The DC Voice

Interior Design Tips for the Maximalist in a Minimalist World

With the current popularity of shows like Fixer Upper, and Keeping Up with the Kardashians, the interior design aesthetic has taken a very boring turn. Everything has become beige, bright white, and light gray. In addition to that, there is a huge resurgence in wood doors and cabinets. When I moved into my first home, I prioritized updating all of the wood fixtures. The previous owners even used wood contact paper to cover the inside of the kitchen cabinets! The hardest part of decor shopping has been finding things that match my maximalist style. However, the silver lining is that it has forced me to showcase my creativity through DIY projects. 

Paint: Paint and spray paint have become my best friend throughout the decorating process. My first DIY was painting a vintage record player I got as a Christmas gift. Originally a dark wooden finish, I painted it silver to match the style of the living room. That gave me confidence to try my hand at other projects. I am currently working on a project to showcase more fashion in my household. The main thing I am relying on to make my ideas come to fruition is paint. Another reason it is better to DIY if possible is because of the expense it can be for statement furniture. Ever walked into a store and saw a beautiful hand painted piece in a vibrant color only to check the price tag and get sticker shock? Buying a white or unfinished piece and painting it yourself can actually save money in the long run.

Art: I have slowly become one of those people who believes that if I can still see empty wall space, then I do not have enough art. Any piece of open wall becomes prime real estate to add something unique and beautiful to my home. A few things make it hard for me to be completely maximalist in my art buying. One being availability, and the other is budget. To be frank, White people have it easier when buying art in stores because most imagery and portraiture is already created as a reflection of themselves. However, through the beauty that is social media, I have become fortunate enough to find a lot of Black artists to complete my collection. The only drawback now is budget. As much as I love a sale, I prefer to pay full price when I purchase items from Black artists. The main reason being the fact that good art takes time. Compensating an artist appropriately for their labor is the number one way to guarantee they are able to continue to create. Alas, I have chosen to forgo quantity to ensure quality.    

Furniture Accessories: As I mentioned before, some furniture can be overpriced solely because it was made in a unique color. I suggest splurging on pieces like couches or padded chairs that add personality, but are also functional. Chairs have the potential to last for years. An added bonus to chairs is including decorative pillows. Picking neutral furniture and adding colorful pillows is the easiest way to add color and flare to a home. It is also possible to make your own pillows and it can even be done with minimal sewing experience. Two other things that can quickly be added and swapped to change up the space is adding different drapes and statement rugs. Like pillows, drapes and curtains can also be made DIY with virtually no sewing experience. A quick trip to a fabric store’s clearance section can provide everything necessary. Almost all stores have a rug section now. I have found plenty of rugs with affordable prices at Walmart and Target. Spending less means when you are ready to change, there isn’t much financial attachment to the pieces. 

Fashion: I am very lucky that my husband and I are both very fashionable. This gives us the opportunity to use fashion as decor. One thing that our house lacks is closet space. Since I love statement outerwear, I came up with the idea to put a small rolling rack in our living room to showcase our statement pieces. As a result, even when our stuff is not being worn, it is still being used in another, visually appealing, way. Also, fashion can be a conversation starter. Especially for people who have not been in your home before. I recently saw a post online where a guy displayed his collection of sneakers on the wall in his game room. Considering how expensive sneakers can be, it is actually a perfect way to get more use out of them. 

Unique Pieces: These are things that are unique to your personality that you can show off. In my living room, I have a ton of Beyoncé concert programs that I use as coffee table books. I also have a collection of Harley Quinn and skull tchotchkes that are hidden in plain sight around the house. My husband has football memorabilia from his years of playing that cover the man-cave. These little additions are important because they make the place feel more like a home and not the cookie cutter, bland style can be seen everywhere. Maybe you have a mug collection, or an extensive group of books, use that to your advantage and hang some floating shelves as display cases.

In conclusion, there are plenty of ways to add a maximalist twist to your home. Showing off personality is the most fun part of interior design. When at a loss for ideas, scrolling through Pinterest or fashion magazines can provide additional inspiration. Even a quick hashtag search on Instagram can be beneficial. There is no right or wrong way to maximize a space, which is also the reason I prefer it. Some stores even have temporary wallpaper now that peels off with ease. Which means you can change up a space multiple times a year to match different moods. Finally, the upkeep of a stark white and beige space has got to be exhausting. Color can hide dust which means you can go an extra week before having to deep clean. Hopefully the maximalist aesthetic will make a swift comeback. 



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July 2020

The walls and alleys in DC are adorned with colorful and interesting displays of the artistic, historic, and often colorful richness of the nation's capital. We feature these works of art as backgrounds for The DC Voice web site. Hopefully, it brings further recognition to those artists!

This month's image is one of my favorites and one of three that adorns North Capitol & Florida Avenues NW.

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