The Rebellious Aesthetics of Cluttercore Interior Design

The Rebellious Aesthetics of Cluttercore Interior Design

Interior Design
Decoration and Design
By Dikran Seferian August 07, 2022

The past few years have brought us a series of new design trends, but none of them managed to be as controversial as cluttercore. Essentially a minimalist’s nightmare, it is the design style that would give Marie Kondo a heart attack. But then again, Kondo does recommend only keeping the items that spark joy. And in cluttercore, they all spark joy — every last piece.

This quirky trend is a celebration of mismatched possessions, allowing us to fill our living spaces with anything and everything that reflects our passions and personalities. In a way, it is the guilty pleasure of the interior design world — and proudly so. One may even think of it as a rebellion against the concept of minimalism. It is maximalism on another level. 

What Is Cluttercore?

Cluttercore is the maximalist way of designing interior spaces, centering itself around the notion of “more is more”. Contrary to what the term might suggest, it doesn’t mean creating a mess and filling your home with heaps of junk — and definitely not like any of the stuff you see on Hoarders. Cluttercore centers itself around curating and showcasing all the items you love, in the form of clutter furnishings and interiors.

While cluttering a room would be to fill it with random knick-knacks that you find, cluttercore highlights the appreciation you have for your belongings. It’s about tastefully displaying a feature wall full of family photos, vinyl records, and drawings instead of one or two stylish prints. It’s about proudly exhibiting your favorite china instead of keeping them organized in the kitchen cabinets only to take them out during special occasions.

The cluttercore hashtag has garnered over a dozen million views on TikTok. This leap in popularity ironically came after all those years of minimalism, decluttering spaces, and everything Marie Kondo stands for.  

Cluttercore celebrates organized mess in all its quirky glory.

Cluttercore celebrates organized mess in all its quirky glory.

Why Is Cluttercore Interior Design Trending?

The term clutter isn’t something new. It’s what we try to eliminate during our home maintenance sessions. Cluttercore, however, is one of the design trends that branched out of the cottagecore style — a countryside aesthetic that took social media by storm. While cottagecore focuses on a self-sustaining lifestyle, cluttercore is all about feeling content within an organized mess.

Although the pandemic is almost a thing of the past, it helped in reshaping the bond we have with our living spaces. A cluttercore room allows us to feel nurtured among our own belongings. It involves curating our home decor not only for aesthetic purposes but also for our own happiness. And what better way to do so than displaying all the items that bring joy and remind us there’s more to life than those four walls? Anything from novelty items to hobby paraphernalia can serve as a cocoon, protecting our mental wellbeing from the turbulent times we live in.

How to Achieve Cluttercore Without Going Overboard

It’s not hard to see all the hype surrounding the cluttercore aesthetic. Adopting the trend can be somewhat tricky, with so many ways to lean towards actual clutter. But this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the style and all the charm that comes with it. As a matter of fact, cluttercore will only complement your interior while adding visual interest — a whole lot of it

Create a Contrast of Period Styles

Tapestries of beautifully mismatched items are the cornerstone of cluttercore interior design.

Tapestries of beautifully mismatched items are the cornerstone of cluttercore interior design.

If done right, a cluttered room aesthetic can have a certain kaleidoscopic appeal to it. Consider creating an exuberant fusion of various eras and geographic locations in the form of tapestries, novelty items, eccentric pieces of furniture, and one-of-a-kind artwork.

For instance, you can combine old-world charm with a touch of exoticism by incorporating Victorian-style kitchenware and Moroccan textiles in one unique setting. The aim is to come up with arrangements that fill the eye with their beauty and eccentricity. It is to merge the valuable and the whimsical. As a final touch, consider an assortment of fresh bouquets for fragrance.  

More Is More

Cluttercore is about making a display out of all your novelty items.

Cluttercore is about making a display out of all your novelty items.

While minimalism preaches the concept of “less is more,” cluttercore has a mantra of its own: more is more. It is what everyone who favors this trend stands for. As such, do not hesitate to bring your prized possessions out in the open for everyone to behold. Many interior designers recommend maintaining simplicity in home decor, and it does make sense in most cases — but not cluttercore. This trend encourages homeowners to transform their living spaces into a vitrine of collectible items and other paraphernalia.

This means removing all the decorative tableware you have in your cupboard and displaying it on sideboards, open shelves, and even entryway tables. Your most cherished pieces can go on plinths, pedestals, or in acrylic boxes to bring special attention to them. Do you have a collection of DIY wall decor that you’re especially proud of? Make them the focal point of your bedroom.

Let Your Interior Spaces Evolve With Contrasting Pieces

With cluttercore, interior design is a continuous project.

With cluttercore, interior design is a continuous project.

Why restrict yourself to one style of accessories when you can fill your living spaces with a diverse cornucopia of charming items? These can be anything from exotic souvenirs to antique pieces. It helps to look at interior design as a continuous process rather than a one-time project. It is more of a life-long journey as well as the thrill you get from finding something you like. Home decor doesn’t stop when you’ve arranged the furniture and hung the wall art. It’s about decorating as you go.

Always keep on looking for new items to display. Let your curiosity take over. Should you come across something that “sparks joy”, bring it home and showcase it. As such, cluttercore is a steadier way of finding the stuff you want — pardon me, need. And once you have them, you’ll cherish them for life. 

Huddle Your Clutter Together

Limiting your curated clutter to certain spots will it from overpowering your living spaces.

Limiting your curated clutter to certain spots will it from overpowering your living spaces.

If you happen to be having second thoughts about bringing the cluttercore house aesthetic into your home, consider confining your clutter to certain places. Scattered clutter can often be visually overwhelming. Instead, try corralling your favorite items on a table, a wall or two, a mantelpiece, or maybe an open shelving unit. You can even restrict the design style to a single room in the form of, let’s suppose, a cluttercore bedroom.

Consider arranging a variety of small pictures in a cluster. Or make an assortment of patterned jugs and kettles on a kitchen countertop. One unique idea is to display a diverse selection of clocks together on a wall. Think of clutter as a source of happiness rather than a burden. It should consist of meaningful items that you hold dear. 

Balance It Out With a Breathing Space 

A breathing space can create a balance among all the beautiful chaos.

A breathing space can create a balance among all the beautiful chaos.


To avoid losing touch with style and overwhelming your living spaces with all that beautiful clutter, consider designating a relatively “calm” space. This can be a clear surface or two, a blank section of a wall, or a small balcony where you can read a book or enjoy the outdoor view. Even a cohesive color scheme can prevent the design style from overpowering the interior. This will also keep your home from looking like a yard sale or a souvenir shop. Curating your collections into carefully designed exhibits is another way to keep the cluttercore aesthetic under control.

DS

Written by
Dikran Seferian

Written by Dikran Seferian

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