Clustercore Is the Home Trend That Lets Your Personality Shine

Centered around clusters of personal items, clustercore is the arrangement of the small items that you love most in curated vignettes.

Some people thrive on minimalism and keep their spaces clean and simple. For them, having as few tchotchkes, colors, and patterns as possible allows for relaxation, calm, and peace in their home. An uncluttered space gives them room to breathe and keeps visual distractions minimal. Fans of a look called clustercore, on the other hand, want a very different look and feel in their homes, focusing on personalization, coziness, and collections rather than minimalism.

decoratively carved cabinet against floral wallpaper
Robbie Caponetto

Think of clustercore as a celebration of your stuff. Instead of hiding away your objects and paraphernalia, clustercore encourages you to show them off and enjoy them by arranging them in clusters. A cluster of nail polish on a vanity, for example, highlights your taste in color and your appreciation for nail art. A cluster of mugs on the counter both shows off your collection and tells visitors that you are someone who knows their tea. A blend of intentional styling and clutter celebration, clustercore—or clustering, which we’ll call the act of establishing clustercore—spotlights you and your things.

corner of bedroom with vintage dresser and pink walls
Annie Schlechter

A viral video from Tiktokker @acnugs compares clustercore to the beloved homes of female characters on top TV shows, including Carrie Bradshaw’s enviable closet on Sex and the City and Monica’s iconic and expertly “clustercored” apartment on Friends. We love the sets of these iconic shows nearly as much as we love the characters. Why? Because their environments say just as much about the characters as the words the actors speak.

Think of the cereal boxes on Seinfeld or the eclectic loft decor from New Girl. Or how about the restaurant on 2 Broke Girls, with its coffee carafes and napkin holders? Each item helps tell a story, much as clustercore can in your bedroom, living room, or kitchen.

Clustercore’s sensibility goes back much farther than recent TV shows, though. Victorian-era homes were filled with collectibles, and family heirlooms were carefully curated and displayed to add warmth and encourage conversation. Victorian houses that were under-decorated were considered lacking in taste and style, just as a home without a single family photo or personal element might feel sparse and empty. Clustercore celebrates the small items—again, arranged in careful clusters, so as to seem casual but intentional, rather than messy—that bring personality into a space.

white shelves with photos above sofa
John Merkl

How to Try Clustering

Clustercore is simple to achieve, but it can be tricky to make it work without overdoing it. The charm of clustercore comes from using what you have in drawers and cabinets to make a basic apartment or house a place to feel right at home.

@acnugs encourages the careful arrangement of personal items to add warmth and coziness to a room. However, she cautions that clustercore can quickly become messy if the arrangements are done haphazardly or if too many things are thrown together without much thought. Instead, she encourages “effortlessly beautiful” displays of trinkets that, when gathered together, become a charming tableau.

For example, perhaps you have an old brooch that’s lost its pin, the key to your first car, a gumball machine toy from your childhood, and mardi gras beads from a college party. Put those together in a small antique dish, and you’ve created your first clustercore display.

If you want to try this style, be careful not to confuse clustercore with cluttercore, another trend in interiors that’s a little bit less focused and a lot busier. Where clustercore is vignette-based, cluttercore involves entire rooms. Clustercore allows for space for the eye to rest, while cluttercore is much louder.

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