Interior design

‘Cluttercore’ is the new anti-minimalist interiors trend taking over Instagram

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Lauren Geall
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Two Cluttercore photos from Instagram

Forget clean white walls and bare surfaces – cluttercore is all about owning stuff (and lots of it). 

As much as we love scrolling through images of pristine white rooms and dreaming of the kinds of uber-organised shelves and wardrobes you see on Instagram, we know achieving a minimalist aesthetic isn’t always possible.

Whether you struggle with getting rid of stuff, live in a small space without much storage or simply enjoy owning things, creating a ‘minimalist’ space completely devoid of objects is a near-impossible (and often offensive) task for many.

I, for one, know this all too well. As hard as I’ve tried to ‘get organised’ and declutter my space, my predisposition towards sentimentality makes it hard for me to rid myself of all the objects I love and have loved over the years. And as someone who’s also a big fan of plants, I regularly struggle to find space on my shelves to display my latest leafy friend, let alone leaving them almost completely bare.  

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Over the years, then, I’ve often struggled with how ‘uncool’ my space felt in comparison to the minimalist homes I saw plastered all over Instagram, and longed for a trend that spoke to the lived-in, organised chaos of my style. So, when I heard of ‘cluttercore’ – the latest aesthetic taking over social media – it’s safe to say I was intrigued.

A kind of maximalism that celebrates ‘stuff’ in all its glory, cluttercore is all about embracing the objects you own and creating a space that reflects you and your life.

In short, it’s the interiors version of the ‘more is more’ mantra – from statement furniture and bold prints to an array of trinkets and plants, cluttercore is all about bringing together the things and possessions you love the most, as you can see in the above example from @daribhagram

“By adding a number of statement items to a coffee table or ladder shelf, you can create an eccentric talking point in your home,” says Emmie Brookman, interiors expert at Silver Mushroom

“It doesn’t mean saying goodbye to style, but creating beauty and personality in your space.”

While some people may experiment with bold colours and patterns as part of the cluttercore aesthetic, others may prefer to stick to neutral or pared-backed colours but fill the room with lots of objects, as demonstrated in the above post by Irina Balog at @houseofleavesdesign

The specifics of the style and objects you include are entirely up to you: the only defining characteristic of cluttercore is stuff – and lots of it.

For Hayley, 38, from Manchester, who documents her maximalist interiors style on her Instagram @moreismore_, the cluttercore aesthetic has given name to a style she’s been enjoying for much of her life.

“I was definitely into the cluttercore look before it had a name. Perhaps it’s a sign of a chaotic mind… I certainly love the fact that this look makes it so easy to hide a messy house with STUFF!” she explains. 

“I grew up spending my weekends rummaging in charity shops with my mum, and I’ve always loved retro design – particularly 70s tackiness and 60s futuristic. I tried to set up a business selling vintage homewares – but I wanted to keep everything.”

She continues: “My home is definitely not to everyone’s taste (my husband isn’t a fan), and I joke that you have to move through each room like Pac Man through his maze, or you’ll bump into something. But I absolutely adore my clutter!”

How to embrace the cluttercore aesthetic

As we’ve already explained, embracing the cluttercore aesthetic is all about picking out pieces which reflect you and your personality, whether that’s bold art prints, patterned homewares or a statement sofa (or all three, as you can see in the above post from @cloud_nine_interiors).

However, if you’re not sure how to get started, we asked Brookman for her top tips. Here’s what she had to say.

1. Find the perfect furniture to showcase your pieces

“For me this is a ladder shelf. Not only does it look great in any room but it also gives so much storage for your statement pieces.”

2. Take things slowly

“If you’re new to cluttercore, start by adding a few pieces at a time, and don’t be afraid to move things around to get the best aesthetic for you – there’s no right or wrong way.”

3. Pick the things that you’re drawn to

“Embrace your taste and keep collecting pieces of décor that you love and are drawn to. This will only make your space a better reflection of you.” 

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Hero Image: Photos from Hayley @moreismore_ and Daribha @daribhagram on Instagram

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Lauren Geall

As Stylist’s digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and work. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time.