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The Underground Trends & Aesthetics of 2021: Cabincore, Cottagecore, Grandma Chic, Grandmillenial & Irregular Shapes

Looking at the title, you may or may not have heard some of these terms. In the internet age, it’s hard to pin down any original creator or gatekeeper of...

Looking at the title, you may or may not have heard some of these terms. In the internet age, it’s hard to pin down any original creator or gatekeeper of any idea with multiple platforms, morphing usernames, dead source links and evolving definitions and interpretations. From the depths of Tik Tok and Tumblr, the aesthetics of Cottagecore and Cabincore emerged... or were at least nudged toward mainstream daylight.

I’ll explain some of these aesthetic ideas and share which Hickory Hardware collections embody these concepts while drumming up some moodboards to get the creative vibe check going. Cabincore and Cottagecore are more about its visual principles and idyllic aspirations than about ascribing to any one look or set of material things. 

Fashion plays a powerful role as a form of outward self expression in these aesthetic archetypes and in kind, can influence how one lives and decorates their life to mirror these aesthetics as well as how an individual may wish to curate a kindling to these ideas online through showcasing their Instagram or Tumblr feed. These evolving aesthetics are fluid and can be mixed with one another to personalize your own design style.


By Marvin Kuhr

Cabincore is a visual aesthetic that romanticizes cabin life. It idealizes a quiet and slower-paced lifestyle far removed from bustling cities. It emphasizes peaceful, cozy and symbiotic living amongst wild nature. Key motifs include cabins and campfires, nature, such as overgrown moss, mushrooms and forests. 


In fashion, key pieces like comfortable warm knits, oversized vintage sweaters and cardigans, plaids and corduroy overalls are emblematic of Cabincore. Key colors are derived from nature.  The Cabincore palette closely aligns with our predictions for 2021 trends for color, including all shades of naturalistic greens like olive and sage, terracotta, burnt oranges and browns.



Here are a few Hickory Hardware collections for your consideration that could fall within the comfy and cozy Cabincore aesthetic and a few words on why they were chosen.

Cabins are warm, inviting and quaint. Their construction often emphasizes natural exposed materials like wood and stone. These rustic elements are echoed in the leather strap pulls of the Bradford collection and in the hammered and primitive texturing in collections like Bedrock, Craftsman and Mountain Lodge. Pipeline lends an exposed industrial look while Old Mission reminds me of door hardware on old abandoned dwellings overtaken by nature. If you’re not knee-deep into the rustic look, a clean black cup pull or knobs from Modus would also work.

Featured Collections:

Honorable Mentions:




Cottagecore, also known as Farmcore and Countrycore, takes inspiration from westernized agricultural lifestyles. At a glance, Countrycore may seem closely related to Cabincore in that they both show an appreciation for synergetic living with mother nature and a simpler way of life far from developed cities, however Cottagecore is more closely aligned to an idealized domestic rustic farm life than middle-of-the-woods cabin life. Key motifs for Cottagecore include cottages, gardens, picnics, wildflowers, woven baskets and baking.


This distinction between Cottagecore and Cabincore is perhaps more visually divided in marked fashion choices. Cottagecore fashion pieces may include clothing that feature billowy sleeves and ruffles, dresses with dainty floral prints, long flowy fabrics, modest square necklines, gingham pattern and naturalistic colors like off-white, cream and beiges with an injection of soft pastels like pale yellow and pink, muted blues and greens. These are my selections for the Cottagecore aesthetic:

Pieces from the Charleston Blacksmith collection, especially the knob featured above (and also this one) remind me a lot of how intricately pies, breads and pretzels can be decorated and made. While French Country knobs look like a traditional clothing button. For a subtle elegant Cottagecore glam look, Conquest would look amazing in the polished brass finish with a white farmhouse sink or carrara marble backsplash. Those wanting a more rustic look can opt for other available finishes in the Conquest collection like Luster Brass and Veneti Bronze. Tranquility is perhaps the embodiment of the Cottagecore look with its country style forms and floral print. The porcelain look also adds a unique charm not often found in cabinet hardware offerings. For an updated look, Veranda cup pulls lend modern beauty rooted in classical silhouettes.

Featured Collections:

Honorable Mentions:

Grandma Chic, Grandmillennial


Grandma Chic or Grandmillenial style is essentially your stereotyped classic and stuffy western Grandma-style decor funneled out, edited and tailored through the lens of a contemporary millennial’s modern interpretation. Bits like floral wallpaper, fine china, colorful and highly decorative botanical and chinoiserie prints and decadent upholstery and window dressings all mash together to create visual maximalism. Its pattern on pattern, bold color upon bold color, traditional styling with a twist.

Louis Brown Interiors

With careful editing, this Grandma Chic style can in fact be more clean and restful like the example below using a restrictive color palette and plenty of negative space and non-patterned surfaces.

Lulu and Georgia

Aimee Wilder

In the bathroom design above, a busy wallpaper is relaxed a bit by the flat white sink and solid colored cabinets and door. In the home below, areas rich with pattern and color give way to calmer areas in the home that are simpler and show more restraint.

Louis Brown Interiors

The hardware selections for the Grandma Chic/Grandmillenial style are rooted in traditional motifs, elaborate patterns and shapes both in antiqued and polished finishes reminiscent of fine silverware. Cavalier, Manor House, Mayfair and Roma have all the hallmarks of what I’d attribute to a posh grandma, fancy and highly embellished designs with ornate details all over that remind me of old brooches, heirloom jewelry and furniture, clawfoot tubs and decorative finials. Chelsea is like the metropolitan version of a grandma, living perhaps in a tastefully restored Brooklyn Brownstone in New York with a knob design that looks like a gift thoughtfully wrapped in ribbon. 

Featured Collections:

Honorable Mentions:

Irregular and Wonky Shapes

For the minimalists and maximalists out there, there is something for you in incorporating organic and fluid soft shapes in the home. In contrast to the hard lines and perfect right-angles of furniture and architecture of the early 2000s and 2010s, we’ve been seeing an emergence in the popularization of arches, curved serpentine furniture that continues to be elevated further in taking non-traditionally irregular shaped things like mirrors and transforming them into organic shapes. Literal depictions in sculpture and art are being redefined into more abstract forms and patterns that may not perfectly repeat like in the case with terrazzo and custom tiles.

Design by Bells & Whistles for Marrow Fine

Above we see a juxtaposition of perfect and imperfect forms playing together. The perfect channelling of the left wall and simple symmetry and clean lines of the conversation set on the right (chairs and table) with a curved and asymmetrical display case (center) with irregular mirrors and large-scale terrazzo flooring. Below, artist Alex Proba redefines what tile can be and how to mix and match patterns on a stairway.

Tile Design by Alex Proba

Meanwhile the studio of ceramicist Simone Bodmer-Turner is transformed to reflect her work, full of fluid and unexpected curves.

Studio of ceramicist Simone Bodmer-Turner

Mainstream brands have also been taking note with Zara Home and Ferm Living creating their own versions of irregularly shaped mirrors.

Large Irregular Mirror by Zara Home

Pond Mirror - Large by Ferm Living

Amy Kim

Believe it or not, even baby changing pads like the Keekaroo Peanut Changer can take on the irregular aesthetic (the beige wavy thing above the white wardrobe above) and some lesser known designs like the Lampampe fully embrace this irregular aesthetic:

Lampampe by Ingo Maurer

Then there’s abstraction and irregular shapes in fashion and textiles like oversized scrunchies from Bronze Age (indie) and Kristin Ess (mainstream, Target) and in home decor in cushion cover patterns and blankets.

Luster Organza Scrunchie by A Bronze Age

Hazelwood Throw by Slowdown Studio

Design by Alex Proba

These are the Hickory Hardware collections chosen for their innate variability or symmetry, which would contrast well with irregular shapes:

The Willow collection has organic and atypical forms, the knob has just the right balance of symmetry and variability to add a touch of movement while some pieces in the Metropolis collection like the pull featured above are wholly irregular in shape. If you intend to incorporate irregular shapes in the form of art or patterned textiles, hardware from the Maven collection can help to provide a grounding sense of symmetry within the design while Woodward’s bowtie profile adds a touch of playfulness but remains very balanced. 

Featured Collections:

Honorable Mentions:

We can’t wait to see how these trends will evolve throughout 2021. If you have any moodboards or projects to share, tag us @hickoryhardware for a chance to be featured! Throughout this post, I have been assisted by the informative articles and comments on the Aesthetics Wiki as well as using resources from pngtoast and trash pngs to help create the moodboards.


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