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Trend Insight: Dark Academia

Trend Insight: Dark Academia

Dark Academia is a design trend that has gained popularity in recent years, drawing inspiration from classic literature, traditional academic aesthetics, and a touch of gothic elements. This style emerged from the broader “academia” aesthetic, which romanticizes education and learning, often depicted in films and literature set in prestigious universities and old libraries.

What is Dark Academia?

Dark Academia focuses on a moody, intellectual atmosphere, often incorporating a color palette of deep browns, blacks, and greys, with occasional touches of rich colors like burgundy or forest green. This style emphasizes a blend of classic and gothic elements, creating an ambience of mystery and sophistication.


The Dark Academia aesthetic originated in the realms of social media and fashion, particularly on platforms like Tumblr and Instagram. It was heavily influenced by literature and films that depict the life of academia, such as “Dead Poets Society” and “The Secret History” by Donna Tartt. The trend also draws inspiration from classical architecture, literature, and traditional academic environments.

Dark Academia in Interior Design

In interior design, Dark Academia translates to creating spaces that feel like old libraries, study rooms, or traditional university halls. It often includes:

  • Dark, rich color schemes
  • Vintage or antique furniture
  • An emphasis on books and literary decor
  • Gothic architectural elements
  • Layered textures like wood, leather, and wool
  • Typical Features of Dark Academia Design
  • Rich, Dark Colors: Walls painted in deep greens, navy, or charcoal, creating a cozy and introspective atmosphere.
  • Book-Filled Spaces: Shelves laden with books, old tomes, and literary accessories.
  • Antique Furniture: Pieces that evoke a sense of history and timelessness.
  • Layered Textures: Rugs, tapestries, and upholstery in natural materials like leather and wool.
  • Classical Decor: Artifacts like globes, antique maps, and framed classical art.

Five Tips to Achieve the Look

  1. Incorporate Dark Paints and Wallpapers: Choose deep, moody colors or patterns for walls.
  2. Curate a Book Collection: Display books prominently, preferably in vintage or classic styles.
  3. Select Time-Honored Furniture: Opt for pieces that look like they have a story to tell.
  4. Add Atmospheric Lighting: Use table lamps and candles for a soft, warm glow.
  5. Decorate with Classical Accents: Incorporate elements like busts, vintage globes, or framed old manuscripts.

Is it here to stay?

Dark Academia, as a design trend, has a timeless appeal due to its roots in classic literature and traditional aesthetics. While its popularity might fluctuate, the trend is likely to remain a niche favorite for those drawn to its intellectual, moody ambiance. It may evolve, blending with other styles or adapting to modern tastes, but its core elements are likely to endure in interior design circles.


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