Maximalism facing a resurgence following the pandemic

More people are abandoning minimalistic interior design in favour of more character-driven styles


Photos and story by EMMA SHULAR

Cluttercore, granny chic, thrifting design or grand millennium, whatever name you choose for it, maximalism interior design is growing in popularity, according to interior designers and design magazines.

Maria Espinosa, senior interior designer for Vancouver-based PlaidFox Studio, said that maximalism is a design style that is “hard to describe.”

“It’s about layering textures, it’s about layering colours,” she said. “There is always some restraint. You always want to make sure that you’re pairing back and you’re laying the right things.”

Espinosa said PlaidFox Studio saw an increase in people wanting to change their design style following COVID-19.

“We had a lot of people contact us even if it was for something as simple as painting their home a different colour or just decorating it,” she said. “They wanted to change it and add colour and bring life into it and make it a little bit more upbeat.”

Angel Rivas styled the interior of his rental house in Surrey in a maximalist way. He said his design style shifted from minimalist to maximalist following the pandemic. 

“When you’re at your home and then can’t really go anywhere else, you rely more on having visual stimuli just from your living space,” he said. 

Rivas said that a maximalist style makes the house he shares with roommates feel more comfortable and that with maximalism you can “add a lot more of your personality.”

“It feels more like a home instead of just like a space that I’m in,” he said. “When you have lots of stuff you can like, add a lot of things that you like and that you think make you who you are.” 

Angel Rivas poses next to a mannequin of Michael Myers
Angel Rivas standing by the stairs in his house, surrounded by various design elements on Nov. 21, 2023


Part of maximalism is a variety of decorations in the same space that all come together to give the room a cohesive design.

Rivas sitting on a couch in his living room. The couches are mismatched and there are posters of traditional Japanese artwork on the wall. A mannequin head with a hockey mask and a pumpkin are on a nearby table.
Rivas sitting in the upstairs living room of his home with a variety of things on the walls, table and in the window on Nov. 21, 2023


These decorations tend to include colourful artwork on the walls and the ceiling . . .

An abstract painting of a man and a woman
A painting in Rivas’ house, depicting two faceless people on Nov. 21, 2023


Decal of a colourful artistic representation of a three-eyed cat
Artwork hung in Rivas’ house showing a colourful, cat-like head on Nov. 21, 2023


. . . tapestries that are often extremely colourful and, in Rivas’ home, tend to depict skulls and skeletons.

A large and colourful tapestry on the ceiling depicting a skull
A tapestry depicting a colourful skull on Nov. 21, 2023


A tapestry depicting a skeleton on a black background giving a peace sign as it holds a rose in its mouth
A tapestry showing a skeleton holding a rose in its mouth on Nov. 21, 2023


Another part of maximalism is a large amount of knick-knacks big and small.

Rivas standing beside a shelf that holds various items including books, figurines, video games and magazines
Rivas standing beside a shelf in his dining room that houses multiple different items on Nov. 21, 2023


These knick-knacks can range from vintage items to newer ones and have no real limit to what they can be.

A perpetual motion drinking bird machine dressed in a blue top hat next to an old camera, a toy moose and magazines in the background
A drinking bird on a shelf alongside an old camera, a little toy moose, a fake skull and some magazines on Nov. 21, 2023


Two small shelves and a mirror on Rivas' wall. One shelf houses a Bob Ross figure next to a tiny Bob Ross painting. The other shelf houses a box along with small Halloween decor
Some small shelves in the dining area of Rivas’ home holding various small items on Nov. 21, 2023


Rivas said that a majority of the items in the home came from his roommate’s old job where he helped clean out houses of hoarders.

A stack of VHS tapes beside a small TV with a Bart Simpson figure on top. A large cardboard cutout of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is in the background
A stack of VHS tapes alongside a small TV, a Bart Simpson figurine and a cardboard cutout of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson on Nov. 21, 2023


This has led to a very wide mix of things in the home, from old film memorabilia . . .

Rivas organizes his stack of VHS tapes that are next to his cardboard cutout of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson
Rivas organizing VHS tapes in his home on Nov. 21, 2023


. . . (which some people may not even recognize today) . . .

A close-up of the previous VHS tape stack
Multiple VHS tapes stacked beside a small TV on Nov. 21, 2023


. . . to some more eclectic things, like this interesting sculpture.

Rivas holding a small sculpture of a creature. The creature is egg-shaped, wrinkly and has short and stubby arms and legs. It looks similar to a human head. The creature is depicted as having a large smile and it is dressed in a red hat, yellow socks and black shoes.
Rivas holding a small sculpture of a peculiar-looking creature on Nov. 21, 2023


Rivas said that one of his favourite things in the home is the Michael Myers statue they have at the top of the stairs and that it often becomes a “conversation piece.”

Rivas standing next to a statue of Michael Myers. The statue is wearing a plastic princess tiara.
Rivas standing beside a Michael Myers statue that stands at the top of the stairs in his home on Nov. 21, 2023


Rivas pretending to scream in fear as the Michael Myers statue raises its knife above him. A tapestry of a cartoonish depiction of the Grim Reaper is on a nearby wall.
Rivas pretending to be stabbed by the Michael Myers statue in his shared home on Nov. 21, 2023


Another conversation piece is the large skeleton that watches over the house’s driveway.

Rivas stands next to and points to his large skeleton decoration on his balcony. The skeleton is more than twice the size of Rivas and is at least 12 feet tall
Rivas, who is 6’3, standing beside a large skeleton decoration that is kept on the balcony of his house on Nov. 21, 2023


A closer photo of the same skeleton from earlier
A closer shot of the skeleton Rivas and his roommates use to decorate their balcony on Nov. 21, 2023


While most things in the house are just for decoration, not everything is. Rivas and some of his roommates have a band together, so they put the audio booth in the basement to good use.

Rivas and his cat in his home audio booth. He is seated and surrounded by keyboards and audio equipment.
Rivas sitting at the house’s audio booth, alongside one of the cats who live in the house on Nov. 21, 2023


There are also a couple of cats living in the house that may or may not approve of the decor

Rivas holds up his cat's paws to his computer keyboard
Rivas holding one of the cats in the home up to a keyboard at their recording booth on Nov. 21, 2023


1 Comment
  1. April Leigh Shular says

    How interesting! Thanks for letting me know.

Comments are closed.

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