Is Your House a Mess? Cluttercore to the Rescue

Do you have a lot of stuff you want to show off? Do you have a hard time parting with your favorite items? Meet cluttercore, where more is better.

By Rachel Brougham | Published Jan 31, 2024 10:53 PM

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Forget minimalism, midcentury, and Japandi—2024 is the year of cluttercore. If you haven’t heard of the decorating term cluttercore before, think of it like this: You’re decorating your home with all the things that make you happy in a controlled, intentional way.

You may be thinking that less is more when it comes to decorating, and for some that may be true. But for those who have a lot of sentimental or beloved pieces they want to show off, cluttercore can be a great way to decorate your home in a mismatched way that doesn’t come across as messy. Here are some tips to get started.

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1. Take inventory of your items.



Cluttercore can be overwhelming in the beginning, especially if you don’t sort through your items. Take inventory of what you want to show off, and know how you want to present them. Design experts advise that new cluttercore enthusiasts start slowly. You can do this by adding a few pieces at a time, which will help you determine what works best for your space.

Since your choices reflect you, make sure the pieces you choose are ones you enjoy, and avoid choosing pieces just because they are trendy. Take your time and think of your space as an area you are curating over a long period of time.

Depending on your current design style and how many pieces you have, it may help to declutter your home before getting started with cluttercore.

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2. Mix and match sizes and colors.



Don’t be scared to mix up shapes and sizes when it comes to decorating your home with the cluttercore aesthetic. Mixing shapes and sizes will help you avoid having your space look uniform, enclosed, or overly planned.

For example, choose picture frames in different shapes, sizes, and colors. Mix colors and patterns with fabrics. Place items with different textures together in one spot. Remember, you’re trying to avoid uniformity in your pieces.

And yes, you can include some of your hobbies and crafts in your cluttercore design!

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Who says a gallery wall needs to include all framed pieces? Create a gallery wall cluttercore style with a mix of photos, framed posters and prints, and various other items. Try including something that’s woven, an ornament you love, a plant attached to the wall, mirrors of different sizes, or even taxidermy pieces (real or fake) that you love.

By working with different shapes and sizes, you avoid the overly planned look that often happens with formal gallery walls. Need inspiration? Here are some modern gallery wall ideas to get you started.

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4. Shelf it.



Your bookshelf doesn’t need to just contain books. Mix in framed photographs and artwork you love, add some greenery with small potted plants, and place favorite pieces of pottery among your books. Make your bookshelf a reflection of your personality.

Also, when it comes to cluttercore styling, try organizing your books in different ways. Place some upright next to others that are stacked horizontally. Also consider grouping them by color. Using a system keeps your books organized, but in a unique way that allows you to show off some of your favorites mixed in with other collectibles.

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5. Use decorative bins.



Do you have a lot of magazines or journals you can’t part with? Add them to your cluttercore aesthetic by grouping them together in decorative bins. Depending on the size of your bins, you may be able to place them alongside books on your bookshelf, under a table that you can easily reach, or stack them upright along a wall.

If you are in need of new bins, check out some of the best storage bins that were handpicked by our editors.

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6. Add layers.



When it comes to cluttercore styling, don’t forget to add layers. This not only helps bring a cozy vibe to the room, but also helps show off pieces you love that may otherwise be stored away when not in use. For example, achieve this with folded blankets, favorite quilts, and decorative pillows on your bed or living room couch. Place your grandma’s old tablecloth or placemats on tabletops. Use a mix of rugs in various colors and sizes on the floor like these types of rugs for your space.

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7. Remember to be intentional and not messy.



When it comes to cluttercore design, remember that you’re going for an intentional, eclectic look that is controlled and organized, not messy and just thrown together. To do this, keep a few things in mind.

  • Create a focal point in the room and decorate around that. For example, a gallery wall or a well-curated bookshelf can be a focal point.
  • Consistency is key. Not everything needs to be connected, but your pieces should be ones you love. Don’t buy new items just to fill a spot on a shelf or on the wall.

Also, since you’ll have a lot of items on display, don’t be lax about leaving everyday items such as mail, keys, and other everyday items out. Make sure everything has a spot so it doesn’t get lost. This also helps cut down on the chance of having your space look haphazard.

Finally, make sure your walkways and sitting areas remain clear so you and your guests can move around the room comfortably. Also, make sure the things you use regularly—such as remotes—are within easy reach.