Minimalism and Maximalism are no longer mutually exclusive—take bits and pieces of both and create your own personal design statement in your home interiors.

Simple, sleek, functional, sober, spacious—that’s Minimalism for you. Vibrant, over-the-top furniture and knick knacks, textures and patterns—this defines Maximalism. The mantra of the Minimalist is ‘Less is More’, while that of the Maximalist is ‘Less is Bore’. So can the twain ever meet?

Kitchen interior image

bedroom interior image

Let’s first give you a bit of a history lesson on how Indian homes went from maximalist to minimalist. I promise it isn’t boring. The 80s were all about vibrant and loud colours, heavy furniture and elaborate themes. But all of a sudden, in the late 1980s Indian Home interior design saw a shift to minimalism. Why, you ask. During the late 80s and in the 90s, joint families gave way to nuclear homes as more and more people moved to bigger cities. Two major factors led to the advent of this trend of minimalism:

  1. Compact Spaces: Independent homes were in short supply. Apartment complexes sprang up to accommodate the rapid inflow of people to the cities. Apartments meant lesser space for a family and this contributed to the dawn of minimalism in India. Due to the restriction of available space, people could no longer hoard furniture and decor. Space optimisation and multi-functional furniture were given a premium.
  2. Change of Taste: While the 80s were more about flamboyance and theatrical homes, the next generation, maybe saturated on this heavy fare, preferred understated and subtle sophistication when it came to design and decor. Suddenly, heavy and ornate wooden furniture was considered old-fashioned. Preference shifted to open spaces and minimal home decor styles.

Make no mistake, minimalism is still in, specially for the urban and metro population. However, a few elements of the 80s are making a comeback in home decor. We love wood and comfy fabric furniture. We love our colours and textures and pure minimalism can seem a bit cold to our warm and, dare I say it, even loud sensibilities. Also, with our rich tradition of arts and crafts, it is almost a crime not to feature made-in-India furniture, artefacts and bric-a-brac—all of which will add colours and textures to a home interior. But overdo it and the home becomes cluttered and messy. This is where minimalism can help.  

Go for contrast in your home interior colours

Minimalism is all about monochromes, usually whites or greyscale. On the other hand pure maximalism is all about adding many colours and patterns in a home, or even in a single room. Instead of opting for the same shade for all the walls of a room, use a contrasting bold colour or pattern on one wall to create a statement or accent wall. For instance, a teal-coloured wall in a grey room can give the space that burst of colour that makes it contemporary and chic. Or go for a textured wallpaper in dull gold in a room dominated by creams. If you want to use the same shade for all the walls, you can add pops of colour with the curtains and soft furnishing. Indigo tye and dye curtains in a bare white room, paired with white and indigo cushions on the sofas and chairs will make for a great look

living room interior image

Pick simpler furniture design

Design and fashion, as we know, are mostly cyclical. Some new designs are just transformed versions of older ones that were in vogue in the 80s. Take inspiration from the old-world styling of heavily carved and ornate furniture but do away with the carving and ornamentation. Opt for clean, geometric designs and straight lines. For example, go for a chest of drawers in chrome and glass finish or even wood but without any decorations. Wood can be incorporated but not the heavy ones. Preference has moved from heavy woods to lighter alternatives like pine and ash.

side table interior

Wallpapering is back and how

Wallpapering was all the craze in the 80s as people opted for this wall finish due to its cost benefit and aesthetic appeal. However, durability was a concern and the designs and textures left a lot to be desired. Advancement in technology and improved raw materials has meant wallpapers today are of better quality, with a longer life span. You are also spoilt for choice now. From elaborate and classic damask to simple and contemporary solids and geometric patterns—there is a wide variety of options to choose from. The textures and finishes too are many. From metallic finishes to fabric, home owners now have a plethora of choices. Ask your interior designer for all the available options before making your decision.

When opting for wallpaper do not use it for all the walls in a room. Use it for making statement walls, like the wall behind the bed, for the wall at the end of a corridor or for the foyer area.

bedroom interior image

Opt for clean lines

Simple, clean lines are still a home’s best friends. Go for minimum ornamentation and maximum functionality. Choose simple, clean lines for walls and for furniture. Add layers of colours and texture with soft furnishing, accent walls, statement light fixtures and a few well-chosen artefacts.

stairs interior view

Things have changed a lot since the 1980s, haven’t they? Especially in how our homes look.. But Indians have always chosen to go for a hybrid style, rather than opt for just pure minimalism. This trend is still evolving every year. Considering apartment complexes are the mainstay, family sizes continue to shrink and our lives are only getting busier,  Minimalism as a style with its interesting sub-styles, is here to stay. The good news is you do not have to follow a rigid template. Your home, your style!