How to Decorate Dark Academia Style

How to Decorate Dark Academia Style

Suzanne Anderson
6 minute read

The Dark Academia design style romanticises education, in the form of literary classics, letter writing, and the art movement & views learning as something exciting, provocative, and mysterious.
This sub-culture has expanded into a covetable lifestyle movement, expressed through its rich & moody colour palette, gothic architecture & nostalgic decor, combined with a preppy twist.



Dark Academia Style Colour Palette

The foundation of this style is the dark & sumptuous colour palette of ink black, earthy brown, charcoal, navy blue, forest green, and deep burgundy.
These are contrasted with cream, gold, and muted orange tones in decor and textiles.
For more ideas on decorating with a dark colour palette, we recommend you watch our video on how to decorate in a black colour palette. 

Dark Academia Colour Palette

Photo Source: Alice Lane Interior Design

Dark Academia Style Architecture

Dark academia's greatest influence includes the Renaissance, Baroque, and Romanticism eras. Architectural characteristics include large glass windows, pointed arches, rib vaults, flying buttresses, wall paneling, and ornate decorations.
Internally, you will find secret staircases, nooks, and crannies, with alcoves converted into quiet reading and writing corners.
Communal areas are framed by generous marble or timber fireplaces. 

Dark Academia Arcghitecture

Photo Source: Houzz & GP Schafer

Dark Academia Style Flooring

Flooring options feature aged oak wood and reclaimed timber floorboards in kitchen and living spaces. These are either in a rich brown, or dark stained finish.
Both large or small matt black hexagon tiles can be seen in bathrooms, laundries, and mud rooms, crafted from ceramic or marble. 
These are softened by oversize heavy jute area rugs or Persian or Turkish-style rugs in rich burgundy, navy, or forest greens.

Dark Academia Flooring

Photo Source: Perspective Studios

Dark Academia Style Lighting

When it comes to lighting, special emphasis is placed on the quality of light.
This style steers away from harsh overhead lighting, instead opting for warm, iridescent candlelight, table candelabras, and grander chandeliers.
Low-level lighting and task lighting are also prioritised, casting a beautiful glow on the timber furniture and books. These include slender brass, bronze, wrought iron, or wooden table and floor lamps, with textural linen shades.
Mantels and bookshelves can be framed by classic baroque-style wall sconces and any overhead lights should come with dimmers to adjust the ambience. 
Dark Academia ArtworkPhoto Source: Sean Anderson DesignDark Academia Lighting

Photo Source: Suzie Anderson Home

Dark Academia

Photo Source: House and Garden

Dark Academia Style Window Treatments

Window treatments include heavy-weight silk, flax linen, or velvet drapes.
To offer the illusion of a higher ceiling and added grandeur, curtain rods can be hung closer to the ceiling to draw the eye up. 

Dark Academia Curtains

Photo Source: Pexels

Darl Academia Style Furniture

Dark academia features a foundation of richly stained wooden furniture to reinforce the moody & cosy aesthetic.
Key pieces include a rich & stately mahogany desk, an antique library table, slender consoles, flooring-to-ceiling bookcases with ladders, and built-in open cabinetry.
Dark Academia Bookshelf

Photo Source: Albion Nord

These are complemented by tufted upholstered ottomans, chaise lounges, footstools in living rooms, high-back armchairs, and studded leather chesterfield sofas, trunks, and upholstered occasional chairs. 

Bedroom furniture may include a four-poster bed, or gothic-style wooden bedhead with detailed carvings, as well as a dark chest of drawers, storage trunk, and bedside tables with aged brass hardware. 

Gp Schafer Dark Academia

Photo Source: GP Schafer

Dark Academia furniture

Photo Source: Kara Childress

Dark Academia Style Texture and Materials

Bring a preppy warmth into living and bedroom spaces with decorative monogrammed cushions, tweed and plaid blankets, velvet throws, and chunky wool knits.
Bedding is textural, plush, and layered, featuring heavy duvets, comforters, quilts, and bedspreads in navy, deep green, cream, ochre, or charcoals.
Dark leather, black marble, and deep mahogany feature heavily in furniture and decor and are prized for their vintage, weathered, and aged appeal.
For touches of lustre, hardware is made from blackened steel, iron, bronze, nickel, or an antique gold finish.

Architectural DIgest Dark Academia

Photo Source: Architectural Digest

Dark Academia Style Artwork & Mirrors

Entryways, hallways, and living spaces are adorned with beautiful artwork, classic mirrors, and sculptural pieces.
Wall art consists of vintage floral and botanical illustrations, old oil portraits, and paintings exhibiting religious mythology, classic motifs, and anatomical studies.
You can even create your own artwork, by framing hand-written calligraphy, pressed botanicals, newspaper cut-outs, or old maps, in sleek black or vintage gilt frames. 
Ornately framed Gothic, Victorian, or Baroque-style mirrors are positioned above mantels, in dining rooms, or at home libraries. At the same time, an old clock creates a focal point in kitchens and living spaces.
Lastly, interweave a few sculptures, statues, and small busts made from stone, resin, or iron to complete the old-world look. 

Dark Academia Artwork

Photo Source: Sean Anderson Design

Perspective Studio Dark Academia

Photo Source: Perspective Studios

Dark Academia Style Home Decor

Dark academia works to create intrigue and evoke a sense of nostalgia through its maximalist approach to decor.
For something loved, include items that cater to the literary focus, such as generous collections of aged paper and leather-bound books, an old globe, a vintage typewriter, ink pots, calligraphy brushes, paperweights, and magnifying glasses.
Other items include:
  • Plaid & tweed caps.
  • Leather suitcases.
  • Coat stands.
  • Umbrella holders.
  • Old brooches.

Cary the dark and moody aesthetic into your storage and stationery, with leather document boxes and trays, fine felt-tip pens, desk blotters, quills, book folders, leather photo frames, and stitched plaid laptop cases. 

For lustre, include large glass domes and display cases, vintage crowns, bust head candles, groupings of slender candleholders, bronze or brass animal figurines, glass apothecary jars, votives & sign holders. 


Dark Academia Decor

Photo Source: Perspective Studios & Pexels

Dark Academia Home Decor

Photo Source: Suzie Anderson Home

Dark Academia Style Living Energy

Showcase natural found specimens such as coral, shells and dried botanicals in bookcases, open-cabinetry and on coffee tables.
Contrast the darker backdrop with fresh greenery of fiddle leaf figs, ficus, trailing vines, propagated succulents and dried flowers in small glass jars and vases. 

Dark Academia Plants

Photo Source: Pexels

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