When it comes to home decor, we’ve got a lot of -core’s. Cottagecore. Bloomcore. Naturecore. And now a style that’s pretty much the candy-colored antithesis of all of the above: Barbiecore. That’s right: it’s richly colored and irreverently retro in a way that’s taken fashion and home design by storm. If you thought this aesthetic was limited to the runway and hyper-enthusiastic TikTok trend spotters… think again. The engine’s revving, and this hot pink convertible is ready to ride.

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Barbiecore Design by Maureen Stevens
Design by Maureen Stevens. Photo by Nicole Mlakar.

Okay, So What Is Barbiecore Design?

Unlike some more historically nuanced styles out there, Barbiecore is… pretty much exactly what you’d expect, at least to start. In the fashion world, it references an almost early 2000’s nostalgia with a hint of 80’s sunny SoCal fantasy—picture Paris Hilton with a Razr phone at the Grove or Elle Woods applying to Harvard, and you start to get the picture. But now it’s also become more high fashion, in the spirit of Kim Kardashian in head-to-toe hot pink Balenciaga (or Christine Quinn, if you’re more of a Selling Sunset stan, who herself couldn’t be more Barbiecore if she tried). 

As with many fashion trends, Barbiecore has swiftly found its way into home decor, in the form of glossy materials, curvy edges, and pink everything. It’s a haven for lots of 80’s and 90’s pieces, which are truly having a moment across every design style. And yes, there’s a certain girliness to it with so much pink, but it’s not done in a child-like way: it’s more Memphis Movement meets Postmodernism, but with a twist of fun—and tongue planted firmly in cheek.

Design by Elizabeth Pash Interiors and Antiques. Photo by Karyn Millet.

Do I Have to Go All In on Barbiecore Design?

As with all design trends, you can dip your toe into Barbiecore without diving fully in (after all, we don’t all have supporting-character lifeguard boyfriends at the ready in real life). You can play with elements of the aesthetic, which itself references other styles from the 20th century, especially if your home features pieces from different eras. “It’s about feminine silhouettes with frills and fringe combined with an array of edgier, very 1980’s pieces, like pink laminate case pieces and Sottsass, Memphis-inspired accents,” says Chairish VP of Merchandising, Noel Fahden Briceño. “It’s a look that feels nostalgic in more ways than one.”

Design by Amanda Reynal Interiors. Photo by Rick Lozier.

How Do I Incorporate Barbiecore Design?

Again, you don’t necessarily have to go all in on Barbiecore to enjoy some of the fun of the moment it’s having. Very few people start with an all-pink color scheme when creating the home of their dreams, their Dre… umm… let’s say “Fantasy House.” You can pick and choose the elements that work for you.

Our very own Noel has some tips for those looking to incorporate some Barbiecore design into their spaces:

  • Add playful, curvy furniture. 
  • Pick a focal point, like a piece of furniture. I recommend going with a fabulous pink laminate casepiece. 
  • Mix light, playful bubblegum pinks with deeper berry tones and raspberries to make this look feel a little more elevated. 
  • Experiment. If you’re not ready to dive head first into Barbiecore, that’s ok. You don’t have to paint a whole room pink; incorporate various shades through decorative pieces like art, vases and pillows. 

So whether you’re all in for Barbiecore or just want to pick it up and play with it for a bit, there’s something for every design lover to try. 

Lead image: Design by Summer Thornton. Photo by Josh Thornton.

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August 2, 2022

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