Cluttercore is a new trend in home interiors. You’d think that after Marie Kondo-ing our way into a clean, minimalist home, here is another trend that seems to tell us to do the opposite? Declutter has been a buzzword for many years and now clutter seems to be the in thing? But wait, Cluttercore does not mean what it sounds. It does not advocate that we fill our homes with all the things we collected in our lifetime + those things that we got from ecommerce merchants during this loooooong quarantine (14 months!). So don’t get all excited, pack rats! To those who love to collect and collect and never select, I hope for the sake of your homes and families, you learn another C word. And that is CURATE!
At the heart of the Cluttercore trend is the tendency to cocoon which is greatly driven by the pandemic. It is wanting to create safe and comfortable spaces for ourselves and our families, and what better way to do that than having our prized possessions around us, in full display?
So contrary to what the name of the trend suggests, Cluttercore is not about clutter per se, but about the creative arrangement of eclectic objects you own that hold a lot of meaning for you. (I’m sure the pack rat is saying, “But they’re all important to me!”)
How can this be achieved without drowning in a senseless mass of objects?
Decor Tips for Cluttercore Fans
After more than a decade of the global All-White aesthetic—white walls, white ceilings, white floors, even white accessories—this trend has finally reached our shores and interest has swelled. There are many Filipinos now who aspire for the minimalist look where almost all surfaces are white, including home accessories. Some are even slaves to minimalism in interiors, opting to do away with precious heirlooms, and stashing them somewhere out of sight because they don’t fit the all-white look.
A home is more than just a place. It is also the expression of who we are. As I keep saying in this blog, trends come and go so a better way to make a home is to let it speak the language of the soul. Let us create home interiors and exteriors according to our authentic selves, and not create it according to a trend, or to something a dear friend says is the in thing, or to what we find in IG, Pinterest, FB, and digital home magazines.
If you equate negative space with emptiness, or light up at the sight of mementos and souvenirs, or think that more is definitely more, then this new trend is for you. Here are some tips for the Cluttercore fans.
Curate Your Collection
Not everything is important. Go through your stash and see what really appeals to you. Are there things that not only don’t spark joy at all but also confuse you as to why you kept them in the first place? Are there things that are just downright ugly, or that don’t fit in your current home at all, or more importantly, that don’t fit the person that you are now? Do yourself a favor and toss these things away.
If they are still ok, give them away to friends or family members who may want them, or donate to organizations like the Salvation Army. Join a barter group if you know of one. You can also sell them in the FB Marketplace if you think these fall under the category of “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
Follow a Theme
I’ve seen so many kinds of collections from friends, like Hello Kitty items, Funko pops, vinyl records, crystals (in other words, mga bato), Matchbox cars, vintage French posters, and so on and so forth.
Mama can collect the china she got from Lola in the vajilera. Papa can store his beloved LPs in a cabinet next to his vintage turntable. Usually family members have different interests and tend to make their own collections. The displays of the collections are fairly easy to manage if each one has his/her own space. Each member can display his/her collection in the bedroom, or somewhere in the home designated by the family.
Cluttercore is usually an explosion of color. This is arguably the biggest advantage of this trend. Go for colors that speak of abundance and joy.
You’ve got the colors of the things to consider when you paint your wall. If you will opt for plain white walls, this is slightly easier than having a dark-colored wall. All you need to mix and match are the colors of the objects you want to display. However, you can also choose a color that you find in your collection that is not at all “safe” and just paint it on an accent wall. C’mon, live a little. It’s just paint.
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I like the fearless spirit of interior designer Sophie Robinson in her choice of colors in interior spaces she designs. She makes the look even more interesting by adding patterns on top of the palette. Follow her IG page if you want to see her work. Most of us need to use the color wheel to choose color schemes that work.
Feeling more adventurous? Choose a paint color for your wall that would complement your collection.
Layering of Objects
In Cluttercore, you make use of horizontal space like tables and shelves. Layering refers to putting objects in front of each other. The best would be to put the taller objects at the back of shorter ones. Depending on the depth of your furniture, you can have as many as 3 layers, maybe even more.
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Layer objects in front of your books as shown in the image above, or on top of tables. Making a vignette is not something out of the ordinary for Filipinos. Many of us have altars at home, which may be full of statues, images, crucifixes, and flowers. We know how to arrange these things. The skill is there, and what has to be done is to just arrange different things in different areas in the house.
Make Use of Vertical Space
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This particular tip is very helpful for the plantitos/plantitas. I doubt if plant lovers have not thought of this. After all, there are some plants like tillandsias or air plants that don’t grow in soil, and love to hang in the breeze instead. But even those that grow in soil will look much better if hung, like Pothos or English Ivy, which would look more gorgeous if their foliage can cascade down.
This tip is not limited to plant lovers. There are other collections that would look better if they are hung, like mobiles or garlands.
Make a Gallery Wall
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This decor trend has been around for a long time. If you want to know how to arrange your paintings, photos or objects on the wall, just search and you will get a lot of tips and tricks. A definite no-no would be to start with making holes in your wall.
Read this blog post to learn the tricks of how to make a winning gallery wall.
The Drawbacks of Cluttercore
Personally, I am a fan of Cluttercore but NOT for my home.
I love the aesthetics of this quirky restaurant in Quezon City where every surface is covered with objects. Every nook and cranny is crammed with stuff, including the ceiling! The entrance itself is so deliciously fantastic. It looks like the wardrobe entrance to Narnia! I get a similar feeling when I enter this indian restaurant in BGC with its intense colors, dark brown hard wood furniture with carvings, brass tea sets and tableware. In my last visit, I even went to the toilet just to check it out. There were mid-century furniture in there, including an old, fat television set!
However, Cluttercore has its drawbacks. Here are the major ones.
Hard to Clean
Although I love, love, love a clean home, unlike a colleague who loves to clean, I would rather binge-watch a spine-tingling whodunit series on Netflix than spend the day cleaning.
If you’ve got so many things on display in your home located in a major city in the Philippines, good luck to you. A few minutes after you’ve dusted, you will find that dust has settled again on the surfaces.
I may not like cleaning but I am old school when it comes to cleaning. Dusting around objects is not enough. If I were to dust a table full of knickknacks, I would move the objects to another place first, then I would wipe the table top, the underside, and the legs. If the table is made of wood, I would not only dust it but also oil it and then buff it well. Then I would move my attention to the objects and dust them one by one (I even have a make-up brush just for this task) before I would arrange them again on the newly-cleaned table. Do I have time for that? Maybe. Do I want to make time for that? NO.
Watch Out for the Consumerism Bug
Focus on displaying things that you already have, and not add to your things. Scrolling through Shopee, Lazada, Amazon, and other e-commerce sites can tempt you to hit that order button.
You may think upon seeing an object on the internet, “Oh, that would look perfect sandwiched between that and that,” but RESIST. If your will is weak, take a month or two to detox by staying away from those URLs. Remember the lessons of moderating consumption for the sake of Mother Earth. Remember that we don’t need more landfills. Remember that there is comfort in the things that we already own, those things that remain after we’ve curated the pile.
Cluttercore is cocooning in the embrace of things that are precious to us, and that give us comfort. We want to enjoy the clutter, not drown in it.
Not Everyone’s Cup of Tea
Cluttercore is supposed to increase the happiness factor and to make the sun in our soul shine much brighter. This can only work if everyone in the home likes this kind of interior style.
Usually, parents have the final say on how the house will look. If you’re a minimalist spawn of maximalist parents, close your eyes when you enter the front door. Open them only when you’re in your room. Hopefully, you do have your very own bedroom where sobriety rules.
Boysen Color Palettes
There are two rich color palettes that can work very well with the Cluttercore look. In 2017, we introduced a color trend palette called MAXIMALIST. Read about it in the Boysen Color Trend website. In 2019, we created ENCHANT. You can download the brochure here.
Those are just suggestions, of course. Your starting point in choosing the color for your walls should always be the colors of your collection.