The summer of 2022 just might be the summer of Barbie. From the photo of Ryan Gosling as Ken on the set of Greta Gerwig's upcoming live action film, to Mattel celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Barbie Dreamhouse, America's favorite doll is more popular than ever.
Debuting in 1959, Barbie dolls have been on the forefront of fashion and design trends for over six decades. The original Barbie is known for her long, blonde hair and colorful outfits, and her Dreamhouse — a three-floor mansion with hot pink water slides, lilac floors, and yellow chairs — is straight out of a pastel lover's fantasy. Riding the wave of '90s/early-2000s pop culture resurgence brought on by TikTok, Barbiecore — an aesthetic that evokes the bold, bright spirit of the iconic doll — is the home decor trend of the summer.
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The Barbiecore aesthetic shares similarities with other viral trends, such as carnivalcore and whimsigothic. Like carnivalcore, it's playful and celebratory, with bold colors and shapes, but it's less eccentric. Like the whimsigothic look, it embraces a nostalgic, early-2000s brand of femininity, but it's sunnier, without a hint of moodiness.
At its heart, Barbiecore is just like its namesake doll: colorful, fun, and a joy to be around. Hallmarks of the aesthetic include hot pink; accents in aqua, lilac, and gold; large-scale floral prints; and scallop or heart motifs. Take the bathroom above, designed by Jay of Paint the Town Pastel, as inspiration. The blush and robin's egg blue color scheme feels straight out of a vintage Barbie Dreamhouse, while the clawfoot tub and scalloped wall look both glamorous and playful.
Ready to create your very own dream house? Here are a few ways to incorporate the Barbiecore aesthetic into your home.
1. Embrace hot pink.
Hot pink is Barbie's signature color, and it can go a long way to make your home feel as vibrant and stylish as the doll herself. In the living room above, designed by Heidi of @home_n_tidy_with_heidi, hot pink throw pillows anchor the space and are perfectly matched with the orchids in the background. Varying shades of pink, from pale to blush to fuchsia, are layered to cultivate a dreamy vibe, while the leopard planters infuse energy into the room.
2. Add a retro floral motif.
What better way to evoke the '60s, the decade in which Barbie came of age, than with some retro floral prints? This adorable bathroom designed by Dani Dazey shows how it's done: The bold, pastel floral wallpaper contrasts nicely with the blush accent wall and adds a sense of whimsy. The striped floor mat provides visual movement, and the gold details like the faucet and light fixtures tie the room together.
3. Hang bright neon art.
Decorating your home with neon art is a great way to add pops of color. Just look at this bedroom designed by Kate Rose Morgan: The eye-catching neon piece on the wall highlights the floral theme of the room, complementing the fresh flowers as well as the throw pillow and the bedside table. The gingham bedding and shell-shaped cushion, both in pink, provide the finishing touches.
4. Create a pastel palette.
Even if pink isn't your thing, you can still achieve the Barbiecore look with a soft pastel palette. This kitchen designed by Jay of Paint the Town Pastel is dreamy as can be — the mint green cabinets paired with off-white walls create a refreshing, summery look, while the bright yellow barstools offer visual balance. The ice cream print brings just the right amount of playfulness, and the light purple kitchen island back panel softens the room.
5. Play with scallop motifs.
This bedroom designed by Sarah of Tropicali Haven shows just how effective scalloped details are in making a space feel cheerful and stylish. The scalloped, shell-shaped throw pillow in bright aqua is a delightful accent piece, and the cream chair with scalloped back is an effective visual anchor amid the pastel palette. Scalloped items not only create the illusion that the pool is right outside of your door, but they also evoke one of the most iconic Barbie dolls — the mermaid Barbie.
6. Display large, leafy plants.
In addition to fresh flowers and floral motifs, large, leafy plants are a great way to elevate your Barbiecore home. In this bedroom designed by Kelly Marcelo, the pink bed sheet and scalloped headboard bring home the Barbiecore vibe, while the monstera and dracaena plants in the corner provide plenty of visual interest. Add a few trailing plants for extra movement and variety.
7. Mix in gold accents.
To infuse energy into your pastel home, consider adding gold accents. Jay of Paint the Town Pastel shows us how with this bedroom — the light fixture and floor-length mirror provide grounding for the color scheme, and the striped throw pillow manages to make the room feel grown-up while still capturing Barbiecore's celebratory spirit.
8. Go for high-gloss finishes.
Colorful, high-gloss finishes can be key to creating the dreamlike look of the Barbiecore aesthetic. This kitchen by V of The Electric Penguin has it all: bright neon art, a saturated pastel palette, and high-shine fixtures like the cabinets in mint green and hot pink dishwasher and refrigerator. Even the kettle on the stove is glossy and pink — the attention to detail makes this space a dream for Barbiecore enthusiasts.
9. Add fresh flowers.
What's more vibrant than a bouquet of fresh flowers? To really capture the essence of Barbiecore, go for bouquets with focal flowers that are pink, red, or purple, and white filler flowers. Just look at this living room designed by Danielle Tullo La Testa — the bouquet adds variety to the neutral palette and pairs nicely with the botanical wallpaper. To give the space some edge, display a few cushions with bold animal prints.
10. Decorate with whimsical artwork.
Barbiecore decor is all about celebrating the sweeter things in life, and this pink home office designed by Sophia of This Colourful Nest shows us how fanciful artwork can help achieve the look. The ice cream-themed wall art highlights the playful nature of the space. The pastel color scheme, soft textures, and fun shapes — like the curved desk and pegboards, scalloped trash can, and origami-inspired pendant light — all work together to help the room exude joy and happiness.
11. Work with bold prints.
With her iconic style and boundless optimism, Barbie encourages us to have fun and live life to the fullest. And what's more joyful than colorful prints? This vibrant bathroom designed by V of The Electric Penguin shows us how bold wallpapers can transform a space. The pink shell-print wall covering is peak Barbiecore, while the pebbled shapes on the terrazo-patterned floor bring the seaside straight into your home. The blue and white tiles in the shower will make you feel like you're frolicking in the ocean.