With an emphasis on primary colors, funky shapes, and playful pieces, the Kindercore design aesthetic can be a bit divisive in the design community. Taking its name from “kinder,” the German word for children, the design style is seen by some as being too childish, too bold, or simply too limiting. We spoke with interior designers and home experts who expanded upon why exactly they’re not going to be falling head over heels for this colorful aesthetic anytime soon.
It’s Not for All Ages
Trendey designer Andra DelMonico feels that the Kindercore aesthetic is limiting, in addition to being “juvenile and clunky.”
“The bold primary colors turn your home into a place that looks more like a preschool than an adult’s home," she said via email. While we do love featuring happy hues, it’s easy to see how the specific combination of so many bright shades can be a bit too kid-like. And for apartment dwellers, the look may be even more of a no-no. “The bubbly and overly rounded furniture takes up a lot of physical and visual space that doesn’t work well in smaller spaces,” DelMonico added. “The furniture can feel heavy, which can make the entire room feel weighted.”
It Will Soon Look Dated
Several of the designers we spoke with consider Kindercore to be just another trend rather than a lasting, timeless style. “While Kindercore is certainly playful, we feel that it will have a ‘now’ moment and then look incredibly dated, much like its aesthetic predecessor, Memphis,” Anne Mueller, principal at Boston’s Briar Design, said in an email. Thus, she urges anyone longing to introduce the look to their home to do so using inexpensive pieces rather than making any investment purchases. She added, “Just like fast fashion has defined looks multiple times a year, many of the same retailers also offer home goods which are economically easy fixes to get in on the trend.”
That said, will it be possible to embrace Kindercore for good if one is so inclined? Potentially, according to Mueller. “The root of Kindercore features bold shapes and primary colors; a little can go a long way,” she explained. “It would be interesting to explore incorporating a few smaller elements in the right color palette into a room with antiques, as balancing the strong post-modern shapes and colors with more traditional elements can create spaces that are a bit more nuanced, and in turn, seem less trendy in the long haul.”
It Isn’t as Adaptable
There are some design styles or color schemes that are flattering in a wide range of spaces—brass pieces, for example, shine in modern and traditional spaces alike. However, Kindercore isn’t going to be as versatile due to its emphasis on primary colors. “I definitely prefer a more streamlined aesthetic—but not stark—rather, infused with warmth, texture, and sophisticated palettes that red, yellow and blue just don’t fit in,” Providence, Rhode Island designer Kelly Taylor said in an email.
It’s Too Loud
In a similar vein, the Kindercore look just isn’t a fit for those seeking to turn their home into a soothing sanctuary. “Primary colors are difficult to translate into a calming design scheme and most of our clients request a peaceful vibe in their home,” Los Angeles designer Rande Leaman said in an email, describing Kindercore as “a hard sell for most clients.”
Phillip Ash, the founder of Pro Paint Corner, calls primary colors “uninspired.” He wrote in an email, “I favor tones that have more depth to them, so the bright, one note feeling that primary colors give off fails to inspire me.”
In fact, Kindercore elements may negatively influence one’s day-to-day well-being, according to Cabinet Select co-founder and certified building contractor Chris Alexakis. “Over time, the colors around us can affect our mood and emotional states in subtle ways,” he explained in an email. “What seems fun and vivid at first can gradually turn into a stress-inducing environment.”
In particular, Alexakis advises abstaining from featuring Kindercore design in a work space and suggests using soft blues or grays instead. “Those colors can calm your nerves or promote productivity,” he wrote. “For some people, being immersed in a Kindercore aesthetic can cause headaches or eye strain.”
Best Use for Kindercore Design
So when can one implement the Kindercore design scheme? It’s best used in spaces occupied by little ones, according to Leaman, She added, “The kindercore aesthetic is childlike and playful but not exactly restful! Best to leave this style to a children’s bedroom or playroom, where it can be fully appreciated.”