Everything You Need to Know About

Everything You Need to Know About "Core" Aesthetics

When it comes to both home decorating and fashion, much has been made about trends such as cottagecore, cabincore, farmcore, and the like. These “cores” and others present an aesthetic that serves as a guide when it comes to style, be it how to design your home’s interior or how to dress. Some overlap, are rooted in nostalgia, or both. Still confused? Read on for everything you need to know about “core” aesthetics.


Of all the so-called cores, probably the best known is cottagecore, which has its roots in a nostalgic view of the English countryside—think cottages with thatched roofs, traditional English gardens, and afternoon tea with scones and clotted cream. In terms of home décor, florals play an outsized role. We’re talking sofas in floral prints accented with coordinated throw pillows, often with lace trim. Speaking of lace, it’s common to see doilies scattered throughout—under a lamp base, a vase of fresh or dried flowers, or a bowl of potpourri. The potpourri, with its rose, lilac, hyacinth, and lavender scents, helps bring the English garden inside. The color palette is mostly pastel, with some whites and neutrals. Outdoor strings of fairy lights complement this aesthetic.

When it comes to clothing, cottagecore style is known for its prints and palette, similar to home décor. Long skirts or dresses in chintz or cotton, often in ditsy floral, pastel prints trimmed with lace or other edging, are a common element, as are wide-brimmed straw hats decorated with dried flowers and ribbon. It’s easy to imagine yourself taking a break from pruning your rose bushes to sip afternoon tea from a porcelain teacup.


Just as cottagecore romanticizes the English countryside, farmcore idealizes the small, working farm. Picture lambs, calves, and kids (goats, not children, although the latter are lively in their own right) gamboling about; hens sitting in their nests on recently laid eggs; and herbs and vegetables growing in a small kitchen plot. The farmcore color palette is more neutral and darker to better hide the dirt ubiquitous to farm life. Fabrics are sturdier, with clothing made of twill or denim, which hold up well to the wear and tear of farm chores. An outfit comprising overalls worn with a gingham shirt is the epitome of farmhouse chic, as is a calico print dress trimmed with eyelet ruffle, which is less delicate than lace.

Farmhouse furniture has its own style, too. Kitchen tables tend to be larger, with benches instead of chairs, to better accommodate all the farmhands at mealtime on a working farm. Furniture may be rough-hewn, stained, or painted. You’ll want an outdoor rocking chair or two for sitting on the porch to watch the sunset. Don’t forget to string some outdoor Edison lights. Furniture fabrics, like farmcore clothes, tend toward simple stripes or checks rather than the pastel florals found in cottagecore. Rugs are likely to be hand-braided oval or round rugs.


Cabincore is quite similar to farmcore, albeit slightly more rustic. It idealizes the “westward, ho!” pioneer settler mentality. In other words, picture yourself living in a log cabin instead of a farmhouse. Like farmcore, clothing and furniture fabrics tend toward the sturdy. Furniture styles are similar but are less likely to be finished. Braided rugs are also part of the cabincore aesthetic—these were repurposed from old, worn-out clothing. Also part of the aesthetic are hurricane lamps and candles; even they evoke the right vibe. Remember, settlers preceded the widespread adoption of electricity or even gas lamps.

Flannel is a big part of the cabincore aesthetic, so if you’re fond of flannel sheets, you have the perfect excuse to indulge. Flannel’s ruggedness also lends itself to shirts, and when paired with jeans, sturdy boots, and a western-style hat, it creates the ideal outfit to match your décor. As with farmcore, garments were intended to last a while.

Grandmacore, Coastal Core, and Coastal Grandma

Grandmacore—or grandparent core—idealizes happy childhood memories at grandma’s house. Think soup bubbling on the stove while pies are baking in the oven, grandma sitting in her rocking chair knitting, and grandpa smoking a pipe and doing a puzzle. Furniture is similar to cottagecore, but the couch or armchair may as well have plastic over it. If you want to dress the part, you’ll want to wear dresses or longer skirts with sweater twinsets in all the colors of the rainbow and flats or slippers. Pearls are the perfect jewelry complement, and an eyeglasses chain is a must.

Coastal core idealizes summer beach house vacations. The vibe is soothing, and the palette is one of seashore- and ocean-inspired colors: light tans, grays, blues, teals, and whites. Décor is minimalist and often nautical-themed—a netting-and-glass-float wall hanging, a driftwood or coral candle holder, and apothecary jars filled with seashells or sea glass. To keep rooms clutter-free, use seagrass baskets.

Coastal grandmother combines the best of grandmacore and coastal core to create its unique clothing style. Grandma might dress in bright colors or pastels, but coastal grandma wears monochromatic or tonal neutrals and whites. Think white capri pants, a white or beige tank top, and an oversized white Oxford shirt, paired with white canvas sneakers or huarache sandals. Add a straw bucket or floppy hat and oversized sunglasses, and you’re good to go.

There are many other core aesthetics; from fairycore to zombiecore, there’s something to suit everyone’s taste. It’s just a question of finding the vibe that speaks to you and then decorating and dressing around it.


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