I know these days people are living a bit more simple. The minimalist movement has gained in popularity, and it is a wonderful lifestyle for anyone who prefers to pare down and live with only what they use everyday. In fact, I think it is the responsible thing to do if you have this realization that you are consuming more than you should.
Then there are those of us who love a more maximalist space to live in. Being a maximalist does not make you the opposite of a minimalist. In fact, there’s more commonality than there are differences. It is still an awareness of what you like to be surrounded by in your home for your own peace of mind; for your own comfort; for your own idea of simple life. There can be simplicity in being a maximalist
I found this definition of a maximalist via Wikipedia
In the arts, maximalism, a reaction against minimalism, is an esthetic of excess and redundancy. The philosophy can be summarized as “more is more”, contrasting with the minimalist motto “less is more”
I tend to disagree with this definition to some extent. I consider myself a maximalist not as a reaction against minimalism, because I love and appreciate that lifestyle as well. And it is not about more is more. For me, as an interior designer, I appreciate so many different things and see beauty in objects; especially when they were created by hands. I see warmth and soul in things like books. I see inspiration in things like my globes. I see self-expression and community support in things like my art collection; I see a sense of a “citizen of the world” in the things I acquire from foreign lands. It is about the way my home makes me feel. It is about what invites me in when I come home each day. It is about the treasures that remind me of things from my past – things I collected with my late husband who left this Earth way too soon. Things from raising my kids who are now 21 and 16. Things that represent some of the challenges I overcame in life.
I think people tend to associate maximalism with consumerism, but there is a vast difference in my opinion. In fact, most people who are maximalists are either decorating with items that have been in their family for generations; purchasing from sources like flea markets and salvage yards; or carefully collecting things that are meaningful to them that they will actually use. It is not usually about getting more and more stuff; it is about surrounding yourself with the stuff you love and already have a connection with. Maximalists often are very involved with reusing and recycling things.
I can tell you a story about almost every piece I own – how I acquired them and how I use them. I won’t bore you with the details though, but that tells you that they have significance, and they are not just stuff.
So what are some of the things I collect? How much time do you have? 🙂
I collect books. I love books. I have always loved books. I wish I could say that I am an avid reader like I was as a child, but I collect more than I read. I am always reading something, but I couldn’t possibly read every book I own – they are in the hundreds – several hundreds. I won’t show you the study in this post; which is where I house most of my books, but this image should give you an idea that I have a major overflow.
I collect books because they are full of stories of other people. They are full of information, and to me, they have soul. They are colorful and they are beautiful. They add so much warmth to my living room. As much as the above image may seem like excess, these books were mostly acquired from used book stores or given to me.
I collect art. Not necessarily fine art, but art that speaks to me. As a small business, I have an awareness that I must also support other small businesses if I expect others to support mine. Therefore, I invest in other small businesses for my artwork. I find a lot of artists on Instagram and Etsy. Some are flea market finds, and some are painted by my daughter Courtney, who is an oil painter.
Art is so personal, and tells so much about an individual. Mine shows my love of birds, and a little bit of architecture. But I also love abstract, because I get to decide what each piece represent.
I collect globes. I have an unusual fascination with globes. I love them in every color and size. They are very plentiful on the market these days, which is great. But I have always picked them up and used them for decorating my clients’ homes. My collection is not very large, but I love to group them together. I think they speak to me and inspire me to one day travel to exotic places. I have done some traveling before, but I plan to do more of it in a few years. My globes remind me of that dream everyday.
I collect blue and white chinoiserie pottery. I have a great fascination with blue and white chinoiserie pottery. I find them so interesting with the different designs or sceneries on each piece. You can see a few displayed in my display cabinet, but I mostly sell them back to clients. I think these are one of the items that come into my life and then I share it with others. I find joy in them, and hope they bring joy to others. I use them in almost every space I design – they are almost like neutrals to me
I collect Chinese calligraphy brushes. This one is more of a trend that I can’t seem to quit. You can see one brush on the coffee table and you can barely see one on the gallery wall, but I have plenty more. Haha. The trend started a few years ago where they were popping up all over Instagram and Pinterest. I thought they were so beautiful – each with a beautiful unique handle made from all kinds of materials. I began to purchase the ones that spoke to me. Some I would keep, some I would give as gifts, or use on my decorating projects. The bulk of them are displayed in my home office.
I collect vintage trophies – This one is a new one for me. Although my son thinks it’s weird that I am displaying trophies I didn’t actually win. Haha. I get it, but there is something about them that I love. I don’t have a large collection, but I plan to pick them up as I find them.
I collect baskets – I wouldn’t actually call it a collection now, because I gave away a lot before I moved into the new home, but I have started to collect more woven African baskets. These are the only two I have acquired so far, but I love them so much, I can see that collection growing.
I collect white crockery. Do people still say crockery? Did people ever say crockery? Haha. White ceramic plates, teapots, jugs, mostly kitchenware. These definitely get used daily. And the ones that are mostly for display, get used when I have guests. I love the look of them and love the contrast they bring to different vignettes in my home
I may, or may not have way too many pillows 🙂
And faux greenery 🙂
So if you are like me and you identify as a maximalist, don’t feel bad…..there is a reason you are drawn to beautiful things. The struggle can be how to corral everything so you are not the queen (or king) of clutter. I offer some tips in my October Pocket Decorator Newsletter. You can read it here
You can also take a video tour of my maximalist living room below. Be sure to subscribe to see other spaces in my home plus lots of design tips
What are some of the things you collect?
Wishing You beauty And Inspiration!
Veronica (and Rufus)