Take a moment to think about your favorite comfort show. Maybe it’s Friends, New Girl, Sex And The City, or (my personal fave) Gilmore Girls. Besides their relatable characters and low-stress storylines, what ultimately ties these shows together is their set designs. In each series, the main characters’ homes are strewn about with things that look haphazard, but feel personal and purposeful. There are candles and magazines scattered about the tables, coats and shoes by the door, funky lamps, picture frames, and tchotchkes lined up on display. The key here is something TikTok users have recently started referring to as “clustering.” Inspired by the perfectly imperfect apartments of your favorite TV and movie characters, the clustercore trend is about bringing that main character energy into your own home.
What Is Clustercore?
The term clustering was first coined by TikTok user @acnugs in a video that now has more than 319,000 views. “Clustering is an art form, and it’s hard to pull off because if you do it wrong, it can veer towards just messy,” the creator, who goes by Avery-Claire, said in the now-viral video. The idea is to curate displays of little trinkets and knickknacks on surfaces and in various corners to turn your home into “the movie set of your own life.”
Our things are beautiful… They tell a story of who you are and it makes the apartment feel so much warmer, so much more beautiful.
Now we’re not just talking about random clutter here. The key is to use items that are beautiful, feel personal to you, or tell a story. Think candles, books, picture frames, and trinkets you’ve picked up on travels or at thrift stores. By clustering these items together, you can turn an empty surface into an effortlessly beautiful display that showcases who you are.
“Our things are beautiful… They tell a story of who you are and it makes the apartment feel so much warmer, so much more beautiful,” the clustering creator said. Basically, minimalism is out, and clustercore is in.
How to Try Clustering in Your Home
Clustering is designed to look effortless, but it does require a bit of work. Start by going around your home and picking up a few items that you think are pretty or special. Magazines, books, candles, vases, beauty products, trinket dishes, photos, and mementos are great places to start. If these things don’t exactly match, don’t worry about it. The fact that you love them means they will work together. And if you don’t have a ton of stuff to work with, thrift stores are a wealth of cluster-worthy pieces.
When you’re ready to start clustering, simply arrange your items on a surface (like a shelf, coffee table, nightstand, etc.) in a way that looks beautiful to you. Set your items on top of a stack of magazines, pile them in a tray or trinket dish, or simply scatter them across the surface. Add height with a vase full of flowers or a framed piece of art, and you’ve got yourself a gorgeous cluster.
There’s no right or wrong way to cluster—the goal is to simply stop hiding your stuff away and surround yourself with items that feel like you. Main character status: achieved.