Opposite Aesthetic of my Upcycle Project

For my upcycle project, I am emulating the Cottagecore aesthetic. Before discussing its opposite, I will first provide a summary of Cottagecore itself by restating this blurb from my first blog post:

“Cottagecore is an aesthetic that romanticizes simplistic, pretty, and quaint rural life. Individuals who adapt this aesthetic typically expand it to their lifestyles, valuing quiet, slower life and creating for themselves. Cooking, gardening, and crafting are common, as well as heightened disconnection from social media and fast-paced culture. Defining artistic aspects of cottagecore spaces include floral prints, bright colors, vibrant greenery, rustic wooden features or furniture, and different earthy stones, rocks, or crystals. Flowers and plants themselves typically scatter these cottagecore spaces, and elements are arranged in collage or mosaic fashions; the cottagecore aesthetic does not have harsh lines.”

These images by Natural Life(1) and SpaceWise(2) showcase cottagecore well, where patchwork clothing is included.


Naturally, the opposite of the cottagecore aesthetic must satisfy the opposite of all its elements. Artistically, the opposite would showcase neat, straight lines that create distinct shapes, not collages or mosaics. The colors would either be vibrant, electric neons or muted whites and grays, both unlike the soft, bright, natural, hues of cottagecore. While there would be no emphasis on nature, technology and societal advancement as a whole would thrive; self-supporting, individualistic, and simple production would not be included. If I had to define this opposite as another existing aesthetic, I would choose Minimalist or Neon City.

The minimalist aesthetic is defined by a lack of clutter and colors. It has shaped both home architecture and decor. The following images from Architectural Digest(3) and Hunker(4) portray this aesthetic.


The Neon City aesthetic, sometimes called Cyberpunk, incorporates vibrant and bold neon colors. This aesthetic “comes alive” at night, where city life and excitement seem to glow. The following digital artwork by PrintPlexArt(5) showcases this aesthetic.

For my upcycling project itself, I am making a decorative piece that will hang from my apartment’s ceiling. It will be a three-tiered combination of a wooden shelf storage display, a hanging plant-holder adorned in patchwork fabric, and a floral art piece entitled “Floating Bits of Life.” The following image is my overall vision for the project.

When pondering how I might integrate the opposite aetsthics into my project, my mind first jumps to shapes and colors. Materials wise, I have already acquired wood to create the top tier. Differing from my intended design (see my third blog post), I could shape this element to be rectangular with sharp edges to align more with the minimalist aesthetic. I could also use a singular white fabric to make the hanging pot as opposed to including patchwork. However, I do not want to incorporate these changes; they would weaken the original aesthetic too much. Regarding the Neon City aesthetic, my project could be adorned with battery-powered LED light strips, where the battery casing rests hidden within whatever houseplant I put in the hanging pot. These lights could be turned on when the sun goes down, and are thus a feasible way to achieve two aesthetics: Cottagecore by day and a Neon City by night. The lights pictured below are $7.99(6), and could be hidden and sealed onto the underside of the shelf and hanging pot, emitting a neon glow. 

If I can successfully include these LED lights without inflicting my project’s Cottagecare aesthetic, I definitely will. I have ordered the lights, and will make use of them regardless. 


  1. Natural Life, 2024, https://www.naturallife.com/products/zoe-wide-leg-jumpsuit-mandala-patchwork?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=NLE_US_pMAX_2302_Sleeveless_Jumpsuits_Feed_Only&utm_id=Cj0KCQiAn-2tBhDVARIsAGmStVnV3Sp3rOPEd4MxglXyHl9fhuvURed-qfp8RLqK7RiQeIAFmvAgWpYaAqltEALw_wcB&utm_term=&utm_content=&gad_source=1&gclid=Cj0KCQiAn-2tBhDVARIsAGmStVnV3Sp3rOPEd4MxglXyHl9fhuvURed-qfp8RLqK7RiQeIAFmvAgWpYaAqltEALw_wcB
  2. SpaceWise, 2023, https://www.extraspace.com/blog/home-organization/how-to-design-a-cottagecore-style-home/
  3. Katherine McLaughlin, Architectural Digest, 2023, https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/minimalist-interior-design-101
  4. Stephen Paul for Hunker, 2024, https://www.hunker.com/13726024/minimalist-house-characteristics
  5. Etsy, PrintPlexArt, Listed 2023, https://www.etsy.com/listing/1446651115/cyberpunk-neon-city-scape-digital-print

Amazon Prime. MaxLax EL Wire Pink, 9.8ft/3m Portable Battery Pack Neon Lights Strip 360° Cuttable Glowing Rope Lights for Parties, Halloween, DIY Decoration. 2024. https://www.amazon.com/MaxLax-Reduction-Electroluminescent-Halloween-Decoration/dp/B08FCBY9JR/ref=asc_df_B08FCBY9JR/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=459539772142&hvpos=&hvnetw

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Cole Metcalf
    May 8, 2024 7:35 am

    I Sarah love the ideas and I was thinking that the city, modernism also applies to something that could be opposite to cottage aesthetic

  • Interesting to see, Sarah! I would agree that something modern like minimalism is the antithesis of cottage-core. It seems like the addition of the lights, that your original project may become dual-aesthetic (cottagecore/neon city). Perhaps you are creating a brand-new “Sarah” aesthetic ?


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