Decorating an office at home- Maximalist vs minimalist design approach

You may believe that when it comes to decorating your office space at home ‘more is more’. Alternatively, you may believe ‘less is more’. These are the two main design approaches that determine whether you are a ‘maximalist’ or ‘minimalist’.

In the arts, maximalism is a direct reaction to the minimalism counter-movement. It has previously been described as an ‘aesthetic of excess’. Maximalist house design uses daring colour, distinctive textures and vivid patterns to enrich the space whereas minimalist styles seek a neutral colour palette to create a non-offensive, pleasing aesthetic with few visual elements.

For some, an at-home office space must allow them to be focused, relaxed and engaged. Less physical belongings allow them to work in a clean and organised space.

Elsie Richardson, an interior Instagram blogger, says; “When decorating my home, I was inspired by Scandinavian interior and finding the beauty in simplicity.”

She added; “I like my home to be a calm and tranquil space to relax and unwind. Being a full-time manager of a nursery means my day-to-day job is very busy and I must be able to switch off when I get home. I feel my minimal style enables me to do this.”

On the other hand, when decorating office space, you may prefer to maximalise your environment with striking shades and powerful ornamentation in order to express personal taste and to create the feeling of ‘home’ rather than ‘work’.

Ella Radford, interior Instagram blogger, says; “I think the reason as to why I prefer maximalist style and design is because you can be a lot more expressive with it.”

She continued; “Although minimalist style is great and refreshing and can have a very calming effect, I do not feel like I can fully express my style through minimalism in the same way. It is more to do with the removal of items within a home to create clean-cut lines, neutral tones and as a result, personally, it dilutes a massive part of me as a person.

“In my personal experience, I thought when moving into my own place, I would want a more minimalistic style because it would be more timeless (maybe, even more, grown-up) to a certain extent. However, when I have become more confident in deciding what I like, and what works, the reward I got from juxtaposing unexpected items together was much bigger and more fulfilling than combinations that are safe and obvious pairings.

“Home interior style is generally quite a personal thing so what I might like, somebody else could have a completely different opinion but maximalist style is something I've always been drawn to. It enables me to express different aspects of my life without having to worry about what looks 'pretty' or co-ordinated. Whether it is interior or fashion, music or art maximalism allows you to throw them together and be unapologetically yourself. "

Additionally, Research by Muhammad Faiz Mustafar and Mariam Adawiah Dzulkifliin, in Malaysia, suggests that a range of colours ‘produce a higher level of attention and is effective to increase memory performance. Therefore, it can be concluded that colours have the tendency to capture better attention level, and thus, better memory.’ From this, it can be inferred that maximalist interior design in an at-home office could increase your work productivity.

However, for some office areas, it may come down to which home design is better suited to the available space. Minimalistic layouts can sometimes be inconvenient for small spaces. The aesthetic represents living with the ‘bare necessities’ and encourages a life with minimal possessions so this style needs ‘hidden’ storage for your workplace organisation.

Conversely, Tiny Living blog suggests minimalism in small spaces can help achieve sophistication, a greater impression of space and creates a zone that meets your personal needs which ‘disregards what others are doing’.

Whereas the maximalist interior approach allows large, open storage units to be on display and involves less ‘upkeep’ due to the aesthetic of excess. In addition, maximalism is not just about using generic décor and the flair can be utilised to towards your work needs. Everyday essentials such as, books, stationery and appliances are perfect decorative accessories.

Lonny, a lifestyle and home décor magazine, describes maximalism as ‘organised chaos’. It should be emphasised that a maximalist approach is not clutter, confusion or overbearing and requires careful consideration. Lonny advises to begin with a colourful rug, accessories and plants so that it feels fresh.

The most important thing about interior design is that you follow your true style. Your home office space is exactly that. It is ‘your’ home office space. Not anybody else’s. You should feel comfortable, productive and happy when working there and being in that environment. Whether that means creating a peaceful, quiet zone or making the room burst with colour.

Shalini Passi (Labelled by Forbes as one of India’s top 10 women entrepreneurs ) ~ "I collect design pieces from all over the world. These pieces are most attractive to me and what I am able to appreciate in my home. My mind is bent towards certain aesthetics and my collections, as I curate them myself, fall into place easily. I try to identify a relationship between the artwork and where it is displayed. I also like to create tension by taking a contemporary piece and juxtaposing it with an art piece dated from the seventeenth century. " Read her full interview with 'The Connoisseur'

Article By: Brooke Murphy

I’m Brooke and I am currently in my final year of studying BA Hons Fashion Journalism at the University of Sunderland. I have always had a passion for writing about maximalism art and fashion and I am excited about this opportunity at 'The Connoisseur' to allow me to focus on and develop my skills further.

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