The new maximalism? Designers react to the controversial trend taking over social media

Scandi-cool lovers, brace yourself – 2021's most unorthodox trend is here

Cluttercore – the newest wave of maximalism
(Image credit: Future / Photography James Merrell / Styling Hannah Franklin)

When it comes to interior trends – maximalism is cetainly one of the most daring. However, maximalism's bold social media-approved cousin has just arrived on the scene, and it's one of the most fearless crazes to date. Cluttercore – the daughter of Cottagecore – is a bold celebration of our interests and quirks through mismatched belongings that fill our modern homes

Despite the label holding negative connotations, cluttercore is, in many ways, one of the chicest trends of the year – as it allows us to indulge in pieces that spark nostalgic memories and showcase our personalities throughout our homes. However, we understand, this trend is not for everybody.

Cluttercore – the newest wave of maximalism

(Image credit: Future / Photography James Merrell / Styling Hannah Franklin)

So, if you're torn between welcoming this new branch of maximalism – or running in the opposite direction – we've got you covered. Here, interior designers from both sides of the argument share their thoughts on this unconventional movement.

Cluttercore: The vote 'yes' team 

ichelle Nussbaumer, Cluttercore – the newest wave of maximalism,

(Image credit: San Miguel by Michelle Nussbaumer, image credit: Douglas Friedman)

Michelle Nussbaumer 

It is more than possible to get playful with cluttercore without sacrificing style – especially if we're following Michelle Nussbaumer's lead. The Dallas-based interior designer epitomizes the trend in all its glory by filling her kaleidoscopic home with unique decor and trinkets that exhibit her passions without tainting her interiors aesthetic. 

The designer describes this audacious cocktail of style as 'old-world elegance with a touch of the exotic,' and we're rushing to mirror its ambiance throughout our home. 

'My goal is to create eye-filling, eccentric, beautiful assemblages – a merging of the precious and the playful. It is important that the house smells delightful. That it is full of fresh flowers. And pets. And music. And people, most of all,' Michelle adds.

Michelle Nussbaumer, Cluttercore – the newest wave of maximalism

(Image credit: San Miguel by Michelle Nussbaumer, image credit: Douglas Friedman)

Matthew Williamson  

Esteemed British designer Matthew Williamson similarly encourages us to mismatch our interior accessories – urging us to indulge in 'beautiful things,' including antiques and vintage pieces.

'I'm a firm believer that interior design is a life-long process. It's about the journey and the thrill of finding something you love and that never has to stop because you feel your home is done once the pictures are hung, and you've chosen your furniture,' he explains. 

'Never stop searching, always give in to your curiosity, and if you love something, bring it home. This is invariably a slower method of finding what you need, but once you have it, you'll love it forever,' Matthew adds. 

See: How to add personality to your home, by Matthew Williamson, Jonathan Adler and interiors experts who know

Cluttercore – the newest wave of maximalism

(Image credit: Future / Photography James Merrell / Styling Hannah Franklin)

Cluttercore: The vote 'no' team 

We warned that cluttercore isn't for everyone, and that includes the designer duo at Ophelia Blake, who are less convinced by the craze, despite their admiration for maximalism. 

'At first glance, maximalism design can be seen to encourage 'cluttering of objects' as its over-the-top style can be too much for some people. It is far from this; the strong color pallets, repetition, intricate detailing, and thorough choice of décor items ensure that every detail in this trend has been carefully selected,' shares co-founder Scarlett Blake. 

She continues, suggesting maximalist interiors are curated to look voluminous, but cluttercore is more 'randomly selected which can become unappealing to the eye and appear messy.'

Cluttercore – the newest wave of maximalism

(Image credit: Future / Photography James Merrell / Styling Hannah Franklin)

See: Abigail Ahern shares her golden rule for making maximalism work in your home

'To avoid looking cluttered, start by adding a few items at a time. Start with a few statement cushions, books, a throw, and perhaps a large piece of artwork, and from there, build it up in layers. A bookcase is a great place to start with if you have a lot of items as it provides natural organization but yet offers a stylish feature to your home,' she adds. 

So, is cluttercore curated and creative, or is there more to maximalism than meets the eye? We wait with bated breath to see what's next to emerge from social media, but in the meantime, we're going to have to pick a team.