Apartment Advice

5 Unique Aesthetic Cores to Inspire Your Decor

Home makeover shows constantly talk about moving walls or switching around the furniture for a more “aesthetically pleasing” living room.

Aesthetic core”, however, goes a bit deeper, describing a specific theme that you’re sticking to throughout the creative process.

Besides for your wardrobe, you can now take it to the next level by having a unique aesthetic core for the decor in your home or business.

No matter if you choose one of the more famous cores like cottage, dark academia, or medieval fantasy, or a more niche one like goblin or steelpunk, keep reading to learn fun and eye-popping ways to bring one of these five aesthetic cores to your decor.


One of the most well-known cores, cottagecore is an aesthetic that romanticizes rural and farm living. It is geared towards embracing an “old world” femininity of the late 19th and early 20th century Americana and quiet Victorian England.

It is one of the few unique aesthetics that did not explicitly start from making a fashion statement.

However, if this is how you got into it, you probably began by wearing loose-fitting, light-colored clothes and keeping your hair its natural color. You could put it in a ponytail, but no elaborate haircuts are necessary here.

How Can You Use Cottagecore to Beautify Your Home?

Cottagecore was literally built for this, being named after the cottages of yesterday’s simple living. The emphasis here, though, is on “simple,” focusing on the quaint lifestyle our great-great-grandparents had while de-emphasizing the arduous work that went into this life.

For example, you might want to have some farm-to-table culinary delights in your kitchen, but you could do without the muddy barn and the calloused hands that put them on your plate.

Wall Colors

The first step to beautifying your home in the cottagecore theme is giving those walls a fresh coat of paint.

Like your clothes, you need to keep things light.

Odds are your home or apartment already has white walls anyway, but if you want a little more variety, consider alternating rooms with the following colors:

  • Baby blue
  • Olive green
  • Flamingo pink

Almost any color works, but just keep it to one or two so you don’t get a rainbow effect. And, obviously, no dark colors or black. Think of the colors you would find in a nursery.


Here you’ll want to stay with the pastel coloring, at least for your living room. A simple couch with one light color works best. And if you genuinely want to stay true to cottagecore, you may want to skip the high-tech couch with wireless phone charging and USB compatibility.

For your dining room table, you’ll want to dive into a few of the decorations we’ve listed here.

But which appliances can you have?


As we were alluding to about the living room, you may not want the fanciest kitchen gadgets here. Still, keep things practical to you. Having a butter churn can be a wholesome family way to get plenty of this go-to condiment, but you may not want to make everything from scratch.

At the end of the day, don’t forget the whole point is to keep things simple.


Not everything in cottagecore serves a completely practical purpose.

You can enhance the look of this aesthetic throughout the home in the following ways:

  • Your walls don’t all have to be painted. For a family room or even a bathroom, try some floral wallpaper with a white base.
  • Potted plants do an amazing job bringing life to any empty corner or bedroom nightstand. Just make sure you avoid the long viney ones that are better suited for our goblincore conversation below.
  • Decorative glassware and mugs bring a “lived-in” feel to your dining room. Light colors shouldn’t mean plain!


Can You Use Cottagecore in Your Business? Where Does It Work Best?

You certainly don’t need to limit this unique aesthetic to your home. Cottagecore works really well in certain businesses.

For example, if you bring it to your coffee shop, you’ll encourage your patrons to feel more at ease. They’ll want to stay and read or work, which means a couple of extra coffee purchases in your pocket.

Do you like the idea of using an aesthetic core, but cottagecore is just not you?

Let’s go in a different direction.

Don’t miss: Ethereal Aesthetic Decor and Design

Medieval Fantasy



Medieval fantasy core also harkens back to yesterday’s lifestyle and lack of technology, but its cottagecore similarities mostly end there.

Based on the medieval times (no, not the restaurant), with a flair of the King Arthur sword myth and a hint of Lord of the Rings, medieval fantasy is a fun way to bring the thrill of the Renaissance fair to everyday living.

How Can You Use the Medieval Fantasy Core to Take Your Home Back In Time?

If you’re no longer satisfied with just wearing your tiara or stretch velvet clothing, make your whole house look the middle ages year-round. As one of the most unique aesthetic cores there is, the sky’s the limit here.

Start with a mid-to-dark wall color, and then continue below.


You might need to take some artistic license here so you can get a good night’s sleep. Most medieval furniture was primarily made of wood, with only minimal cloth.
Additionally, no medieval fantasy core home is complete without a bold wooden table to hold your half chicken meal and a fresh pint.


Appliances? What are those?

Again, you may want to take liberties here (especially since you have the fantasy element anyway), but try to make it as barebones as you can while still preserving functionality. This stone-lain set will fit right in.

Read more: Everything You Need to Know About Cast Iron Griddles

Decorative Objects

Let your fantasies run wild, especially with some dragon memorabilia!

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Can You Use the Medieval Fantasy Core In Your Business? Where Does It Work Best?

You can use the medieval fantasy core for the decor of your small business, but you may want to limit it to a craft store, restaurant, or bar (without getting into legal trouble with Medieval Times).

The ideas above, particularly the decorative sets and kitchenware, are certainly scalable. And, of course, if you deal in medieval tools and weaponry, this core will fit right in.

Check out this core in more depth with and discover: Is Medieval Interior Design Your New Aesthetic?


Goblincore takes that whole quaint and beautiful thing from cottagecore and basically throws it out the window. The whole point here is to embrace the things that people typically shun.

Here are a few Goblincore principles to live by:

  • Don’t match your clothes. Get them from a thrift store if you can, not a department store.
  • Just woke up? Leave your hair how it is.
  • Showers okay. A daily fresh shave? No thanks.

That’s not to say Goblincore means to just act gross all the time. Instead, it’s about taking typical rules about beauty and turning them on their head.

How Can You Surround Yourself With Goblin Vibes in Your Home?

Embrace the absurd. The whole point of this unique aesthetic is to give you the freedom to break out of the typical rules of decor.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Wall Colors

Brown is a sure bet, but keep it a lighter brown so it doesn’t drown out the rest of your decorations and furniture.

Dark wood paneling would do the job.

This coloring is meant to resemble an earthy feel.

Decorative Objects

Go nuts with houseplants; they can only help. The goal, especially in the places where you can really let a decor run wild like a bedroom, is to almost give your indoor space an outdoor, forestry feel.

You may also want to take this opportunity to adopt a pet frog or even a snake or snail. As eccentric as you’re feeling, however, we’d recommend keeping your new friend in a terrarium.

Additionally, if you’re the type of person that enjoys collecting and displaying random trinkets and found coins, this is the core for you.


Similar to the fashion of goblincore, this is the perfect opportunity to go thrift shopping. Even better, look online for a used couch and then an easy chair of a completely different color.

You could even put a weird painting in the bathroom or borderline dysfunctional appliances in the kitchen.

Have fun with it.

Can You Use Goblincore In Your Business? Where Does It Work Best?

Unless you own a craft store where you can truly promote this sort of artistic freedom, goblincore isn’t great for the aesthetic of your local business.

This core might drive away potential customers, and its lack of uniformity might feel less welcoming to those who do come in.

See also: Our Full Guide to Interior Design



No, that wasn’t a typo for steampunk.

The steelpunk aesthetic core takes that same love of the industrial and the mechanical and applies it to the 20th century instead of the 19th.

If you watched Iron Man and thought wearing that suit would be the best daily outfit ever, this is the unique aesthetic for you.

How Can You Metallicize Your Home Without Making it a Warehouse?

Thankfully, if you like steelpunk, you don’t need Tony Stark money. And honestly, his home decor wouldn’t quite fit this core all that much anyway. Think West Coast Customs or mancave here.

Paint your walls one or a mixture of the following colors:

  • Silver
  • Gray
  • Black

Or just leaving them plain white is fine.

Then bust out that ripped-up and faded Sears catalog for inspiration.

Is your basement unfinished?

Perfect! All that stainless steel ductwork and copper pipes will fit right in.


Here is where steelpunk becomes one of the most affordable cores. Think in terms of usefulness, not pretty like cottagecore. A metal drawer set will work great as a coffee table. An old steel workbench, that you’ve hopefully cleaned, is plenty strong to hold your family dinners.


Who needs a fancy Dyson vacuum when a shop vac works way better anyway?

The kitchen, in particular, is where you can let this unique aesthetic core shine. You don’t have to go old school, either.

Stainless steel is your friend.

Really elaborate ovens and refrigerators aren’t off the table here. Just make sure they’re more mechanical and less touchscreen.

Can You Use Steelpunk In Your Business? Where Does It Work Best?

Absolutely. If you are a machinist, why not build your shop in an ode to the love of your trade?
Similarly, metal sculptors can show off their talent to potential clients.

But steelpunk doesn’t have to be used in such an obvious way. If you own a bar, why not build it in the steelpunk style (with cushioned seats) to appeal to the hardworking, blue-collar business?

Make sure you know the basics before you pick your core! Check out: Sticking to Basic Design Principles in Your Apartment

Dark Academia

Don’t worry; nobody is checking your student ID here. The dark academia aesthetic core, however, has a profound appreciation for the liberal arts with emotional and deep undertones, especially 18th to 20th century.


  • Poetry
  • Literature
  • Philosophy

If you’re already an avid quoter of The Dead Poets Society, an intense reader of Harry Potter, and a wearer of all things blazer and elbow patches, you’ll definitely want to apply this core to your decor.

How Can You Combine A Classic and Gothic Ambiance In Your Home?

Two words: study and … study. To clarify, you’ll need a decor that is truly worthy of the arts you love to study.
But having a study as a room where you keep your books as a place to get lost in the theme is also a must. You can display classical art in your living spaces, but showing off all of your books in every room can become a bit of a fire hazard.


You’ll, of course, want darker colors for your walls and accompanying furniture.

A good start for paint would be one or more of the following:

  • Beige
  • Black
  • Burgundy
  • Forest green

But don’t forget to mix a little cream or dark orange in there.

For furniture like couches and bedspreads, you’ll want to stick to complementary colors, but not clashing. Plaid is a sure bet. You might consider thrifting, but keep things to at least a medium quality.

Decorative Objects

Colors can only go so far in the dark academia core, however. You need wall decorations beyond a bookshelf.

Some clever ideas to get you started include:

  • When hanging up a painting or picture, use an old-fashioned frame. These tend to be gold-colored. Oval-shaped is a plus.
  • Don’t limit yourself to pictures. Renaissance-era maps and sketches will fit right in.
  • No dark academia study is quite complete without an Old World-style globe. Those with a lighter sense of humor might appreciate this dual-use option that doubles as a bar.


Can You Use Dark Academia In Your Business? Where Does It Work Best?

The obvious answer here is a bookstore, where you can stretch your legs into this aesthetic core with both academic and fiction-based decor in a manner similar to the above.

While you’re at it, set up a café where philosopher friends and literary critics alike can compare notes and bounce around theories. What goes better with those conversations than teatime or a good old cup of joe?

Final Thoughts

Aesthetic cores no longer just define what you like to wear and what you like to do.

Now, thanks to the information above, you can bring your favorite unique aesthetic core to your home and/or small business and truly immerse yourself in the essence you love the most.

This won’t happen overnight, though; time to start designing and shopping!

Are you interested in even more aesthetics? Start here with our take on 1920s decor fundamentals!