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Cottagecore, the new lifestyle aesthetic that could dethrone hygge

Focusing on the simpler pleasures, cottagecore is an eco-friendly and anxiety-free alternative to the unpredictable nature of daily life. Image: Svetl/IStock.com

While the Danish concept for “coziness” has taken the world by storm since the late 2010s, the cottagecore aesthetic is now poised to overtake hygge as the biggest lifestyle trend of the post-coronavirus era.

Whereas hygge has been a central tenet of Danish culture for centuries, cottagecore is championed by an emerging community of millennial devotees who promote an idealized interpretation of pastoral life across social media.

The nostalgia-driven trend is particularly popular on TikTok, where hordes of cottagecore enthusiasts have shared videos of themselves interacting with farm animals, taking forest baths or baking a loaf of bread in their whimsical country cottage.

Among them are Lillie Elkins, a self-described “cottagecore witch,” who garnered some 348,200 likes on the Chinese platform with a video of her morning routine on an overcast day.

“I woke up to a cloudy day, so I made lemon bars and candied lemons until the sun came out,” she wrote in the caption for her post.

As a growing number of people begin to question the long-term benefits of city life after months of lockdown, cottagecore appears as a sustainable, eco-friendly and anxiety-free alternative to the unpredictable nature of daily life.

“There is a huge movement towards slowing down and reaching back towards aspects of yesteryear. Handwritten notes, eating outdoors, candles, flowers, homeopathic and DIY remedies you name it,” Nora Melton, Nashville-based event stylist and founder of Styled by Nora, comments.

Hygge encompasses a similar feeling of cozy contentment and wellbeing through the most mundane aspects of everyday life, such as lighting a candle, enjoying a hearty meal with friends and family or reading a book curled up under a blanket.

However, while hygge calls for soothing neutrals and modern Danish design, cottagecore swaps ornament-hating Scandinavian minimalism with maximalist and personality-rich interiors that give a modern twist to cottage life.

This taste for old-school design translates into ceramic floral dinnerware, lace tablecloths, patterned wallpapers and cozy furniture pieces reminiscent of a simpler life in the countryside.

Although it can seem ostensibly feminine, cottagecore transcends gender divides to appeal to a broad, millennial-ish clientele that shares a common love for eclectic home furnishings and rich patterns.

British interior designers Ben Pentreath and Luke Edward Hall have long been champions of the cottagecore aesthetic.

“Everything comes back into style. People want to engage in activities and ideas that make them seem different or unique. In a time where technology is everything, reverting back to slower more intentional moments makes people feel good,” Melton adds. NVG


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