I’ve recently acquired a new quarantine addiction: endlessly browsing through interior design pages. I like to think of this as my version of baby fever and coined the term “design fever,” though I don’t think that’s ever, in the wise words of “Mean Girls,” going to happen (I feel you, Gretchen Wieners). And as I was scrolling through Twitter for more designs to obsess over, I stumbled across a trend of rooms scattered with posters, plants, books—you name it. That’s when I first discovered cluttercore.
As the name suggests, cluttercore is a design philosophy and the new gen z aesthetic derived from its sister cottagecore, that focuses on cluttering your room with things you love. Think of it as an organized mess of happiness. What sets cluttercore apart from actual mess (war flashbacks to thesis days), is that the “mess” is calculated and intentional. Each element is carefully and lovingly placed in the space, making sure every detail stands out to be admired.
While I’ve practically fallen in love with the cluttercore aesthetic, I’ve never been the best at arranging my small and limited space. If you’re struggling like me but still have the willpower to create the room of your dreams in quarantine, I got you covered with help from interior designers Trisha Perez and Maan Calfoforo, who share tips on how to achieve the charming aesthetic.
Balance is key
Maintaining balance between the “mess” and creative placements of objects or furniture is the key to tiny space cluttercore.
“I personally think it’s still important to keep in mind that there is a fine line between just randomly placing objects or ‘basta-basta’ as we call it in Tagalog, and arranging the space creatively with a purpose,” says Calfoforo “This is also to ensure that the clutter is still manageable.” Clutter can get overwhelming, especially in small spaces, so be sure to find that sweet spot when you decorate your room.
Let your creativity loose
One of the best things about cluttercore is that there is no limit to your creativity. “In this aesthetic, one freely expresses themselves through the things they decide to keep and arrange in their spaces. Being able to confidently show one’s individuality through their living space is a big boost to one’s sense of self,” says Perez.
Unlike minimalism, the essence of cluttercore is to bring out everything you love to be seen. So have fun and fill every space with something that brings you joy! Your creative heart will thank you for it later.
Keep essentials close
Be careful not to lose the essentials within the happy mess you’ll create. A good way to start the cluttercore journey is to place them in their ideal places, especially those you often use and then work your way from there.
Maximize vertical space
For cluttercore in tiny spaces, making the most of your vertical space is both practical and functional. This gives you more places to display your loved items without losing floor area. Perez notes, “Tall racks, floating shelves, stacking organizers, hooks on the wall or on the ceiling are just some things you can use to add more space to display your items.” Bookshelves are also prime locations for the bottlecaps you collected in your college years.
The heart of cluttercore is in the things we hold close to us. Oftentimes we’re told to let go and forget the sentimental value of our items. Cluttercore tells us to do the complete opposite.
“It is what I would call ‘a beautiful mess’—an aesthetic of organized mess mixed with sentimental objects that evoke a warm and homey vibe. It basically resonates with the personality of the person living in the space,” says Calfoforo.
So put up those photos, display that Sola bottle you got on your first date, line those movie tickets on the wall—being sentimental is power when it comes to cluttercore, so go on and wear your heart on your sleeve.
No matter what aesthetic you try out for your divine space, whether it be cluttercore or minimalism, always remember to have fun. The best aesthetic is your aesthetic and no one can ever tell you otherwise.