Diamonds might be a girl’s best friend, but according to trend forecasters, pearls are on the rise for everybody: In its recent look at 2022 trends, Pinterest declared this to be the year for pearlcore.
What Is Pearlcore?
Pearlcore is the name given to the rising trend of incorporating pearly or iridescent accents into home decor, style, and other areas. In home decor, pearlcore can be applied through inlaid surfaces, lighting fixtures, paint color finishes with a certain sheen, and other decorative accents.
Never ones to ignore an oncoming trend, we asked the experts how to incorporate this increasingly popular aesthetic into our own decor. Read on for their tips for trying pearlcore at home.
As Sahar Saffari, interior designer at Hi-Spec Design, explains, this is a trend that works best in moderation. “Pearl detail works best as a minimal trend, and the biggest trick is to not overdo it,” she says. “It can easily look overdone, so be picky with where you want to put it and focus on making those areas classy rather than covering the whole room.”
Lee Crowder, national director of design and model experience for homebuilder Taylor Morrison, agrees, noting that using too much pearl could move you from on-trend to too trendy. “With the rise of soft white (over crisp whites) in home decor and the abundance of pearl finishes and color in fashion, it makes sense that pearlcore would be heading towards home decor,” she says. “I think with any unique finish, adding small touches allows you to update your home in a personal way without feeling like you are being too trendy.”
As you look around your home for where to add pearls, Saffari suggests looking toward the smaller spaces and tiny accents. Along with stitched into textiles, she also suggests looking for pearls and pearl effects on lampshades, curtain tassels, mirrors, or even on eating utensils.
There’s another bonus to starting with smaller pieces. Tanya Willock and Temidra Willock-Morsch of Hidden Gem, a design and decor shop, point out that smaller pieces leave more room for experimentation. “We suggest finding an accessory like a jewelry box, tabletop tray, photo frames, or even a mirror to test the waters,” they say. “[And try] some great intricate designs [to] incorporate color and pattern to pearlcore pieces.”
Try Large-Scale Applications for Stunning Results
While dipping your toe into the trend might be more practical, Willock and Willock-Morsch note that investing in something bigger can yield beautiful results.
“We find pearl detailing in larger scales works best in furniture, like an inlaid side table or dresser. Chandeliers are also a great way to add the pearlcore look into a home, although, [this] can be a bigger commitment for some,” they say.
“[But], if you’re ready to go big, try finding wallpaper with pearly sheen accents to keep the room from looking traditional,” suggest the Hidden Gem sisters. “Think about using a more modern print or a textural wallpaper with added sheen.”
Make the Most of Antiques
Nia Rossiter, director and interiors expert for Penderyn Antiques, suggests looking to your local antique stores for the perfect pearl pieces. But, she warns, when shopping for antiques, it’s important to go in equipped with some knowledge.
“When thinking of pearl accents and effects, it’s important to understand the difference between mother-of-pearl and pearl gems,” says Rossiter. “Mother-of-pearl represents a fantastic alternative for home interiors, boasting serious sustainability credentials as a renewable and eco-friendly choice that shimmers, glistens, and offers just as much opulence to interiors as pearl gems.”
“Personally, I love seeing inlaid mother-of-pearl in ebonized [stained black] furniture for an effect that provides such beautiful contrast and elegance,” says Rossiter. “You’re most likely to see antique items using pearl effects that come from East Asia and Morocco, but this isn’t always the case and [it] can be found from so many places.”
Use Pearlcore for Paint Inspo
“The warm off-white color of pearls directly links to the 2022 interior paint trend of warm neutrals,” says Michael Rolland, interiors expert and MD of The Paint Shed. “A natural pearl can be a warm grayish-pink color, similar to Farrow and Ball’s Elephant’s Breath, which has seen a boom in popularity, or a neutral with more of a pink tone, like Potted Shrimp by Farrow and Ball.”
Get the Effect With Fabrics
Rolland also estimates that pearlcore is directly related to the rise of another aesthetic. “The pearlcore trend can also be linked to the rise in royalcore thanks to Bridgerton, The Crown, and The Great,” he says. “It focuses on opulence and femininity. Light-toned velvet upholstery, such as a headboard or sofa, gives the sheen of pearl, and velvet screams luxury, too.”
“Other materials that give the same effect are satin and silk,” Rolland adds. “Silk pillowcases have been a trend for a while, and now are on-trend as part of [these aesthetics]. Satin is silk’s more affordable cousin, giving the same opulent feel and pearlesque sheen but without the price tag. Search for pearl-embellished cushions to accessorize with.”
Turn to Tiling
Roy Marcus, brand ambassador for Artistic Tile, tells us, “Pearl and its related mineral, mother-of-pearl, is perfectly attuned to use as tile, in large formats up to 12” x 24”, as well as in smaller scale in the form of mosaics and moldings. Many spaces throughout the home can benefit from its special glamour.”
“The subtle iridescence of pearl makes it a charming complement for color both warm and cool … but all tile with mother-of-pearl is better suited for lower-traffic floors, such as powder rooms and primary bathrooms,“ he says. “Though [pearls are] sourced underwater, as tile, it is not applicable for shower floors.”
If you’re looking to tile with pearl on a smaller scale, Marcus has a few suggestions: “Mother-of-pearl can create a luxe detail in less expected ways—[like] as a wainscoting panel … in a dining room [or as] features in backsplashes, [as well as for] full walls in showers and tub surrounds.”
“When grouting these tiles, a subtle warm white grout beautifully enhances the purity of the pearl,” Marcus says. “The formulations of today’s premium grout allows clients to install white grout without fear of disappointing performance over time.”
Your options don’t stop with mother-of-pearl or pearl tiles, either. Marcus notes you can get the effect with other materials, too. “The brilliant dazzle of opal is beautifully evoked with glass tile,” he says. “For dry-area wall use only, these glowing glass tiles are perfect choices for powder rooms, bars, butler’s pantries, dining rooms … truly any area that needs a touch of visual intrigue.”
However you dive into the pearlcore aesthetic, one thing’s for sure: Incorporating it into your home is sure to make for a luxe and plush year ahead.