Internet Aesthetics: Cottagecore and Cluttercore

Anyone know how to turn notifications off on an iPhone? Each week I have a notification pop up on my phone telling me how much time I’ve spent on it this week, and it’s not pretty! Few things hit me as hard as realizing that I have yet again become Alice and fallen into a social media rabbit hole of design and aesthetics.  However, I can’t stay mad at myself long – it’s no fault of my own that new looks and styles are popping up every week!  New Traditional design is always adapting and growing to include inspiration from like-minded design movements in order to stay a stimulating and timeless style choice, and I for one love to look at all the new visions that are coming into the spotlight!  Gen Zs and Millennials are taking to their social platforms to create new image combinations that create a visual feast and a surprisingly specific design viewpoint.  These aesthetics tend to be more than just a design choice and also embody a sometimes fantastical-seeming lifestyle for those who participate in them. This last month I stumbled across two aesthetics that I found to be both fun and encouraging to my own design tastes.  These two genres of design have been branded as Cottagecore and Cluttercore.  

Cottagecore is an escapist aesthetic. It takes you to a place where there are no phones ringing for attention, no errands to run and the pie on the natural wood countertop is always baked from scratch.   When thinking of cottagecore, think of an English countryside where all you have on the schedule for the day is baking artisian bread, picking wildflowers from the meadow and finishing up your tiresome tasks with an afternoon-long picnic (and perhaps some slow stitching before bed).  It is the beginning of the fairy tale before the villain shows up.  Cottagecore is romantic and soft, based around natural elements and the simpler things in life.  The liberal use of white and cream and severe lack of artificial colors provides a stunning backdrop for fresh florals, intricate embroidery, and woven grass accents (plus it hides all the flour you have no doubt spilled from all the baking).  Feminine, fresh, and airy textiles add a softness to the look that is complemented by purposeful, delicate accessories like vintage teacups, dried flowers, and mossy hued knickknacks.  It is the perfect visual masterpiece to reduce any anxiety you feel and to help re-center on the simple things in life.

If Cottagecore is sunbeams peeking through fluffy clouds and a lazy afternoon, then Cluttercore is sitting by a warm hearth after a quick walk in a fall rainstorm.  The art of achieving a clutter core aesthetic is to create an organized mess that feels like a big hug.  This movement takes to heart (and practice) what I have always believed, that less might be more, but more is certainly better!  I find comfort in (organized) clutter and think that filling your home with beloved sentimental objects is both creatively stimulating and creates a “homey” atmosphere that I crave in my personal space.  While this look does require some self-discipline (it is a fine line from Cluttercore to Hoardercore), when done correctly it shows off your design skills and your great eye for balance.  When practicing this visual approach, try to utilize your free space by filling your surfaces with curated vignettes and stack your books and baskets up to create height. Sometimes this loud and unapologetic movement leans towards bohemian, but I prefer the antique approach where the collections are reminiscent of walking into your favorite hole-in-the-wall antique shop.  In fact, a lot of what we do at the shop I would consider a version of Cluttercore! By utilizing picture frames for bold and beautiful gallery walls and upping your #shelfie game with plenty of books and knickknacks this look it easy to edge into.  Plus, think of all the storage room you can free up when you actually put all of your belongings to good use!

With new styles like this to discover, is it any wonder why my phone usage is up an average of 23% this month?  Don’t worry, I won’t let it discourage me from my exploration. I am willing to take one for our team so I can keep sharing my finds with you!  Until next time – happy decorating!