Beyond the surface

Minimalism vs. Maximalism

Minimalism vs. Maximalism

Jul 16, 2019

The yin and yang of design trends, and what they mean for today’s interiors.

At any one time, in the world of design, there is a continuous ebb and flow of trends. Design moments that seemingly pop up from nowhere, historical references that suddenly seem fresh, new and right now, and colours that only a few years ago were considered passé, are now back on top (hello, terracotta). And sometimes trends are reactionary, one will start to gain traction, while another will emerge as an antidote. It really is the yin and yang of design, which brings us to the newest and hottest trends – Minimalism and Maximalism.

Image Source Milk Decoration (Left); Image Source Jeweled Interiors (Right)


While this look is fueled by a decidedly feminine take on style and the pretty, over-the-top layered aesthetic that’s proven to be catnip on Instagram, it’s also right on-trend thanks to a couple of Milan-based heavy hitters in the fashion industry–Alesandro Michele, the Creative Director of Gucci, and the stylish JJ Martin of Milanese fashion and home brand, La DoubleJ.

With a “more is more” feel from these two creatives, they raid historical references with abandon and mix everything up both on the runway and in the home. In a sense, everything works because nothing works, and the rule is – there are no rules.

But, with all of this jumbled gorgeousness, from a design perspective, this is where the concept of ‘breathing space’ comes in, and how this look, when done right in interiors, is always grounded with something calm where the eye can rest without feeling dazzled and overwhelmed.

In most of these spaces, touches of white and natural pale surfaces are key, which is of course where HanStone’s chic Boutique Collection comes into play. Want a kitchen with de rigeur painted cabinetry, heavily patterned encaustic floor tiles, vintage lighting, wallpapered backsplash and brass pulls? Consider Mercer or Montauk as your go-to for a calm counterpoint to the rest of the palette. Believe me, you can’t go wrong with a classic.

Image Source Gucci 

Pictured Above: Mercer (Left); Montauk (Right) 

Image Source Leo’s Oyster Bar 


While some think more is more, the less is more movement eschews clutter for space, history, materiality and utter serenity in an interior.

Two names come to mind when it comes to Minimalism’s current on-trend look, and that’s interior designer/curator/antique dealer Axel Vervoodt as well as design retailer behemoth, Restoration Hardware. While they might both be at different ends of the spectrum (Vervoodt’s bespoke furniture can run into the hundreds of thousands), both celebrate the story behind pieces, as well as the way they feel.

Wood is weathered, linen is washed and stone is honed. Everything is touchable and meant to evoke a memory of times past or to bring a piece of history into our too-busy everyday lives. Handmade elements and natural, mineral-based tones are key for interiors influenced by this style. Think softened, aged whites, sun-bleached beiges, and stormy greys mixed and layered together to bring serenity to a space.

Speaking of touchable, HanStone’s new Unearthed Collection has this look down in spades. The stunning new Riverwashed Finish feels as soft and smooth as a pebble softened over time in a stream, while the colours and soft veining in Coast, Storm and Terra are pitch-perfect from a trend perspective, evoking natural materials hewn from the earth. Serenity now indeed!

Image Source Atelier Brancusi 

Pictured Above: Coast (Left); Storm (Right)

Image Source (Left) Tribeca Penthouse;  (Right) Axel Vervoordt-Bayerischer Hof Hotel


Arren Williams is a renowned designer, trend reporter and interior stylist whose influential career in the design world can be tracked across magazines, newspapers and television for the last two decades. Style is in Arren’s DNA, since he definitely started honing his eye for design when he was young. “At the age of 12 I wasn’t playing with GI Joe. I was collecting Art Deco clocks,” he explains.

For more inspiration, make sure you follow our Instagram page @HanStoneCA and tag us in your projects for a chance to be featured.