The Rise of Cluttercore & Rejection of Minimalism
Born from the backlash against the minimalism that has dominated interior design for decades, the Cluttercore aesthetic first originated on Tik-Tok and Instagram a couple of years ago. Not yet mainstream, its influence is however starting to be seen in the collections of the major retailers with the likes of Ikea promoting a more cluttered and less Scandi aesthetic than usual in their latest catalogue.
For the past year or so, partly out of necessity and partly out of preference, I’ve been fully embracing the Cluttercore aesthetic. Contrary to what its name might suggest, Cluttercore isn’t just randomly placing objects onto a shelf and walking away. I would describe Cluttercore as feeling like a warm and cosy antique shop; a close cousin to Maximalism but less edited and generally with a less stimulating, sometimes garish vibe. Think shelves crowded with interesting and treasured objects personal to the owner, layered rugs. decorative fixtures and fittings. The point of Cluttercore isn’t to match clutter to chaos. Instead, its beautylies in the drawing together of objects whose imperfections complement each other and whose collective presence is in itself –a story.
Some might believe that less is more. A minimalist focuses on negative space – a maximalist focuses on excess. At their essence, both movements come from the desire to restrict. Cluttercore is at its heart far more fluid and flexible – it can be applied to any space and easily adapted to suit individual style and budget. I find it remarkably emblematic of the generational divide between Gen Z, Millennials and Boomers who looked to minimalism as an indicator of restraint, control, and perfection; signifiers of wealth and attainment wrapped in large, bland objects. In opposition, Cluttercore celebrates confusion and the small. It makes a lot of sense to me, that a movement like Cluttercore emerged across the pandemic – a time in which people were confined to their houses and searching for a way to create joyful and interesting spaces.
Quite like the zen meditation practise of ‘Ishigumi’ where monks carefully arrange stones in a sand garden with the purpose of adding visual depth and complexity with every placed pebble; Cluttercore is a therapeutic process that allows you to zone out and centre yourself in your immediate surroundings. For me, each item tells a story. It embraces the weight of human history that clings to each object and places this at the forefront of the mind’s eye.
Long before the term Cluttercore was coined I think Picasso really nailed the aesthetic in his home and studio in the south of France. One cool dude and a man well ahead of his time!
I stumbled across Cluttercore quite by accident. In truth, I had embraced Cluttercore long before I encountered the term. Calumscuriosities was created at the heart of the pandemic at a time when I too, was looking for a way to introduce joy and interest into my home against a backdrop of uncertainty. A couple of objects soon piled into a box of objected and necessity soon necessitated that I adopt this trend as a way of maintaining visibility between myself and the floor. I found myself fascinated by the objects and by learning about their history and culture I was able to open a window to the rest of the world from my bedroom.
We live in a digital age where interesting objects and vintage furniture are readily available online. Indeed, stacked against the styles of cheap, plywood and consumer trends – vintage furniture offers a more sustainable and often, more attractive option. Hardwood furniture is easily maintained and often holds its value far better than the cheap IKEA desks that now fill landfills in the hundreds. If you’re willing to invest the time into hunting (and for those of you who like this type of things – finding the items is half the fun), shopping vintage is a worthwhile and rewarding habit.
Check out the shelf décor section of my shop where you will find all manner of interesting vintage and antique curios and follow me on Instagram for more inspiration and ideas. Everything I have for sale lends itself to this aesthetic since anything goes and mixing it up is the name of the game.
Worldwide shipping available from the UK at a reasonable rate with delivery to the US normally taking 3 days and next day delivery to the UK via UPS. 30 day returns policy and all paperwork etc. handled at my end.
A shelf in my flat with a small selection of the kind of things available in the shop