February 26, 2024
James Huniford

James Huniford Compares Minimalist vs. Maximalist: Finding Your Interior Design Aesthetic

James Huniford is an interior design specialist and owner of Huniford Design Studio, which is based in New York. In the following article, James Huniford explains that in the world of interior design, a captivating dichotomy is unfolding as two distinct aesthetics vie for attention—the minimalist and the maximalist. Akin to the yin and yang of design philosophies, each style brings its own unique allure and charisma to the table. Whether you lean toward the serene simplicity of the former or the opulent extravagance of the latter, this exploration aims to guide you through discovering the perfect equilibrium within the tapestry of interior design aesthetics.

When it comes to interior design, there are two main schools of thought: minimalist and maximalist. While both styles have unique characteristics and benefits, they are vastly different from each other. So which one is right for you?

James Huniford Explains More on Minimalism

Minimalism is a design philosophy that emphasizes simplicity, functionality, and clean lines. It often involves using a neutral color palette with pops of color sparingly. The focus is on decluttering and creating a serene environment. In a minimalist home, every item has a purpose and nothing is added simply for decoration.

Characteristics of Minimalist Design

James Huniford says that some key characteristics of minimalism include:

  • Clean lines: Furniture and decor have simple, sleek lines without any unnecessary embellishments or details.
  • Neutral color palette: Whites, blacks, grays, and natural wood tones are often used to create a clean and cohesive look.
  • Functional furniture: Minimalist design focuses on functionality, so furniture is chosen for its purpose rather than its appearance.
  • Decluttered space: Minimalist spaces are free of clutter and unnecessary items. There is a place for everything and everything has its place.

Benefits of Minimalism

James Huniford notes that minimalism offers several benefits that make it an appealing interior design aesthetic for many:

  • Easier to maintain: With less clutter and fewer decorative items, keeping a minimalist home clean and tidy tends to be easy.
  • Promotes relaxation: The simple, uncluttered nature of minimalism can create a calming and peaceful atmosphere in the home.
  • Saves money: By only purchasing essential items, minimalism can help to save money in the long run.


Maximalism embraces boldness and excess. It is all about creating a visually stimulating space that is filled with layers of color, texture, and pattern. James Huniford says that a maximalist home is often filled with unique decor pieces that make a statement.

Characteristics of Maximalist Design

Some key characteristics of maximalism include:

  • Vibrant colors: Maximalist spaces are not afraid to use bold, vibrant colors and mix them together for a colorful and eclectic look.
  • Layers of texture: From plush rugs to velvet throw pillows, maximalism incorporates various textures in order to add depth and interest to a space.
  • Eclectic decor: Instead of sticking to one specific style, maximalist design embraces various different styles and mixes them together for a completely unique look.
  • Statement pieces: Maximalism is all about making a statement, so decor pieces are often bold, eye-catching, and can serve as conversation starters.

Benefits of Maximalism

While maximalism may seem overwhelming to some, it also offers several benefits:

  • Personalized space: With the freedom to mix different styles and incorporate unique decor pieces, maximalism allows for a highly personalized and individualized space.
  • Adds personality: Maximalist spaces are full of character and can thoroughly reflect the homeowner’s personality and interests.
  • Creates visual interest: With so many layers of color, texture, and pattern, maximalism creates a visually stimulating and interesting space.

James Huniford
Finding Your Aesthetic

James Huniford maintains that determining the right interior design aesthetic is a straightforward process. It completely boils down to personal preference and what will bring you comfort and happiness in your own home.

Consider Your Lifestyle

When deciding between minimalist and maximalist design, consider your lifestyle. Are you someone who values simplicity and likes to keep things organized, or do you enjoy collecting unique items and expressing yourself through bold decor? Your lifestyle and daily habits can play a significant role in determining which aesthetic is more suitable for you.

Think About Functionality

While maximalism may seem like the opposite of minimalism, both styles ultimately prioritize functionality. James Huniford says that with minimalism, furniture is chosen for its purpose, while maximalism involves finding unique pieces that serve a function while simultaneously making a statement. Think about which approach feels more natural to you and better aligns with your lifestyle.

Mix and Match

Who says you have to choose between minimalism and maximalism? You can decide to incorporate elements from both aesthetics into your home to build a truly unique and balanced space. For example, you can have a predominantly minimalist style living room with pops of color and pattern through statement pieces and decor.

Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment

James Huniford notes that the best way to determine your preferred aesthetic is through experimenting. Try out different styles in your home and see what feels right and makes you happy. Don’t be afraid to mix things up and change your mind as your tastes evolve over time.


In the end, it’s important to remember that there is no right or wrong when it comes to interior design aesthetics. It’s all about finding what makes you feel comfortable and happy in your own space. Whether you lean towards minimalism, maximalism, or a mix of both, the key is to create a home that reflects your personal style and brings you joy. Happy decorating!