Why Mermaidcore Is the Splashy Decor Style to Try This Summer and Beyond

Inspired by online trends and the upcoming live-action Little Mermaid movie, this decorating aesthetic is the perfect one to channel this summer.

Nostalgia and pop culture seem to be the defining factor in many decor trends we’ve seen take hold this year—a desire for fun and playfulness has officially manifested in homes everywhere, and mermaidcore (also called sirencore) is the most carefree style yet.

An emphasis on all things whimsical, this aesthetic—popularized by TikTok (with nearly 152 million views) and the new live-action Little Mermaid—brings the ocean to you, and it’s definitely on the maximalist end of the design spectrum. Vintage online marketplace Chairish has seen a 50% increase in searches containing “mermaid” in the past few months, with shoppers looking for pieces like seashell chairs, oyster plates, shell-encrusted terrines, and dolphin-shaped candlestick holders. The go-to color palette, which mainly features blues, greens, and corals, screams summer.

white living room with blue decorative pillows
Kim Cornelison

“There’s this long history of an ‘under the sea' motif that has always done well with our customer, but now it’s even more popular,” says Noel Fahden, vice president of merchandising at Chairish. “I think it perfectly aligns with this broader, mermaidcore trend, which is so fun.”

beach backspash

Better Homes & Gardens

Etsy recently released its 2023 decor trend report and deemed mermaidcore a “pop culture phenomenon” that’s taken over fashion, beauty, and now home. The report revealed that in the last three months, the online marketplace has seen substantial increases in nautical-related products: 125% in searches for scalloped runners, 30% for oyster shell ring dishes, 24% for mother of pearl tray, and 22% for bubble light fixtures or pendants.

“Unlike the ‘coastal grandma’ trend that took hold in 2022, mermaidcore is a younger, more whimsical aesthetic that is all about infusing interiors with an ethereal dream-like quality while embracing shells, pearls, seaglass, iridescent accents and under-the-sea-inspired motifs, like scalloped edges and bubbles,” the report reads.

Pop culture has had an influence on interiors as of late, with trends like Barbiecore and ’70s designs (sparked by Daisy Jones & the Six) taking over homes. Fahden also cites nostalgia as a factor.

“If you think about generationally when the first Little Mermaid came out, all the people who saw it loved it,” she says. “They’re all now in their late 30s or 40s, so I think there’s a nostalgia piece, and then we’re seeing things like this across the board, but there’s just this, this desire for the whimsy and just fun and light-hearted things.”

Aesthetically, you can achieve a mermaidcore look with any beachy-themed pieces—Fahden lists vintage oyster plates, shell-encrusted busts and mirrors, sculptural terrines with starfish, shell console tables carved in wood, grotto chairs, coral-themed chandeliers, and anything Fitz and Floyd from the 1980s.

gold frame shelving unit with decor and books
Brie Williams

If you want to incorporate the style on a smaller scale (pun intended), try it out on your tabletop with salt and pepper shakers, napkin rings, cocktail napkins, dessert plates, and serving platters. Or get a couple accents, like pillows or ashtrays. 

Shopping vintage is the perfect route for mermaidcore because they’re generally more eccentric and extravagant. In fact, Fahden says the aesthetic originates in vintage pieces.

“They’re so much more whimsical and over the top,” she says. “So much of the newly made stuff—it has to appeal to a wider audience. It’s safer. I think oftentimes the vintage pieces are where you really get such unique and unexpected forms.”

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