another version of conspicuous consumption.  As Chelsea Fagan wrote for the Guardian, Minimalism is an “incredibly tedious piece of performance art ….and a form of elitism or superiority”. She goes on to say that whilst everyone should be allowed to have an all-white dining set on open shelves, stop pretending that this is in any way noble or morally positive. I have to agree. Its like Paleo for decorators.

As humans we need things around us that convey who we are to the world; things that generate memories and make us feel comforted
— Thomas Hamel, Designer


In the same way anti vaxxers are reliant on the majority of people being vaccinated to avoid nasty diseases, minimalists rely on maximalists to supply them with the accoutrements they normally eschew as unnecessary. One friend who had a very sparse living arrangement (by choice) always turned to me to borrow things when she entertained – table linen, glassware or platters.

Being a maximalist is truly an artform. To create a maximalist interior that gives us a treasure trove look and not an episode of Hoarders is a true talent. Here a few tips

1.       Windsor Smith, a Los Angeles based designer stresses the need for a vision of what you are trying to express. You want your surroundings to convey your personality but use an edited approach. Be your own curator.

2.       For those of you wishing to create this look at home with your collections, try with a small space first – a hallway, a guest room or a study or even a set of shelves

3.       Treat shelves like a still life – a work of art that is organic and can be everchanging. Whether this is a collection such as crockery, crystal ware or just a mosaic of sentimental bits and pieces. Try searching for #shelfie on Instagram for ideas

4.       Keep symmetry to install order and balance

5.       Try layered rugs and texture and luxurious touches such as gilt, silver or velvets

6.       You can avoid it looking cluttered by having some commonality in your objects.  Items on mass always look uniform if they have a colour or material in common.

So embrace what you love and keep all those items which hold meaning for you. Display them with joy as these things are an extension of you and tell your story.

Images via Pinterest