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Cluttercore: how to get the look

March 9, 2022

Clutter has become a dirty word in terms of interior design, with endless articles about clever storage to help you declutter and tidying experts like Marie Kondo encouraging us to get rid of anything that doesn’t ‘spark joy’. Cluttercore flies in the face of all that.

The term first started doing the rounds in late 2020/early 2021. Google searches blew up from zero between October 2019-2020, to 46,200 between October 2020-2021, according to research undertaken by Living Cozy. Cluttercore has since chalked up over 21,500 hashtags on Instagram and a whopping 39.1m views for video content using the tag on TikTok.

The anti-minimalism trend seems to have been sparked by the pandemic, with repeated lockdowns turning our homes into multi-functional spaces where gleaming, clear surfaces became almost impossible as kitchen counters became offices and coffee tables were commandeered for home schooling.

 

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Plus, a lot of us just really like our stuff – trinkets we’ve brought back from various holidays, decor items that don’t quite fit with the latest decor scheme but we’re reluctant to get rid of, antiques and heirlooms handed down through the family. The thought of jettisoning these things from our lives because they don’t fit a minimalist aesthetic can be too much to bear.

Jennifer Howard, author of Clutter: An Untidy History, refers to it as a ‘self-swaddling approach’ in an interview with the BBC: ‘We want to feel safe, we want to feel comfortable, we want to feel protected and taken care of – stuff can act like a literal cocoon,’ she continues.

But it’s not about mess, there’s still an element of curation. Cluttercore is an explosion of colour, texture, patterns and prints. It’s part maximalism and part nostalgia. It’s about mixing modern and old aesthetics, repurposing and upcycling products and making a home feel lived in. It’s organised chaos, if you will.

So how do you create the cluttercore look in your own home? Here’s are five ways to work it…

1. An eclectic sideboard

Sideboards are a great place to experiment with your decor since you can rearrange your collection endlessly. Think ‘creative chaos’ when channeling a cluttercore aesthetic, and work in bright pieces, patterns and maybe a neon light when curating.

cluttercore: get the look how to work this maximalist trend

Photo: Neon lips acrylic box light, £144.95, graffiti lips wall art, £39.95, pink toucan candle holder, £45, pink poodle candle holder, £42.95, red lips ornament, £20, ‘Rock On’ candle hand, £34.95. All from AUDENZA

2. Open shelves in the kitchen

Kitchens are busy places, so a minimalist scheme can feel like a never-ending battle. Instead, embrace the trend for open shelves and refillable glass jars, adding eye-catching accessories like plants, recipe books and eclectic decorative pieces.

‘It’s interesting seeing the shift in kitchen aesthetic from minimalism to Cluttercore as we spend more time in our homes,’ says B&Q’s Director of Interiors & trends expert, Susie Spence. ‘Kitchens are the perfect area of the house to introduce Cluttercore – we suggest using framed art, open shelves and glass cabinet doors to nail this trend.’

cluttercore kitchen: GoodHome Alisma high gloss white slab-style kitchen from B&Q

Photo: GoodHome Alisma high gloss white slab-style kitchen from B&Q

3. Show off your books

During lockdown, experts often positioned themselves in front of impressive book collections. The ‘credibility bookshelf’, as it became known, is a great cluttercore idea to steal. Don’t hide away all your prized tomes in the home office, instead turn a large bookcase in the living room into a feature. Stack books horizontally and vertically for interest and add in lots of decorative accessories. Throw in a library ladder and you’re winning.

bespoke bookshelves in a living room for a home library look

Photo: Build your own modular wall storage with The Dormy House

4. Pile up the cushions

Many of us are guilty of this anyway, but piling up cushions and throws on the sofa is pure cluttercore. Clash prints and textiles for the ultimate cosy jumble and, if you’re up to it, why not knit or crochet a few of your own pieces to throw into the mix?

cushions in mixed prints and animal prints piled up on a mustard sofa

Photo: Avalana’s cushion collection

5. Mix old and new

The best bit about the cluttercore trend is that you can mix beloved old pieces with new finds. They create the perfect contrast – try a vintage fringed lamp in front of a contemporary piece of wall art. The same goes for clashing prints and mis-matching textiles, such as a smooth silk cushion against a distressed chair.

 

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3 cluttercore TikTok accounts to follow

It’s the interiors trend that TikTokers have adopted in droves. Follow these three accounts for real-world inspo:

1. @newcheeseeveryweek

Pompoms, neon lights, colour and plenty of wall art feature on @newcheeseeveryweek’s account. Join their 6,500 followers for playful interiors inspo:

@newcheeseeveryweek I resisted getting a desk for so long but here we are #maximalism #cluttercore ♬ heaven orrrr 212 – kylie

2. @woodlandgoth

This account has a relatively modest 5,000 followers, but nails both the cluttercore and goblincore aesthetics in one, with an underlying pretty palette of sage green and natural materials:

@woodlandgoth #cluttercore friends please find me lol #cluttercoreaesthetic #cluttercoreroom #darkcottagecore ♬ original sound – .

3. @houseplant.mother

Houseplant clutter has to be the best kind of clutter. Join this maximalist’s 60k followers for jungle-inspired interiors combined with an admirable selection of vintage mirrors:

@houseplant.mother