Minimalist vs. Maximalist Interior Design: Find the Perfect Blend for You | Ana Marcu | Skillshare

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Minimalist vs. Maximalist Interior Design: Find the Perfect Blend for You

teacher avatar Ana Marcu, Home Wellbeing, Licensed architect

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

12 Lessons (51m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Why Styles Do Not Matter

    • 3. Minimalism vs. Maximalism

    • 4. Beauty

    • 5. Density

    • 6. Variety

    • 7. Shape

    • 8. Colour for Minimalists

    • 9. Colour for Maximalists

    • 10. Arrangement

    • 11. Class Project

    • 12. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

Redesign a room from your home to make it look more minimal, more maximal or the perfect blend of the two.  In this class, you will learn the principles of interior design that contribute to the minimal or the maximal look and I will teach you simple steps you can take to achieve that look.



In this class you will learn: 

  1. Why styles do not matter: where you will learn how the architectural styles have shifted between simplicity and complexity
  2. How simplicity and complexity contribute to what we consider beautiful 
  3. How to curate your objects to make a space look beautiful despite the high number of objects 
  4. How “grouping”, “families” and “repetition” contribute to how we perceive a space 
  5. How the shape of objects can influence the complexity of a space and how we feel around it 
  6. How to pick colours strategically in order to make a space look more simple or more complex
  7. How the arrangement of objects in the space can create a sense of simplicity or complexity 




Who am I?

I’m a licensed architect with over a decade of experience in Vienna, Austria. I have a double degree in Architecture and "Building Science and Technology" and I am deeply passionate about design psychology and optimising interior design in order to create great emotional experiences for people. My goal is to design spaces that make people FEEL loved, happier, healthier, and more creative.

In my classes, you will find tips and strategies that will help you design a great home. You will learn how certain design decisions can influence your emotions and behaviour and what you can do to create a home that will make you feel happier and supported in your goals.

You can also check out my class How to Think Like an Architect

Books and Media I love.  


Download the Class Workbook here! 


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Links to other classes

A Hygge Home: Danish Interior Design Principles for Cosiness and Comfort.

Room Fragrances. How Scents Influence your Performance, Wellbeing & Interior Design Experience.

Color Psychology. The Influence of Color on Emotions & Behavior in Architectural & Interior Design.

Decorating With Plants for Beginners.


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Ana Marcu

Home Wellbeing, Licensed architect

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About me: 

I'm a licensed architect and have over a decade of experience in the design and architecture industry. I have worked as an in-house architect on various projects with a strong focus on furniture, interior design and experience design. I have a double degree in Architecture and "Building Science and Technology", and I am deeply passionate about design that generates great emotional experiences for people. I've recently started my little design studio, and I'm excited to teach you everything I've learned to help you create a great home for yourself. 


Transform your surroundings, transform your life!

Your home environment profoundly impacts your mood, thoughts, behaviour, performance, and overall well-being.

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1. Introduction: For the longest time, I have been a minimalist. Buying only what you need, the Zen simplicity and caring about the environment, are all ideas and values that are important to me and to so many people in this world. These ideas have been translated in interior design in an aesthetic of white walls, muted color tones, and rooms looking rather empty. This aesthetic promises to make you feel calm, peaceful, at ease with yourself and the world. At the opposite end, maximalism really spoke to the artistic and creative side of me. The home of a maximalist is full of color and objects of art, and walking through it is like a trip to the museum. Every room has a mood and every corner has a story. You have to pay attention to every detail or you might miss something beautiful. It's a home of intricate patterns and layers that generate surprise, joy and wonder, feelings often related to playfulness and creativity. In their names and aesthetics, minimalism and maximalism appear to be the exact opposites of each other. In loving one style, you kind of have to hate the other. You can't be a minimalist and have joy, surprise, and wonder, and you can't be a maximalist and have peace or care about the environment. And then I started thinking, what if you can? Hi, My name is Ana Marcu. I'm a licensed architect with over a decade of experience. I have a double degree in architecture and building science. My classes draw from my scientific background to show you how certain design decisions can impact your emotions and behavior, and from my architectural experience, to give you concrete solutions on how you can optimize your space to help you become a happier, healthier, and a more creative person. At their core, minimalism and maximalism are nothing other than extreme simplicity and extreme complexity. With this class, I want to teach you the tools that create simplicity and complexity in interior design. You will learn about density, variety, color, and arrangement, but also how simplicity and complexity contribute to what we consider beautiful. I guess what lies behind this class is my desire to help you detach yourself from generic styles and marketing campaigns and empower you to create environments that suit your personal well-being. I also want you to treat minimalism and maximalism like a buffet. You can absolutely be a minimalist that is surrounded by vivid colours and art, and you can definitely be an environmentally conscious maximalist. I hope you're just as excited about learning as I have been about teaching this class. Are you ready? Let's start the class. 2. Why Styles Do Not Matter: In this lesson I want to talk about why styles do not matter and by that I don't mean that they do not have a cultural or artistic significance to our society. But trying to keep up with them is kind of a futile pursuit. Throughout history, the general preference for design and architecture has constantly shifted between simple and complex styles. And to show you what I mean by that, I want to take you through a short European history of architecture. Let's start with the Roman antiquity. Antiquity was a period of economic, cultural, and artistic flourishing. The Roman's system of building was highly rectangular with symmetrical floor plans resting on massive walls and columns. Because of the heavy reliance on straight lines and regularity, you could say that the Roman style was quite simple. But against what you might have seen in movies, ancient Rome was in technicolor. Many of the statues were not pure white, like we see them today but were painted and the walls of temples and villas were covered with colorful frescoes. Because of these wealth of colors, I'm going to categorize the style as complex, but for a very long time it was thought that it was very simple. Eventually the Roman empire collapsed and it was followed by the Middle Ages, characterized by the Romanesque style. The remaining buildings of this period are bulky churches and castles with tiny windows, often used as protection during the many conflicts during this period. There is some minimal decoration and art on the walls, still generally by comparison with the previous period this style is quite simple. This period was followed by the Gothic style, and unlike it's bulky predecessor, the Gothic churches strived to bring more light inside the buildings by using stained glass window. During the flamboyant Gothic, the church walls were covered with intricate patterns, sculptures, and art. Due to the a high number of artistic elements that created these spaces, you could say that the Gothic style was quite complex. The Gothic style is followed by the Renaissance, which emphasized symmetry proportion and it aims at reviving the architecture of classical antiquity and particularly that of ancient Rome. There are some decorations but in no way quite like the Gothic, and there is a fairly simple palette of color. By comparison with the Gothic style, this style is quite simple. The Renaissance was followed by the Baroque, which was very complex. The Baroque used skewed perspectives, painted ceilings, gold covered walls, big crystal chandeliers, and an abundance of statues. Particularly the Rococo style, which was a variation of the Baroque, was exceptionally ornamental. It combined asymmetry, pastel colors, sculpted moldings, frescoes, to create surprise, the illusion of motion and drama. Rococo was the very definition of complexity. So what follows? You probably know by now, simplicity. The neoclassicism drew inspiration from antiquity and is based on the principles of simplicity and symmetry, which were seen as virtues of the arts in Rome and ancient Greece. Neoclassicism was part of historicism. Historicism marked an ornament crisis, because at this point architects were using any age in history to inspire the ornamentation of their buildings. In Vienna, for example, the town hall built in 1883 was inspired by the Gothic, but the Parliament located right next door, which was built some 30 years earlier, was inspired by the antiquity. This ornamental crisis as well as the economic crisis before the First World War, gave voices to architects like Adolf Loos who wrote the article called Ornament and Crime. He proposed removing ornamentation from buildings altogether because it made them obsolete faster. This gave way to the modernism that we know today. In conclusion, what I want to say with the short history of European architecture is that due to climatic, economic, and cultural changes, the expression of architecture and design has and will continue to shift between simplicity and complexity. The simple styles look towards the rectangular shapes and reduction of colors, as well as decorative elements. By contrast, the complex styles gravitate towards an abundance of colours and nature inspired shapes. At the rate of change in technology and manufacturing today, you'll not have to wait centuries to see style changes. While building styles don't change that much externally, interior styles change every year, and in your lifetime, you will continue to see many different styles that will tend either towards simplicity or towards complexity, so keeping up with them is a waste of time and money. What would be, in my opinion, more useful to you is to understand how much simplicity and complexity you need around you, and then you use objects to curate beautiful environments. In the next lesson, I would like to talk about the epitome of simplicity and complexity, which is minimalism and maximalism. 3. Minimalism vs. Maximalism: In this lesson, I want to talk about minimalism and maximalism and how extreme simplicity and extreme complexity in design can impact our emotions. People don't want stuff or the lack of stuff around them, they chose to be surrounded by certain objects because they want to feel a certain way. I think it needs repeating. It's not the objects that we want, but how we feel around the objects. In deciding if you are more of a minimalist or more of a maximalist, you are actually deciding how you want to feel at home. Let's talk about minimalism. The origin of the word minimalism appeared in the 1960s as a postwar art movement and refers to anything that is bare or stripped to its essentials. But the millennial minimalism that you know today appeared around the 2008 housing and financial market crash. The minimalists aesthetic portrayed in decor magazines and social media, is a sparse aesthetic. There is an extreme reduction in the number of objects in the room. The objects are arranged very orderly, emphasizing regularity and the 90-degree angle. There are no patterns and the number of colors is reduced to a couple of neutral and muted color tones. But minimalism is more than an interior design style. It reflects a lifestyle. Two of the promoters of the minimalism lifestyle are Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, who were also known for their movie "Minimalism". In the movie, they talk about their personal stories of becoming minimalists. It started with a decision to reduce the number of items in their possession to only the things they actually needed or provided some sentimental value. By giving up big houses, they barely used an items that had no value to them. they felt like a weight was lifted off their shoulders. By changing drastically the environment in which they lived, they change how they felt. Decluttering is therefore a tool, not just to create order in one's home, but also in one's mind. Subsequently, interior design is not just a tool for outwardly expression of a personal style but a tool for influencing how we feel. If for minimalism the absence of objects is what makes them feel happy, for maximalist it's the presence of many things what generates the same feeling, and that might seem paradoxical until one realizes that these are not the same type of objects. Minimalists get rid of functional and useless objects. Maximalists want to have around them objects of high artistic value or that have a story behind them, that means something to them. Another very valid concern of the minimalists is the environment. Mindlessly shopping for things you don't need, only to forget about them in a closet or discard them when they do not bring a social value to you is a legitimate concern. The minimalist solution is to not buy things. With maximalism isn't necessarily about embracing clutter or excess, it is about purposely curating your surrounding with objects of high emotional and artistic value. The objects that do end up in a maximalist home are there for a reason. They are put on display on a wall or on a shelf and typically have a very, very long shelf life. Often maximalists are collectors of antique or vintage objects, giving them a second life, and that is also a sustainable attitude. Whether you decide to buy only what you need or buy things of beauty and emotional value, which you know will have a place in your home for a very long time, they are both valid ways to care about the environment. Ultimately, I believe that both minimalist and maximalist agree that the home should be created by objects that bring you value and make you happy. Often, minimalists find that in one and the same object. For maximalists, an object's function can be just that of making someone happy. Those items whose function is just to make someone happy are called art. To subscribe to minimalism can often lead to an inadvertent reduction of art. When art means a lot to you or you thrive when you are surrounded by art, to subscribe to minimalism can feel choking. But just because you care about the environment doesn't mean you have to give up art, just like you don't have to give up color. The minimalistic decor is often portrayed with very little color and for good reason. Color is stimulatetive. If your purpose is to create a calm environment, stimulation might not be what you need. If you live in a very chaotic life, then coming home to look at a blank canvas is perhaps the balance that you need in your life. But if you work from home or spend a lot of time at home, looking at a blank canvas all day can be a little under stimulating, boring even. Color is therefore a medium to create other emotions other than calm. It can create a sense of joy, surprise, and delight. It can lift the mood or it can turn down the mood by using dark colors. You might want to use color to create more than one mood in your home. At the opposite end, too much color and pattern can feel overwhelming and noisy. It's up to us to take what is good from each aesthetic in order to create an environment that offers an adequate balance of calm and stimulation. What is adequate balance is, is different from each of us. Our mood shifts all the time and our environments can help shift our mood from simplicity to complexity, from calm to stimulation. The moral of this class is that having things is neither good nor bad but the kind of things that we surround ourselves with really have an impact, not just what we can achieve but also how we think and feel. We are highly intertwined with our surroundings, so whether we decide to have no stuff around us or a bunch of stuff around us, it should come from a place of intention and self-knowledge, not mindless consumption. Buy a few things of high quality and beauty that will last you a long time. Give antique and vintage things a second home. Restore your family memorabilia. Create an environment of beauty and meaning. In the next lesson, I want to talk about how simplicity and complexity contribute to what we innately consider beautiful and how to use them to create beauty around ourselves. 4. Beauty: In this lesson I want to talk about the balance between simplicity and complexity and how they contribute to what we innately consider beautiful. I think this is important for you to be able to identify what you might consider beautiful and understand why that is. If you look at objects around you, you will be able to pinpoint without much thought what makes something very simple and what makes something complex. You might say that something is simple due to a reduced number of colors, or materials, or perhaps the shape is close to a cube or a circle. By contrast something complex has perhaps many colors, many materials, many different parts, or perhaps a sophisticated shape. What makes something very simple or very complex is the amount of visual information that it provides and how challenging it is for our brain to identify a pattern, because our brains are always looking for patterns. This pattern search translates not only to objects but to the spaces around us. When we identify the pattern too easily, we say that something is boring, and when we don't identify a pattern at all, we call it chaotic. What do we consider beautiful? We like the midpoint between order and chaos. The midpoint between seeing a pattern but not getting the pattern at one glance. This stems from what we have innately come to appreciate in nature. The patterns of nature are neither too simple nor too complex. They offer that midpoint stimulation. For example, one such natural pattern is fractals. A fractal is a rough or fragmented geometric shape that can be split into parts, each of which is at least approximately a reduced-size copy of the whole. While we can identify the part, we can marvel at the complexity of the whole shape as well. We can see this in trees, flowers, and even broccoli. Rainer Maderthaner, one of my professors from the University of Vienna with whom I had the pleasure to do one class in architectural psychology and a longtime researcher in the science of well-being calls this preference "Ordnung in der Vielfalt" which translate from German as ordered diversity. Ordered diversity is what people consider beautiful. We like to have an abundance of stimulation but it has to follow a pattern we are able to identify. This translates to everything we see. We don't like this facade, or this facade, but this facade. Not this street, not this street, this street. Not these tiles, not these tiles, these tiles. The list could go on. But even nature can offer high degrees of simplicity and complexity. There can be exotic forest that can offer a multitude of shapes, colors, and patterns, and others are much more simple. Our preference for simplicity and complexity can also be impacted by other factors like our culture, our economic circumstances, emotional experiences, and even our current mood. Everyone finds that exact midpoint at different stimulation levels. But what we know is that some stimulation feels good to us. In the next lesson, I want to talk about different tools with which you can increase or decrease simplicity and complexity in your home. 5. Density: In this lesson, I want to start explaining the five tools you have at your disposal to create more simplicity and more complexity. These are density, variation, shape, color and arrangement. Let's start with density. If you remember from the science class, density describes how many molecules are packed into a given space. When it comes to interior design, density describes how full your room feels or the proportion of stuff to the space. Density runs on a spectrum. At the opposite ends of the spectrum are spaces who have a lot of negative space and have less stuff, and at the other end, there are spaces crammed to the top with stuff. At the extreme, such spaces may feel good only to a small percentage of us. Extreme density can feel like the home of a horder, and when the room is almost empty, it can feel a little like a monastery. The amount of things in a room absolutely can have an impact on how you feel. One way to sense how density can affect how you feel, is through the process of decluttering. Decluttering diminishes the complexity of the space by default. If you have less things in the space, you have less colors, less shapes, and the arrangement of the space gets impacted too. So when you know a space feels wrong and you don't know where to start, start decluttering. If you feel unsure how much to declutter, just start small. It's enough to remove some items to sense a difference. So start small. Put some things into a box, see how the space feels for you. If you miss your things, you can put them right back. If six months roll by and the things haven't come out of the box, perhaps it's time for them to find another home. At the end of the day, keep only the things that you feel are useful to you and genuinely make you happy. For minimalists, these are a couple of things. For a maximalist, there are a lot of things that make you happy. There is nothing wrong with any approach. Just give yourself an empty slate before you make more radical changes to your space. Once you've got rid of everything that is unnecessary in the space, you can start fine-tuning by affecting other aspects of complexity. Another way to reduce complexity is to add doors to open wardrobes or cupboards. Many modular systems give the opportunity to buy doors at a later date, so choosing to add more doors can reduce the complexity of the space. On the other hand, if you have some killer pottery or a tableware you want to display, you can remove some doors. Another tactic that I talked about in other classes that radically help with reducing complexity is to get rid of low-level cabinetry, which typically attract a lot of things and replace them with ceiling-high wardrobes. Conversely, if you are a maximalist, low-level cabinetry can support the display of your prised collections and collectables. To recap, there are three ways to influence density in a room. One is the decluttering, the second one is the presence of cabinetry doors, and finally is the presence or absence of low-level cabinetry. 6. Variety: The second way you can affect complexity is to change the variety of items in the space. Now, it may be that we want a high variety of different objects, but there are ways to have a high number of objects in the room without making the space feel stuffed. Here are a couple of ways. Grouping objects. Gather items together to make them feel cohesive. Grouping draws on the law of proximity. We interpret similar things that are close together as being part of a whole, for example, glass vases, grouping wall plates, or wall baskets. If we put them in the vicinity of each other, we start to see them less like individual items and more like a group. With repetition, we play with the idea of rhythm. We can have the same type of objects repeating in the space, but our minds group them together and see them as one. This can be the same shape of art frame or the same flowerpot. Repetition of the same shape or frame that displays different pieces of art goes back to the idea of beauty and ordered diversity that we talked about in the previous lesson. Families of objects are objects that aren't exactly alike but look like they might be. Just like we identify a tiger and a baby tiger being part of the same family, which creates unity in our mind, objects with similar features create a unity that helps us understand the space better. These might be tea sets, but also sets of vases and flower pots, matching pillows. Collections and collectibles can be families, and this is very much a maximalist aesthetic. Grandma's ceramic display can be a collection. Skateboards hung on the wall, can be a collection. But also furniture pieces with similar curvature and color can send the signal to our mind that this is the same family. Grouping creates more density because you see more items but also more harmony because they are perceived as one. We might use both variation and repetition to create a sense of playfulness and joy. Items grouping is often used to create a story or an emotion. There is an intentionality behind it. It draws our attention. There is something happening here. You can start creating groups by placing things in the vicinity of each other. You can change certain features of your items to make them look like they are part of the family, like drawer handles or profiles. You can place old flowerpots into new colorful ceramic flower pots that look like they're from the same family. You can change pillow covers to match with a throw. You can do more serious changes like changing the upholstery to match multiple elements in the home. Grouping, repetition, and families are the three ways you can keep a relatively high density of elements without making the space field stuffed, but intentional. In the next lesson, I want to talk about the shape of items and its contribution to simplicity and complexity. 7. Shape: In this lesson, I want to talk about the power of shape to create complexity. If we look at a square, I think we can all agree that it's very simple. Whatever looks like a cube or a sphere it's pretty easy for us to understand. The moment objects deviate from these primal shapes they start to feel complicated to us. While straight lines and 90 degree angles can make objects simple, angular shapes, curves, and organic shapes can make a space feel more complex and more dynamic. The curvature or angularity of shapes influences not just the complexity of items but also how we feel around them. When scientists placed people in an FMRI machine showing them pictures with angular shapes and round ones, they found that a particular side of the brain called the amygdala was lit up when looking at angular shapes. That part of the brain processes fear and anxiety in an unconscious way. Typically angular shapes in the natural world can be rocks and thorns and branches which can be dangerous for us. Not only that, but the sharper the angle, the more dangerous they seem. Non-rectilinear angles like plants, or crystals, with measures other than 90 degrees placed in the room can feel a little sharp. If you are sensitive to sharp shapes, you might decide not to have them in there. Ninety-degree angles are often used to create simplicity because they can make a space feel predictable, symmetrical, and easy to understand. The emptiness of rectangular spaces is what minimalism thrives off. Curves on the other hand set us at ease. They make us feel calm. The interplay between curves and angles can define how playful or serious a place feels. If it feels natural or man-made, if it feels gentle and nurturing or intense and exciting. Geometric curves like circles and semi arches feel playful and predictable. They have a whimsical feeling to them. Organic curves remind us of nature. They are free form and naturalistic. They don't follow a pattern. Sinuous curves are suggesting of blossoming and growth, and edges of leaves as they unfold. If you find out that you like things to be simple, but your space is full of traditional furniture, you might choose to change some profiles or swap some traditional pieces with more modern features. If your place looks very rectangular and you would like it to be softer, you can swap headboards or add cushions. You can also add a simple cover over the chair frame. It can be as simple as that. If however, you can do some bolder moves, you can paint semi-circles on the wall, or use colorful wallpaper to introduce organic shapes in the room. As your preferences change with time, you can play back and forth between curves and angles to achieve the optimal stimulation for you. In the next two lessons, I want to talk about color and its contribution to complexity. 8. Colour for Minimalists: Color is one of the most fun parts of designing and it can have a huge impact on how simple or complex the space fields. While minimalist spaces are completely void of color, the maximalist are abundant to overflow. In this lesson about color, I want to address the minimalist and the chromophobes, hoping to encourage you to add a bit more color to your spaces. You might spend hours looking through magazines, admiring mustard yellow couches and pink armchairs, but when it comes to going shopping, you pick white, cream, beige and gray. I know because I've been there. If you have been on the fence about introducing color in your home, please know that color is hugely important to our well-being. The human eye can distinguish among millions of different shades of color. We can do that because we needed to in order to survive. Our color vision is an adaptive trait. Our food is colorful, and the color of our environment is important to us. Color can tell us the seasons we are in or changes in temperature, or about possible threats. Being perceptive to the colours around us has been highly important to our survival. We have evolved in interdependence with a colorful environment. By contrast, dogs don't see purple, red and orange. They only see yellow, blue and shades of gray. Cats are very similar, although some researchers seem to believe they also see some green. Similarly, cows don't see red, and the rest of the colors they see are muted and not as vivid as we see them. Seeing colors, especially vivid colors, is a human thing. Why do we exclude them from our environment? Shouldn't a space made for humans have features that stimulate human vision? My personal conclusion is that color is not wrong, or evil, or even kitsch. Saturated colors are all around us in nature, and they should be around us at home. Our environments should reflect the environments in which we have evolved. Now if you are out all day and your mind is overstimulated, maybe your life is chaotic. Perhaps a home with in muted colors is what you need to counterbalance that. But if you find that you spend a lot of time at home, then a home that is under stimulative, can be dulling to the senses. Dare I say boring? The three most important aspects of color that matter to us are value, hue, and saturation. The value of the color tells us what color it is. Is it red, green, or yellow? The hue tells us how dark or light it is, and saturation tells us how vivid this color is. Picking color is also a choice about how we want to feel in a space. Colors interact with light and light influences our emotions. Lighter hues can make a space feel more energetic, and darker hues can make a space feel more cozy. Saturated colors can make a space feel more joyful. They can attract attention to certain items in the space, while muted colors can make items blend in. Color can have a massive effect on how a space feels, which is why it can feel a little scary to introduce it. Here are a few ideas of how you can bring color in your space. If at any point you feel like it's a scary step and it's not for you, you can always pull back to where you were. The first way you can bring more color into your space is with nature. Instead of flower pots, bring a large bouquet of colorful flowers to the middle of the room. Remember that all the bright saturated colors that you see are natural. There is nothing artificial about them or wrong. At some point, they will wither and die so if color is not your thing, you don't have to bring more back. The second step you can do is add a few colorful textiles to the room. Things that you can easily replace. Perhaps a couple of pillows covers for your couch, or a colorful blanket. Perhaps a few pieces of art. If you feel uncomfortable with any of these, you can always change them back and place them in a cupboard, so no harm. A follow-up could be a rug or a carpet which can counteract the more muted furniture colors. It can draw our attention and make the space look a bit more sophisticated. If you are not ready yet to show the world your maximal side try maximalism in hidden places. Apply some bright colors or vivid wallpaper to the inside of a closet, or a cupboard, or perhaps a drawer. The splash of color in hidden places can create an element of joy and surprise, and it doesn't even have to be part of your everyday decor. When you feel more comfortable with colors, you can start to pull maximalist move by bringing your own collections out of storage to create a visual interests. Now if you're feeling really confident and ready to take a new bold step towards maximalism, you might try to layer a couple of rugs or textiles, it can create a beautiful, rich aesthetic. To recap, you can bring natural fresh cut flowers in the room. You can add colorful textiles like a blanket or pillow covers. Add a few colorful pieces of art, and a colorful carpet or a rug. Color the inside of a bathroom, a closet or a drawer. Bring your colorful collections out of storage. Layer a couple of blankets or carpets. In the next lesson, I would like to talk about color for maximalists. 9. Colour for Maximalists: In this lesson, I would like to explain how maximalists can utilize color to make the space, easier to understand and intentional. Your space has to say, "I have thought about arranging these things, very, very hard". Not, "I have no place for these things and I just dropped them here. " When we have a lot of colors and patterns in the space, often it's hard for the eye to decide where to stop. So helping the eye orientate with the help of color can be very useful in understanding the space. Here are a couple of tips that will make your environment look easier to understand. One of the items that can create a lot of noise in the room are books. A good way to simplify this noise is to color-code them. For somebody who looks for books by topic, it can be a little confusing, but for normal sized libraries, one can find a book fairly quickly. Another way to simplify books is to turn them in the other direction. It works well, especially for small stacks of books. If you want to make the room more unified, try to use the same color throughout the items of the room. If you use pink on the walls, then pink will be visible in other items in the room, or if you go for a light brown, then the same shade will be visible in other items of the room, even if they do not share the same pattern. Despite the multitude of items, the same color makes them feel, to us like the room is one organism. If you feel like the room is too noisy, you might purposefully choose to unify some items by making them feel like they're the same family. This might be repainting some of the furniture in a similar shade of color, or giving different surfaces a similar pattern like covering different chairs with a similar textile. You might swap some of the art with art that has color tones related to what is already in the room. This idea draws on the law of similarity. When things share a physical property like a similar color, we see them as related. Color is a very powerful tool to influence variety. Multi-color palettes make a space more complex and mono-palettes can make it more simple. The more you can turn down the diversity of colors, the simpler space will look. Another technique I have seen is to use one very complex pattern on a multitude of surfaces like the wallpaper, the drapes, and the covers of the bed. So while our eye is overwhelmed by all the places with texture, we can also have a good understanding of the room because ultimately, it is just one texture. Another way to use color to help people navigate the rooms of the house is to use different colors for each room. This is a technique you will see in palaces, and some of these palace rooms are called by their dominant colors; the red room, the green room. Making one room, one strong color, and the next one another, helps our brain navigate through space by connecting emotions with rooms. It also creates different atmospheres between rooms. Color also has the ability to create visual weight, how heavy or light the space feels can really depend on color. Lighter pieces of furniture can feel airy, darker pieces of furniture can feel heavier and massy. Because of the many items in the room, light is absorbed very easily and so maximalist spaces also have a tendency to be somewhat darker. Counteract this tendency by picking lighter shades of color that will reflect more light in the room. To recap, group objects by color, like books. Add items that have a similar shade of color with something already existing in the room. Change the color of certain items to make items look more like a unity. Use the same pattern on multiple surfaces. Choose a lighter palette of colors. In the next lesson, I'd like to talk about the last tool to influence complexity, which is "arrangement". 10. Arrangement: In this lesson, I want to talk about the spatial arrangement. I believe that the arrangement of the furniture can be one final tool in your arsenal which you can use to make your space more simple, more complex, or intentionally generate an emotion. Here are a couple of ways you can do that. Focal point. Whenever you enter into a space, try to decide what your focal point will be. This is often a problem for both minimalists and maximalists. For minimalists, everything blends in like a soup. With maximalist, everything stands out, making it very difficult to decide where to look. Ideally, you have a balance. Decide on a focal point in the room and make it stand out. Everything else gets a supportive role. How do you create the focal point? One trick is the size. Large objects tend to attract our attention so oversizing things intentionally helps direct the gaze. You might try this with a lamp or a vase. You might decide to use bright and warm colors to make an object stand out or draw the attention towards certain areas of the room. Also warm colors come forward and cool colors recede. You can therefore use color to create contrast and amplify the difference between objects in a striking way. Contrast is great to increased prominence and hierarchy. Another trick is position. Positioning objects centrally can also make them stand out. For example, putting a flower vase or a bowl of fruit in the centre of the table makes it feel just right. When it's off to the side it feels less prominent. Spotlighting an area can also draw our focus and make it more magnetic. Diffuse or dim lights make an object become part of the background. Symmetry. Symmetry is something that we are very sensitive to because it typically indicates a living creature or the habitat of a living creature. We are able to detect it immediately. Symmetry is a measure of order or disorder in the space. We have an innate preference for having some symmetry in the space because we like to feel stable all the time. We like our floors to be leveled, our art to be straight, our shapes to be balanced. A little asymmetry can feel worse than a lot. Misalignment can feel uncomfortable. More asymmetry is better. When we have asymmetry, it can be surprising. Balance and symmetry can be different. For example, shelves can be symmetrical, but the arrangement on the shelves doesn't have to be symmetrical. It can create a sense of balance. Another way to create spatial arrangement is knolling. Knolling is the process of arranging related objects in parallel or 90 degree angles as a method of organization. Typically this is visible with gallery walls. To recap, use focal points, symmetry, and knolling to create a sense of arrangement in the space. 11. Class Project: Welcome to the class project. In the "Project in resources" section, you have the class worksheet, which I would like you to download. The first page should look like this. Now, there's a lot of text on this page, and don't worry about reading it all. I'm just going to explain you as best as I can, what I want you to do in this worksheet, and you can of course read everything in detail a bit later, but I want to give you the main idea first. What is the point of this worksheet? The point of this worksheet is to help you analyze what is the current situation of your room, and help you think about how you would like this room to be. Would you like it to be more simple, or more complex? As you can see on the right side, you have a table that has a spectrum going from simplicity to complexity. There are four columns, the first one is very simple, and you have light complexity, then you have medium complexity, and then you have high complexity. Your room is somewhere on this spectrum, but it's different for each category. What are these categories? I've picked eight categories that create simplicity and complexity, and these have been discussed in the lessons of the class, but I have detailed them here a little bit more. I've created eight categories for this exercise. The first one is density, then you have variety, number 3 shape, color hue, color saturation, order symmetry and focus point. For each of these categories, there is a simplicity language on the left side, and a complexity language on the right side. A space that is simple on these eight categories, looks spacious, has less variety, is typically rectilinear, has light tones, has desaturated colors, is ordered, symmetrical, and has a clear focus point. At the opposite end, a very complex space is dense, has a lot of items, has a high variety of objects. Typically the objects in the room are a bit more complex, there are a lot of curves and geometric shapes, there are a lot more dark tones, maximalists love saturated colors. Because of the number of things, typically the spaces are a bit more disordered, there's a bit more asymmetry, and often because of the number of things there's no clear focus points. But I would say the lack of clarity of focus point is not necessarily a maximalist problem, lot of minimally spaces deal with this as well. It's only that when you only have a couple of things in this space, it's very easy to direct your gaze towards them, as opposed to when you have a lot of things. But you can also have a few things in this space that are all beige or white, and so they all blend basically into the background, and it's very difficult to decide where to look. Focus point is not necessarily a maximalist problem, but you should be able to decide where on the spectrum you are. Now you go to these eight categories, and you see that under each category, you have an "a" question and a "b" question. An "a" question asks you, what the situation of your room is currently under this category? And a "b" questions ask you, how would you like it to be? Go through all the eight questions first, and make an X on the spectrum of complexity. Here, I filled an example for you. Let's say you feel that on the spectrum of density, your spaces has a light complexity, but the amount of variety is actually quite complex. It's not at all rectilinear maybe you have very traditional pieces of furniture, you have chosen some lighter tones, but actually you have quite a few saturated colors. It's very orderly, but not really that symmetrical, and there is some degree of focus point. For example, these are just some ideas, you decide where your Xs lie. Then you go through all the b questions, to decide where would you like your room to be under this category? Here I place some "Os" for you on the table. And it might be that the "O" is another cell, but it can also be that "X" and the "O" share a cell. Maybe you don't want it to be either more complex or more simple under that category, maybe you're just satisfied with where it is. That's also perfectly fine. Mark an arrow from each "X" to "O", just for you to understand what you want in each category. In some categories, you want to go from simplicity to complexity, and in other categories, you want to go from complexity to simplicity. For example, for density, you want more complexity, but you want more simplicity for variety. These arrows are just helping you decide, do I want things to be more complex here or do I want them more simple? It's possible that you want to have more simplicity in all categories, or more complexity in all categories, that's fine, I just want you to have the freedom to decide differently for each category. It might not be so clear cut from the beginning. On the next page you have a table with two columns. In the first column I explain how to go from simplicity to complexity for each category, and the second column how to go from complexity to simplicity in each category. But because in some categories you want to go from simplicity to complexity, and in others from complexity to simplicity, I think it's best if you just circle the categories that matter to you. These are all tips from the class and a couple of extra that I thought about, they're just inputs to start thinking. They might not be specifically what you need. But if you sit down and look at your space from the perspective of each category, you will start getting some ideas of what you could do to create the space that you need. Ultimately, you have to remember that design and architecture are very customizable services. You have to take into account the budget of the client, their interests for certain things, the items that they want to keep or get rid of, it's very difficult to give very generic advice. Take this input as a kind of "putting you on the right direction", but ultimately you have to decide for yourself, what might actually make that difference. For that I created page number 3, and here I would like you to create your own notes about what needs to be done, based on the decisions that you made in the first page, and the inputs that you got on the second page, what do you think should be done for each category. Here you have a table with two columns, and in the first column, I'd like you to write down what you picked. For density, in this example, we went from simplicity to complexity, for variety is going to be from complexity to simplicity. Just write what you have picked for yourself, and then write down what you would like to do to the room in order to achieve that goal. For example, in density because in this example we wanted to go from simplicity to complexity, we said that adding more shelves to the living room would be a good idea. Perhaps, bring a miniature portrait collection from the storage to put it on the shelf, this might be an idea. Start to think about what will help you create a density that you would like to have? Perhaps it's a book collection, perhaps it's a record player, just think about what is it that you want to do to the room to create that density, and this is the space where you put your own thoughts. When you are done filling in this worksheet, I'd like you to share the first and the third page of the worksheet in the class project. 12. Final Thoughts: Congratulations, you have made it to the end of the class. I hope you learned some new things and already feel inspired to apply them. I enjoy teaching this class a lot and I can't wait to see what you have taken away from it. I invite you to go to the Project and Resources section and share your class project with me and other students of the class. I will make sure to give you feedback and help you on your way. Do comment and encourage other students on their class project, it will help you make some new connections on the platform. Please use the discussion section to let me know your thoughts and questions about the class. I'd love to help you clarify any concepts you did not understand and it also helps me improve my classes so you can learn better. If you enjoyed this class, I would appreciate a review. It tells Skillshare that you liked my class and it encourages other people to discover my work. 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