TikTokers have the ability to take decor trends and bring a full-on aesthetic to life in their own way. We saw it with the rise of cottagecore and coastal grandma, and we’re seeing it again with the latest look dominating our feeds: newstalgia.
To understand this aesthetic, we turned to Laura Rich, Product Developer for the online furniture store Furniturebox, to find out.
What Is Newstalgia?
Newstalgia mixes modern and antique styles, buying secondhand, and re-using vintage pieces from our own families.
The aesthetic is basically taking things people were already doing and packaging them into one aesthetic. Rich calls it a fluid interior design trend—it doesn’t follow a rigid set of rules, and seamlessly blends the new with the old.
It’s an Aesthetic That 'Encourages Playfulness and Flexibility'
Rich says there’s no need to put one style definition to newstalgic decorating. "It bucks the singular styles of minimalism and maximalism, making peoples’ homes uniquely theirs by placing eclectic possessions that make them happy," she says.
Rich is seeing a shift from designing in one singular, clearly defined style, as minimalism or other styles can be limiting. Newstalgia instead encourages some flexibility and playfulness through texture, color, and sentimentality.
“Newstalgia is making a big impact because it’s a celebration of personality,” she says. If you’re interested in incorporating elements of newstalgia into your own home, Rich says the focus should truly be all about you.
“With this trend, you aren’t designing a space for a catalog or someone else's pleasure—it’s about indulging in what you like,” she says. "People are spending more time at home rather than in an office, they want to create an environment that makes them feel comforted and happy.”
Newstalgia’s Exact Elements Are Hard to Pin Down
Because newstalgia is so personally specific, Rich says that makes it hard to define its components.
“Newstalgia is different for everyone, of course,” she explains. “While a love of reading and art is a great foundation, so, too, is something like music or an affinity with a particular era. There are amazing interpretations involving old vinyl collections, and 90s grunge is something we certainly see coming back into fashion.”
When asked how she, personally, would tackle the trend, Rich gave us a few ideas. “I picture a cozy reading nook with a navy upholstered statement armchair and a large hand-me-down standing shelf stacked with vintage books,” she says. “On the shelf is an art-deco troika-style pottery vase reminiscent of my favorite seaside places to explore. A spiral-patterned pillow is placed on the chair and a large potted monstera is just beside evoking 70s bohemian chic.”
Newstalgia Can Quickly Become Cluttered and Chaotic
Much like its cousin aesthetics, grandmillennial and maximalism, Rich says newstalgia can easily become too chaotic with rooms becoming cluttered and overwhelming with lots of patterns and trinkets if you don't have a strict plan in mind.
Fortunately, even without a clear-cut set of rules, Rich assures us there are some design basics you can follow. “Though newstalgia is a flexible interior trend, you should follow the basic foundations of design,” she explains. “Think of it as chaos with a purpose. I’d advise people wanting to explore the trend to practice a technique called zoning—the grouping of a space according to its usage. Contain newstalgia to certain segments of your home where you spend the most ‘me-time,’ this could be your living room or den.”
Don’t Sacrifice Function for Looks
While it might be fun to lean all into newstalgia, Rich warns it’s easy to lose the functionality of a space if you’re not careful.
“I’d consider the primary function of each room, being careful not to lose sight of that function when reimagining the space with newstalgia,” she warns. “The kitchen and dining room are good examples. These rooms are inherently communal spaces for cooking and eating. Newstalgia should not become a distraction. And as I’m sure many a chef or adept home cook would say, much of our personality comes out through our food!”
Ditch Your Need to Be Perfect
Above all else, newstalgia gives you permission to give up on perfection.
“Let your unrefined personality cut loose from storage boxes and be on full display throughout your living space,” says Rich. “With newstalgia being a rejection of the minimalist trend and more closely linked to cluttercore, don’t be afraid to let go and embrace a little joy. Not everything has to be picture perfect.”