Adding Color, Pattern and Variety:6 Inspirational Non-Minimalist House Tours

updated Mar 11, 2020
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(Image credit: Julia Brenner)

In the divide between minimalists and maximalists, I’ve always felt more drawn towards a less-is-more aesthetic, but after touring some wonderfully vibrant homes that are far from minimal, I find myself inspired to add more color, pattern and even some stuff into the mix. Whoa. If you’re thinking of trying out bolder colors or showcasing more of your trinkets or artwork, check out these gloriously non-minimalist house tours for inspiration.

Personalities shine through in these tours, and I find myself wanting to know more about the inhabitants.These are spaces where a lot is going on, yet they appear warm and storied, not cluttered.These are interesting spaces that can’t be fully revealed in a quick once-over, which for me is a big part of their charm.

(Image credit: Julia Brenner)

I had the pleasure of shooting Amy’s vintage apartment in Chicago for a tour, and it really is vintage charm in a bottle. Bright, bold wall colors are the backdrop for jewel-tone decor and Amy’s personal treasures. Amy’s home reminded me that having stuff out in the open doesn’t have to mean clutter. She knows how to store and display her belongings in ways that make her space feel welcoming and look chic. Comments on this tour included the statement, “makes me happy” and I wholly agree.

(Image credit: Bridget Pizzo)

People remarked that Vanessa’s hilltop California home looks “luscious”, that it “tells a story”, and “has a wonderful energy”. What I love is that Vanessa shows how bohemian can be just as gorgeous as carefully styled. Everything doesn’t need to be “perfect” to be perfect.The large-scale Bridget Bardot poster hanging in the dining room is really quite allegorical for Vanessa’s home: elegantly tousled, naturally pretty, and effortlessly cool.

(Image credit: Nicole Crowder)

I’m plotting a mini Style Cure for my bedroom, and Holly’s fashionably rustic DC home has me thinking about strong, dark colors instead of my usual soft, light palette. Holly’s space exudes a relaxed confidence, so smart yet so cozy, and I love the playful way she celebrates the rich history of her locale. As someone noted in the comments, her “style, humor, and personality” are evident throughout her home. (I also just noticed that Holly has the same photograph of a girl in red that I purchased at the Eastern Market art fair while living in DC years ago — I now see how exciting it is to have something you own show up in a house tour!)

(Image credit: Adrienne Breaux)

Nancy Mims’ playful and patterned home is proof that a home can have a sense of whimsy while still being incredibly stylish — and that butterfly wallpaper 1) exists and 2) can look amazing.There are so many interesting patterns, colors and textures woven throughout this space, but what really shines through is a feeling of joy. It’s a nice reminder of how a little extra eye candy can seem too busy in theory, but if executed thoughtfully, those extra touches can really perk up a room.

(Image credit: Theresa Gonzalez)

Natalie’s beach-girl-meets-book-nerd home strikes a great balance between eclectic and personal while still feeling light and airy. This tour is a nice example of the many degrees between minimalist and maximalist; Natalie keeps her walls neutral but adds so much warmth and personality through vibrant textiles, plentiful artwork, and small touches like a painted door. If you’re looking to add a little extra somethin’ somethin’ to your space, smaller moves like painting a door or adding some vibrant textiles are very doable ways to ease out of a minimalist comfort zone.

(Image credit: Liana Hayles)

The word “sumptuous” doesn’t usually come to mind when looking at pictures of a home, but in the case of Mark’s delightful and delicious West Village home, that’s exactly what I thought.The rich wall colors, beautifully framed artwork, the abundance of gorgeous food and flowers: sumptuous. Also striking is how much sophisticated charm Mark is able to pack into what started out as a 475 square foot “run-of-the-mill white walled rental”.

So inspiring what can be achieved by letting your maximalist flag fly!