It’s official: Minimalism is fading, maximalism is in—and this “more is more” style of decor can seem freeing since, frankly, most of us have plenty of stuff in our homes as it is. Why not celebrate it?
Still, we’re here to say that you can definitely take maximalist decor too far.
That’s right, many homeowners think they can just toss a half-dozen throw pillows on the couch and own more plants than a Lowe’s nursery without a care in the world. But if what you see hurts your eyes, or the patterns are so dizzying you want to find a dark space where you can hold your head in your hands, you’ve reached the outer limits of maximalism in the home—and should probably scale back.
Before you get to the breaking point, here’s a look at 10 maximalist decor fails that should never, ever see the light of day.
1. Pattern on top of pattern
This wallpaper is fabulous, but nearly covering it with pictures adds another level of chaos. And don’t get us started on the chairs and lampshade. Pattern is lovely—even in large doses—but if you feel like you’re living in a fun house, it’s time to remove a few layers.
2. Jungle-level plants
So much nature in one room, including a large cactus, screams “crazy plant lady,” which is a nickname you don’t want to pick up at this stage of the game. Bully for you if you can manage to keep them all alive, but we’re betting you’ll spend hours picking up dead leaves from the floor and trying to keep the cat from digging in the soil the rest of the time.
3. Too much bold color
Lime is fun! And so is pink. But must you also add orange? Neons are hard to pull off, we get it, but one trick is to mix a few neutrals into your color scheme. Try it sometime, and see if your head feels any better when you enter this room.
4. Animal print overload
Rawwrr! You’ll win the leopard contest on the block for sure with this look. Oh wait, there isn’t a contest to see who can cram the most animal print into one single room? Carry on, then.
5. Crowded tabletops
So where does the food go? A maxi table is a wild ride to be sure, but too many items in front of guests will leave them feeling a bit queasy. Which piece should be voted off this table-island? We’d pick the creepy-eyed green parrots.
6. Busy bedrooms
Think you’ll sleep soundly in this overly maximalist boudoir? Guess again—there’s no snoozing to be had in a bedroom like this. Instead, grab your pillow and head to the couch for some guaranteed shut-eye.
7. Bonkers bathrooms
Are you hung over? You will be after waking up to this bathroom. The wallpaper alone is pretty insane, but pairing it with this sink and toilet combination is definitely certifiable. If this is your half-bath for guests, let it be. (It’ll prompt excellent dinner conversations!) But if this space is the main loo for your daily washing and brushing, consider some changes—and some therapy.
8. Crammed countertops
You’re not fooling anyone with this counter-as-cooking-show mess. And lamps on the kitchen counter—especially ones with tassels—will never be a “thing,” no matter how hard you try. Five different bowls of fruit does channel a bounteous feeling, but at the end of the day you’re probably making toast and mac and cheese from a box for the kids. Clean it up! You’re welcome.
9. Dish hoarding
Leave some dishes for the rest of us! Too much of any one kitchen item doesn’t make sense, unless you’re a family of 15. Also, piles of cups, saucers, and wine glasses end up dusty and broken when laid out like this. Pare down this situation by keeping only what you love (as Marie Kondo taught us), and then send the rest on a journey far, far away.
10. Too much clutter, period
As a rule of thumb: If putting something down (a book, a martini) always entails moving something else first, then you’ve taken maximalism beyond the max. You can either get another table or shelf (if you have room for it), or simply clear some of the clutter.
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