How to Apply Maximalist Design to a Small Living Space

Unfortunately for everyone who owns a smaller home, minimalism is out. That means that the simplicity common to modern and Scandinavian styles is outdated, and the larger, louder design of maximalism is in. But, how can a small living room successfully capture the maximalist look without feeling cramped and cluttered? Here’s a how-to guide for small living rooms with maximalist dreams.

Go Big in Your Home

While minimalism is about creating vast, empty spaces, maximalism is interested in cluttered and cramped vibes — meaning it is actually the perfect aesthetic for smaller spaces. Already, your living room is on the small side, meaning most of any items you place inside will feel oversized. To drive the point home, you should consider laying a large rug underneath everything, hanging an extravagant chandelier and investing in well-stuffed armchairs and sofas. Contrary to what you might think, upsizing all your furniture and décor won’t make the room feel smaller; it will take the emphasis off the size of the room and onto its extravagant styling, which is exactly what you want.

Even though maximalism is supposed to make a room feel busy, you don’t want to make your living space non-functional. That means you should strive to keep items out of walkways and utilize your vertical space as much as possible. For example, you can get a massive TV — even one that fills up an entire wall — but you should be sure to mount it. If your set is especially large, it’s wise to hire an Atlanta TV wall mounting service to ensure your investment stays safe and secure without damaging your walls. Similarly, you might use wall-mounted shelves and upper cabinets as storage to keep your floor sufficiently free for movement.

Use Color Instead of Things

It’s important to note that you want to create a feeling of clutter — but you shouldn’t actually clutter up your space. Instead of filling every surface with decorative kitsch, you can achieve the right vibe with colors and patterns. Bright, bold colors and busy patterns should be everywhere in your room: upholstered on couches and chairs, painted on walls, adhered with wallpaper, framed as artwork, etc. Popular color stories run the gamut from moody plums and navies to near-garish hues like electric blue, lime green, and neon pink. Trendy patterns include tropical greenery, geometric lines, and shapes as well as animal prints.

While it’s important to pack as much color as possible into your space, you don’t necessarily want anything to clash. Plan your room using an online tool like Material Bank if you feel competent making the right choices for your space’s story — or, if you aren’t an expert at interior design, hire a professional to help you make the right choices for your space.

Make It Personal

Like minimalism, maximalism is a trend. While it is hot now (and getting hotter), maximalism will one day fade in popularity, which means you shouldn’t make your room the epitome of this design style. If you guide the trend using your own tastes and preferences, your room will remain relevant for longer, meaning you won’t have to rush to remodel in the next few years. Plus, when you make your design more personal, you make the space feel cozier and more intimate, which is ultimately what maximalism is trying to do.

A good way to do this is to choose decorations with purpose. Instead of filling your room with meaningless goo-gas from décor stores, you should set out your most prized possessions to accessorize your room. For instance, instead of hiding away family heirlooms, set them in places of honor, like as a coffee table centerpiece or by themselves on a bookshelf. You might also make a gallery wall out of beloved artworks, perhaps produced by kids or mixed with pictures of family and friends.

Your small living space was made for maximalism — you just need to be brave enough to go big and bold. By carefully selecting every new addition to your room, you can make a more interesting, engaging and exciting room than you ever thought possible, and you’ll keep it on trend for years and years to come.

Featured image by Dan Gold

Michael keeps himself busy by writing about design, arts, psychology, and how they intertwine. He grew up in a small town in Montana and now resides in Austin with his wife and dog, Bailey.