Thursday, January 18, 2007

Reformation of a Maximalist?

My inner maximalist has spent the last few years duking it out with my inner minimalist. The result is a home full of clean-lined furniture and pristinely empty walls, but cluttered with collections of mismatched art, plants and ceramics that overwhelm every end table and and shelf in the house.

What is a maximalist? I think, mostly, it's a word I made up. What I mean it to mean is a person who decorates with clutter. Maxilmalism can be done well (think full-wall collections of art, perfectly arranged mounds of throw pillows, the Royal Tenenbaums). But apparently not by me.

For years, I've been struggling to create a serene, eclectic and elegant home, something like this fabulous minimalist pad I saw today at Apartment Therapy Chicago (see photo to the left).

But at the same time, I am drawn to the colorful and comfortably full look of rooms like this one from the Domino Magazine site (see image to the right).

The decor resulting from my internal decorating delima is neither minimalist nor eclectically homey. I've always thought the solution was to get more things or different things; that a new sofa would make it work, or new curtains, or more art for the walls...But more stuff isn't the fix.

The problem is that my stuff isn't meant to go together like the collections I see in magazine rooms. Not even close. My stuff includes everything from Day of the Dead ceramic statues to vintage Italian plates featuring post-modern horse heads. I have art deco vases, a day-glow enameled wall sculpture featuring owls, an iron-embellished coffee table hand-made by my grandfather, and the list goes on.

Needless to say, I have personal attachments to most of these disparate items. Sure I can get rid of some things (maybe those owls), but how do I decorate with the rest, balancing my enjoyment of the stuff I love with the aesthetics of my home? I want a home that looks great, not an impersonal style-shrine ripped from a catalog.

So I've decided to go home tonight and have it out with my clutter demons. I am going to get rid of some things and regroup. Once I see what I'm left with, maybe I can find a solution. Wish me luck.


Kristen said...

Good luck! Just so you know, the Trend Watcher from the Interior Design Show in Toronto says, that the eclectic look is totally in for 2007. He goes on to say that mismatched items are what creates the colorful interiors of today and they are "hot".

My Marrakech said...

I know oh so well. I think I have just decided that there is NO WAY I can live in a minimalist home. I just love stuff too much.

Sarah said...

I love stuff too, and I am actually getting really emotional trying to sort through everything. I just know that our current home is too small to have all these things out. I've decided not to throw anything away, just box things up.

Sarah said...

Kristin - thanks for the tip. I've noticed the eclectic look is coming back in. For now, I am revamping my current decor to be a more toned-down eclectic. My husband is a true minimalist and has been living with my clutter for years. I've always admired the minimalist philosophy of simpler living. Hopefully we can move in that direction without sacrificing all of the personality.