What Is Kindercore?

Table with a bold blue pendant lamp

ylighting / Instagram

Over the past few years, home decor has leaned towards the minimalist, Scandinavian-inspired aesthetic. From clean, crisp lines to pure white color palettes, many top designers have leaned on the "less is more" look as of late. But times are changing, and between the rise of maximalism and a shift towards bolder, brighter spaces, we're starting to see more home decorators take chances with color and design.

Enter: Kindercore. It's simple, yet unabashed and perfect for anyone who wants to add a little fun to their home.

What Is Kindercore?

This design aesthetic is just emerging, but where minimalism holds back, Kindercore goes all out. A decidedly happy-go-lucky movement, this trend centers around primary colors and almost childlike pieces.

Bright red bookcase
haydesign / Instagram

What Is Kindercore?

The key element of Kindercore is simplicity. It's imperfect and a bit silly, but also makes a statement. It's emerged as a trend over the past year, and according to designer Sarah Barnard, "Kindercore style seems perhaps a response to the stressors of our time and our collective desire to move in a compassionate, inclusive direction."

In other words, in a world where we're bombarded with bad news, many designers are reaching for happier aesthetics to brighten our moods.

Table with a bold blue pendant lamp
ylighting / Instagram

Like this Mondrian-esque colored clock from the MoMA Design Store, Kindercore is a little bit modern, a little bit vintage and packed with a whole lot of personality. While the basis of Kindercore is centered around mixing simple, bold colors together, we're also seeing more and more designers reach for solid bold pieces, such as fire-engine red appliances and neon green side lamps.

Modern primary clock
MoMA

What Is Chubby Furniture?

Alongside the upswing in Crayola-friendly colors, we're also starting to see more furniture designers ditch the straight, seamless lines we know and love from Mid-Century modern decor and experiment with "chubby" styles. A similar aesthetic to Kindercore, chubby decor is a little unexpected and a lot of fun.

A chubby piece will have rounded edges, thick sides and feel just the right amount of juvenile. It's incredibly laid-back and comfortable, and a represents a strong push against the sharp lines of most contemporary furniture pieces.

Chubby furniture
Instagram / katrin_mood

As seen in this beautiful room by katrin_mood, chubby furniture is a bit whimsical, but can still feel elegant and sophisticated. It's hard not to smile when you see a chubby couch or a voluptuous chair, and it's definitely a design movement we are more than ready for.

How Should I Incorporate Kindercore Into My Home?

When it comes to decorating with Kindercore design, it's good to start small. While some other design movements are subtle and easy to decorate an entire house with (think: Scandinavian), starting with a few accent pieces is the best way to bring this design movement into your own space. Consider swapping out your bedside lamp for one that's a little more youthful, or add a few primary-colored throw pillows.

Red bookend
Area Ware

According to Sarah Barnard, Pantone's 2020 spring colors provide the perfect inspiration for bringing Kindercore into your home. From Flame Scarlet to Classic Blue, these colors are bold, bright, and perfect for adding a lot of color to your space.

Look for items with color blocking and rounded edges. Spares, half-moons and cylinders are shapes that are becoming more popular, and go against the more symmetrical designs we're used to.

Living room with rounded furniture
Instagram / katrin_mood

If the primary colors that represent Kindercore are just too much for you, adding a few chubby pieces to your home may be a little easier. Look for rounded edges that almost hug you, like the furniture seen in this room from katrin_mood. Chubby furniture is not only comfortable, it feels welcoming while still being assertive. The bold, heavy shapes take up space (both visually and spatially) and instantly create a focal point for any room.

Where Did Kindercore Originate From?

While Kindercore is a very new design idea, some say many of the elements are akin to famous architect and designer Gerrit Rietveld and artist Piet Mondrian. The most similar design movement to Kindercore is Memphis, created by an Italian design group founded in the early '80s, which went against the trends of the time with innovative and radical designs.

While the key elements of Kindercore are not entirely new, the reemergence of primary colors and childlike design is a stark and welcomed contrast to the monochromatic and simplistic approaches that have dominated the past decade.