Floor Tiles

Yes, You Can Pull Off Maximalism in Tiny Houses and Small Spaces

November 07,2021 by Jo Brown

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Having a tiny house doesn’t mean you have to abandon all signs of style and personality in your place. Nay—you can be what I’d like to call a mini-maximalist, and as long as you do this strategically, you can pull it off with flying colors. Don’t believe me? That’s okay. Because I’m ready to state my case with some house tour proof. Here you’ll find some small spaces with maximalist decor, and I promise, they’re not going to make you feel claustrophobic in the slightest.

This might be my favorite tiny house ever—it’s an airstream named “Augustine,” and it’s basically decorated the same way I’d decorate my dream apartment. You’ve got print mixing to the max here with every textile and texture in the book—macrame, florals, geometrics, leather, you name it. There’s even a striped blanket and a patterned rug in there for good measure. But the homeowners don’t just stop at that. Pottery and plants are part of the equation too, and there’s even what I’d consider extraneous pieces of furniture present, from a pouf to a little console table. But you know what? This couple is totally pulling it off, probably because all of the colors and textures work together—not against one another. And white is a major player too, which helps with the overall calmness of the space despite all that’s going on inside it.

Holy gallery wall! Or should I say walls, since this arrangement is creeping onto the surrounding walls and even onto the wall openings in between rooms in this 320-square-foot Chicago studio . If you want to be a mini-maximalist, art is definitely a way to go. Hanging things on the walls doesn’t really take up space the way furniture and accessories do. But there’s also quite a few tchotchkes and artifacts around this space as well. It’s total maximalism—even the kitchen has art and books! But it feels layered as opposed to oppressive. Maybe it’s because the homeowner kept the biggest pieces, including the bed and sofa, fairly neutral.

Tiny house living does requires some Marie Kondo-ing for sure. But you don’t have to get rid of everything . I’d argue that this couple went big with their artwork, kitchen equipment, and storage situation , and their place feels visually rich, interesting, and textured because of it.

Of course, color is another smart mini-maximalist strategy. Again, just making your surfaces and the stuff you’d have anyway colorful isn’t going to tip a scale towards claustrophobia. Practically every corner of this 500-square-foot space has color and character—the teal living room, pink door, navy bedroom, and funky artwork and art books throughout. But the overall effect makes it a space I’d like to linger in, not run out of.

This 500-square-foot L.A. home is sensory overload in the best possible way. There’s so much to look at—books, paintings, hats, theater masks, doll busts. It is, after all, the home of an actor. But what keeps it from going totally over the top, for me at least, is the fact that it has high ceilings. That, coupled with the fact that all of the various collectibles are grouped or displayed together by theme or item type, gives it some visual cohesiveness and harmony.

And finally, here’s another 500-square-foot California apartment that yes, is full of kitschy ephemera and not color shy in the least. But all of the art and objects have the appropriate breathing room around them. It’s not just piles and piles of stuff and frame pictures on top of one another. Your eye has a quiet place to rest within each room, and that’s key to any successful maximalism space really.

In the end, maximalism is about the art of more—not just more. There’s a right way to do it in any sized space really, including smaller ones. You just need to be strategic like these homeowners.

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