Some of you may be wondering- What is Dark Academia? The dark academia aesthetic is a design trend that is spreading on TikTok and Instagram. It evokes those feelings you may have experienced watching movies like Harry Potter, Sherlock, or The Dead Poet’s Society. Some of those movies and books are so alluring, they make you want to sell everything and devote your life to studying literature at Oxford University. Some people out there have the goal of transforming their bedroom, dorm room, or entire apartment into a Dark Academia paradise just so they can feel encapsulated in that atmosphere. Here at Inspiring Home, we’ll go over some tips on how to do exactly that.
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10. Gather an Antique Book Collection
One of the most common things you see in the Dark Academia aesthetic is a library full of antique books. When you look online, book dealers usually want to charge a lot for individual volumes, especially if they are first edition. However, you can get amazingly beautiful antique books for very cheap. A couple years ago, I made money by reselling antique books on Etsy and eBay. It was always easy for me to find amazing books at my local stores, and I have a beautiful collection of my own. Check out your local antique mall or co-op. Also look at your local Goodwill, where hardcover books are just $1 each. For specific volumes, check out Amazon. A book that would look great in a Dark Academia section is The Occult Book, if you want to learn more about the history of magic and alchemy.
9. Leather Furniture
There is something timeless about leather furniture. It has been used in the western world for a few hundred years. In some of the most prestigious gentlemen’s clubs and academic circles in England, men would gather to read in plush leather chairs. Laying back in a comfortable leather chair is ideal to read, watch movies, or take a nap. When it’s well cared for with leather cleaner and conditioner, this is furniture can last a lifetime. When it’s brand new, leather furniture can be expensive. However, there are plenty of pieces available at thrift stores, Ikea, and even on Facebook Groups. If you’re a vegan, faux leather works just as well to achieve the Dark Academia aesthetic.
8. Gather a Vintage Wardrobe
If you’re in a situation where you can’t realistically give your space a Dark Academia makeover, another way to achieve the aesthetic is through your wardrobe. Button-down shirts, suspenders, and other vintage styles can be found almost anywhere. Visit your local thrift store, or even consider raiding your grandparent’s closet! This has a lot of crossover with Grandmacore, which is the celebration of wearing clothes that you’d imagine a grandmother wearing. A lot of people also make themselves look more bookish by wearing black eyeglasses frames, even if their eyesight is perfectly fine.
7. Embrace Your Academic Side
As the name suggests, Dark Academia is all about embracing an academic lifestyle. If you’re still in school, this is easy enough. Simply study more for your classes, and get lost in the world of knowledge. If you’re older and have graduated, start exploring some topics you have always been interested in. These academic pursuits can also translate into home decor items. For example, if you love astronomy, you might want to purchase a brass orrery. If you like botany, you may want to buy a glass terrarium. The sky is the limit. Get creative, and figure out a way to make your objects match what you love.
6. European Style Decor
A lot of the Dark Academia style is inspired by 19th and early 20th Century England, so it only makes sense to look back at that time for inspiration. The Sherlock Holmes Museum in London is a perfect example of a fully Dark Academia home. Browse through historic photographs of how people lived in the Victorian era. There may be elements of style that you never paid attention to before. If you’re interested in this style, check out the channel Farmhouse Vernacular, where a woman strives to restore her 1905 farmhouse to look exactly as it did over 100 years ago.
5. Display Antiques While Decorating in the Dark Academia Aesthetic
A great way to feel as though you have been transported to a different place and time is by displaying antiques. Aim to collect objects that evoke the sense of Dark Academia, but align with your interests. Remember that even if you’re obsessed with the aesthetic right now, your taste may change over time. So always choose objects that you’ll want to keep forever. For example, I have a collection of apothecary bottles. They were dug out of the ground, and a few of them have changed into an aqua blue color. I’ve kept those bottles through a few different decor makeovers, and one day, I hope to put them in my future house.
4. Use Wooden Furniture
Years ago, all furniture was made out of wood. There was no particle board packed in a box from Ikea. Carpenters cut and assembled the wood, while craftsmen engraved wood for hours upon end to make something beautiful. Wooden furniture last for years, and is often passed down from generation to generation. Chances are that your parents or grandparents can give you wooden furniture. Or, you can easily find it at a thrift store. If you have one in your local area, check out The Habitat For Humanity Restore. They have locations across the United States, and usually have a great selection of furniture.
3. Show Your Appreciation For The Arts
If you like Dark Academia, it’s likely because you have an artistic soul. So why not show off your taste in fine art? This can be accomplished by buying a coffee table book, like Van Gogh The Complete Paintings. Or, you can find a poster or print of your favorite painting to hang in your dorm room or bedroom. Of course, your artwork doesn’t have to look old purely for the sake of capturing the aesthetic. Find something you truly enjoy, so that you can keep it for years to come.
2. Create a Space to Enjoy the Peace of Solitude
With everything going on in the world, a lot more people are spending time alone with their thoughts. This can be scary for some people. But fans of Dark Academia are most likely loving their ability to read books all day and night without and social obligations. Wherever you live, try to create a space where you can hide away. This might be a window seat, a comfortable lounge chair, or a secret door hidden behind a bookshelf. Obviously, there are limits to what we can do here in the real world. But prioritize your “me” time, and practice self-care.
1. Seek Inspiration From Literature
Last but not least is that you should consider finding inspiration from Dark Academia literature. For example, if you read The Complete Sherlock Holmes, you may find yourself wanting to decorate your apartment like what you see in the TV series Sherlock. Or if you read or watch Howl’s Moving Castle, you might find yourself wanting to fill your home with magical Witchcore inspired items. The next time you re-read or watch any of your favorite stories, keep a notebook (or the notepad app) nearby and make a list of all the things you’re attracted to, and want in your own home.