'Cluttercore' is the latest homes trend: Here's how to make it work

·6 min read
Maxi not messy. (Getty Images)
Maxi not messy. (Getty Images)

For the past few years, interior design has been all about minimalism, with Marie Kondo reminding us to rid our homes of anything that doesn't spark joy. 

The result saw many of us clearing out like demons to leave our newly organised spaces looking neat, tidy and clutter-free. 

While this drive to declutter was no doubt freeing, the pandemic has inspired a new trend in interiors, better suited to those who prefer to adopt a 'more is more' approach to home decoration: Cluttercore. 

This new branch of maximalism encourages us to embrace a more eclectic approach to design and celebrates proud displays of all our favourite objects in our homes.

Think exposed shelves groaning with lovingly collected trinkets, cherished vintage finds and family heirlooms. 

Read more: Decluttering expert, hailed as the UK’s Marie Kondo, has seen her business boom since the pandemic

'More is more' when it comes to Cluttercore. (Getty Images)
'More is more' when it comes to Cluttercore. (Getty Images)

Its about glass-fronted cabinets filled with pastel-coloured glassware, jugs of dried flowers and stacks of vintage crockery, displaying the products we don't actually need, but really love to look at.  

The drive for the switch from mini to maxi in terms of home dressing, like so many things, can be attributed to the coronavirus pandemic.

The various lockdowns have allowed many of us time to revaluate what we have in our homes and make better use of both the items we own, and the space we have. 

For some, that has fuelled a mass clear-out, but for others, it has meant surrounding themselves with things they love.

It's no wonder, then, that the Cluttercore trend has seen a surge in popularity, with searches up 125% year on year.

“The Cluttercore trend focuses on the core principal of ‘organised mess’," explains Adele Shotton-Pugh, interior designer at Terrys

"It’s an anti-minimalist trend which celebrates a combination of quirky and often mis-matched belongings, meaning we’re able to fill our homes with interiors that celebrate our personalities."

People are embracing the Cluttercore trend in their homes following lockdown. (Getty Images)
People are embracing the Cluttercore trend in their homes following lockdown. (Getty Images)

Shotton-Pugh says being surrounded by interiors that evoke memories allows us to create a space that not only looks good but makes us feel happy and cosy too. 

"With so many of us spending more time than ever at home, it’s no surprise we’re looking to recreate this feeling!" she adds. 

Read more: Five ways to declutter and feel happier

But how do you know if the Cluttercore look is for you? And how can you get a balance between maximalist and messy? 

"There is a difference between the objects we choose to display on our surfaces to give us enjoyment and happiness – the aesthetic if you like – and the everyday objects we need for our household to function. The way we treat and organise them is completely different," explains Diana Spellman, home organisation expert and founder of Serenely Sorted.

"People ask me if I need to display only a few things on my mantelpiece to be organised. The answer is display as many as you like because if it brings you joy rather than mess stress, you’ve got it right. But, if you are using the mantelpiece to house the novel you are reading and ten pairs of reading glasses as well as three coffee cups – then you probably need to address that."

Watch: Six ways to try the Cottagecore trend. 

To see how far you should take the look, Spellman recommends trying to distinguish whether the items in your home are making you feel 'Aaah' or 'Argh'.

"If you love ‘Creative Chaos’, as the Cluttercore effect can be described, it is going to bring you pleasure when you sit down at the end of the day to look at it," she explains. 

"That moment I call the ‘Aaah’ moment at the end of the day should be what recharges us from the challenges of the day, whether it is work or looking after kids or whatever. 

And Spellman says even those who typically prefer a more refined look can try to embrace some of the principles, it's about finding where you sit on the scale of minimalism to Cluttercore. 

"You may be at one end or the other, or somewhere in between. My principle is that if, when you sit down at the end of the day, the surfaces you are looking at are causing you ‘mess stress’, it’s worth bringing in methods to help you put this stuff away," she explains. 

"The great thing is that Cluttercore doesn’t have to mean mess madness, because any home style can be underpinned by a foundation of realistic home organisation."

Read more: What is Swedish Death Cleaning - and why is it causing such a decluttering buzz?

The Cluttercore trend is all about displyaying the items you love. (Getty Images)
The Cluttercore trend is all about displyaying the items you love. (Getty Images)

With that in mind Spellman has put together some tips to ensure embracing the Cluttercore trend doesn't spill over from maxi to messy.

Critically look at what you have out on your surfaces and ensure it only includes objects, art, things that bring you joy to look at. Be really clear on the distinction between those items, and the practical ones.

Identify any practical items that are out on display. The likelihood is they are only there because you feel you can’t fit them into cupboards.

If you have more items that need to be put away, start to review your cupboards, to ensure that all the items are truly needed. Usually a review of food cupboards alone will deliver you a major space once taken up by well out-of-date food.  

There are many more ways to maximise cupboard space with the clever use of ‘Serene Space Dividers’.

The Cluttercore trend is on the rise. (Getty Images)
The Cluttercore trend is on the rise. (Getty Images)

If you have hobbies at home, use baskets that can be stored easily and brought out for use. For example, if you love knitting or your kids do craft, keep them in a basket, tucked away, that can easily be brought out and put back away. This is called the ‘Use-in-one-move’ approach within The Serenely Sorted System.

To help with cleaning in your Cluttercore zones, use a basket with a handle you can carry in one hand. Take an area, remove items to the basket, clean it, then move on. The closer your basket is to the shelf you are cleaning means you won't be crossing a room with an item in each hand or cleaning a minute area at a time.  

this may seem a small thing, but will absolutely speed things up and make the job easier.

Watch: Decluttering expert, hailed as UK's Marie Kondo, sees her business boom since lockdown. 

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