Carnivalcore Is the Loud, Colorful Sibling to Cottagecore

published Mar 14, 2022
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Do you find yourself being pulled toward all-things wavy like those squiggly mirrors and amorphous rugs? Or maybe you’re finding yourself drawn to checkerboard patterns in vibrant colors. Or perhaps you’re finding joy in vibrant colors in general. If so, you may be dipping your toes into carnivalcore, which is a not-so-new aesthetic that’s currently neck-and-neck with cottagecore.

As described by Clever’s Sydney Gore, carnivalcore is a design aesthetic that channels playfulness, creativity, and nostalgia. It’s a bit loud, a bit in your face, and may be the perfect way to describe your love of all things wavy, wiggly, and bright, 

Though it’s loud at heart, carnivalcore has probably already worked its way into your space in a subtle way.

Fun house-inspired mirror frames and disco balls are peaking in popularity. Harlequin and stripe prints are popping up on pillows and rugs. Some have gotten more comfortable mixing and matching bold, clashing patterns.

Carnivalcore can even be a little bit tacky — but in a good way! 

Nicolò Bini, the architectural designer behind Cara Delevigne’s carnival-inspired home (which has a tented-ceiling poker room and a ball pit), told Gore that the theme he and Delevigne went with “has to do with nostalgia and bringing aspects of childhood, fantasy, innocence, and playfulness into our homes, which are now becoming real sanctuaries.”

If you’re feeling inspired by this aesthetic trend, challenge yourself to get bolder with your design choices. Lean into the stripes, the checkerboard, the gaudy floral prints, the disco balls, and let your inner child go wild.