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Organised chaos

What lies behind the cluttercore TikTok trend

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Marie Kondo and minimalism are out – at least according to Generation Z, who are enthusiastically showcasing a new interior design style on TikTok: “cluttercore”. Also known as organised chaos, this interior design trend is all about an unconventional and imperfect aesthetic that stimulates creativity and allows space for individuality. Read on to find out what this looks like in practice and what need prompted the new “more-is-more” look.

Photos and postcards pinned all over a wall, and a room decorated with plants and macramé on Pexels

Because individuality and diversity are key, the cluttercore TikTok trend manifests itself in an infinite number of variations. (Photos: Valeria Lazareva, Pexels & Ksenia Chernaya, Pexels)

Cluttercore TikTok trend: what the look involves

The clue to the meaning of the new interior design trend is in its name: clutter literally lies at its core. So it’s all about organised chaos. A look that embraces the cluttercore aesthetic is made up of a plethora of objects that reflect the individual’s lifestyle, are practical or call special memories to mind. Items may include concert or plane tickets, an instrument or even a treasured heirloom. So instead of parting with all those things that are stored in the basement for the sake of tidiness, fans of cluttercore are now putting everything on display as part of their decor. The look should be unique and cosy, colourful, eclectic and vibrant – quite the opposite of the minimalism that has been so popular for many years.

But that doesn’t mean the result is overly untidy or uninviting; on the contrary: cluttercore fans still decorate their homes with care. At first glance, there’s a lot to see, with different colours, materials and styles mixing with each other, usually in a small space. The art is to maintain order in the chaos, for example by allowing primary colours to dominate and reappear in different places. The interior design trend has grown out of the need to bring colour and vibrancy inside our own four walls. All in the interests of personal expression and well-being.

A comparison of the maximalism and cluttercore styles on Unsplash.

While maximalist design follows a basic plan, the cluttercore TikTok trend almost completely abandons all underlying order. (Photos: spacejoy, Unsplash & Steph Wilson, Unsplash)

The origins of the TikTok trend

Let’s step back in time ... In December 2018, searches for Marie Kondo and her “KonMari” folding method skyrocketed, with order and structure taking many households by storm. But just as quickly as the idea of the minimalist interior design style emerged, it disappeared again in many places. After just a few months, the number of searches dropped dramatically. There may be many reasons for this – perhaps the desire for a more colourful, varied and possibly also more cheerful alternative has grown ever stronger.

Only a short time later, the pandemic began – and with it came confinement within our own four walls. Suddenly, we no longer just slept and ate in our homes; most people started spending all their working and leisure time here, too. So it’s only logical that the need for cosiness, well-being and self-expression sprang up. In 2020, this manifested itself in maximalism, where the choice of colours and shapes is unlimited and the focus is on clear statements, eye-catching designs and a clear “more-is-more” approach.

Rather than disappearing from the scene entirely, maximalism seems to have been reinvented in the new cluttercore interior design trend. Having first appeared on the TikTok app, where the hashtag has clocked up 86 million views, the trend is particularly popular among digital natives. Enthusiastic members of Generation Z show off their unique and attention-grabbing interiors, almost as the embodiment of their personalities and lifestyles. The central idea is therefore the same: the look should be colourful, eye-catching and individual.

How cluttercore differs from maximalism

You may well be wondering what the difference is between cluttercore and maximalism, since they both have the same origin and central idea. Quite simply, they each express people’s desire for individuality differently.

The maximalism trend is about conscious statements: bright colours and patterns, an unusual piece of furniture, the occasional stylistic mismatch. The aim is to be eye-catching but still create an attractive and harmonious overall concept while allowing plenty of space for personal touches.

Cluttercore interiors follow similar lines, but instead of a few highlights, the entire decor becomes a statement. Here, things are even more colourful, even more chaotic and even freer. While a certain degree of underlying order is maintained in maximalism, despite the diversity, everything is allowed in cluttercore design.

If you’re a major influencer in the interior design industry, you should have your own trade fair stand at the imm cologne Spring Edition from 4 to 7 June 2023! Register now to take part .