Perhaps it’s COVID fatigue that led to the desire for cozier at-home spaces. But there’s no doubt that minimalism has run its course. There’s a growing desire for spaces that can’t be visually absorbed in one glance.  Forget everything you knew about the rule of three! With maximalism, if three is good, five is better, as long as the five are well-selected and harmonious.

Too much chaos and one craves order. Too much order and one can feel stifled. Perfecting a balanced design that is neither cluttered nor overly matchy-matchy is a matter of recognizing a few principles concerning shape, color and placement. Take for example this wall. (photo to come) Minimalism would suggest one large piece of art swimming in the middle of white space, with perhaps a piece of heavy furniture under it to anchor it in place. But how much more interesting to group similar pieces to create a more visually interesting wall and create multiple anchors rather than just one. What makes it work is the variety of shapes and consistency of colors. Each item occupies its own space, yet has a defined relationship to the other items. Nothing is random here. 

(hallway in Birmingham)

Likewise, this small room, a carriage house conversion in Charleston, is a marvel of efficiency, with bed, living area and kitchen occupying a mere 700 square feet. It accommodates two chairs, a desk, a small loveseat, tables and more. Yet it doesn’t feel crowded due to the calming effect of consistent color, in this case shades of green and aqua. 

(photo carriage house Charleston)

Consider the ubiquitous “little black dress”. Chic and elegant, yes!  But it involves little effort or thought to buy and wear. You look good—but you also look like every other woman at the party.