To be honest, we're still not over cottage-core. The fashion and home design trend is based on rural aesthetics, and in a few short TikTok cycles, it's brought upcycled patchwork, fungi table lamps, and several Taylor Swift videos straight into our Insta feeds.
But something new is growing out of this DIY movement, and it's even more exciting: Care-core.
Called "the idea of improving wellness through our indoor spaces" by the BBC, care-core is a bit like cottage-core because it's a vibe shift that embraces tactile analog pleasures like cozy reading nooks, big soft sweaters, and homemade fruit pies. But care-core leans more into the experience of home decor and fashion, and its first question isn't "How does this look?" but "How do you feel?"
Care-core prioritizes kindness to yourself, your community, and the planet over a set "look," which means it's totally possible to have a high tech solar panel and a vintage woolen blanket in the same "care-core" space. It also incorporates elements of biophilia to reassure your senses that nature (and its physical and mental health benefits) are never far away.
Want to start bringing care-core into your own space? Here are some tips...
OPTIMIZE WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE (HINT: LAMPS!)
Buying unneeded things isn't very caring for your budget or the planet. Instead, focus on easy swaps like lighting. If you're looking for more serenity and comfort in your living space, swap out any cool-toned lightbulbs for warm-toned ones. Save the cool-toned bulbs for your office or kitchen, where more focus is required.
RECLAIM YOUR TIME... AND YOUR WOOD
At the beginning of a home makeover? Let your materials do the decorating for you. Studies show that using wood as part of a design scheme can help lower stress levels and calm the mind. It can also help lower waste levels, because reclaimed or salvaged wood can save trees and reduce landfill space while looking damn good in your living room. We love these beds from The High Country and these shelves from Pacifico Reclaimed.
LEAN INTO REAL LIFE
Care-core is all about finding kinder solutions to your daily challenges through design. For instance, if you keep throwing your keys onto a cluttered kitchen table—and then can't find them when it's time to leave the house—don't freak out. Think of a design-oriented solution to the problem that's also a gift to yourself. Want to keep your keys on the table? Find a gorgeous bowl or dish (like this one) so the keys have a place to be. Want to minimize your getting-ready time? Add a tiny hook beside your door where the keys always live.
SHARING IS CARING—AND ALSO CARE-CORE
In the past few years, a network of artisans have emerged that will take your unused family heirlooms and transform them into beautiful, useable, more modern pieces. That includes The Series for quilts and knit blankets, Marrow Fine Jewelry for metal and gems, and Urban Remains for furniture. By sharing your materials with skilled craftspeople, you'll be investing in a small business and in a beautiful new piece all at once.