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Trend Focus: Dark Academia

Trend Focus: Dark Academia

Ana Zuravliova

By Ana Zuravliova

Trend Specialist at Blinds Direct
Thu 30 Jun 2022

Dark Academia is a design trend that became popular throughout 2021, and continues to take the world by storm to this very day. But what is it exactly? Well, think the spirit of Hogwarts but with more of a sophisticated style, elegance and less of the cobweb clad robes and monsters.

The secret history of dark academia

The inspiration behind Dark Academia comes from a range of sources, including Gothic and Greek architecture (think Oxbridge meets Tim Burton), a moody twist on preppy clothing, and 19th Century literature influences such as Mary Shelley and Arthur Conan Doyle.

It is a design style that combines a fantasy inspired, moody aesthetic with that of old English academia. Imagine a space filled with leather bound books, calligraphy fountain pens, and trailing plants encased in a room painted in dark colours such as, blacks, rich dark greens, and anthracites. Dark academia spaces tend to feature large bookcases in dark oaks – or that have been painted black – and antique items for individuality. There is often a spattering’s of taxidermy, alongside Grecian busts, and Zoological prints too.

This is definitely a design style for those who enjoy mystery and academia rolled into one. We have to admit, it is an interior style that we love!

Dark academia colours

Traditionally speaking, when it comes to creating a dark academia look, black paint is used across the walls, creating a cosy calming atmosphere. That said, if the use of black on the walls is a step out of your comfort zone then you could consider using it as part of furniture or soft furnishings. A scattering of black cushions or heavy curtains, can be just as impactful as black walls. For many, any use of black can be too. If this is something you are concerned about, then swapping out black for another rich dark colour, such as anthracite or a deep forest green, will work just as well. All these colours lend themselves perfectly to the dark academia style.

The use of dark colours has a strong impact on making a space feel relaxing, making this decor style perfect for living rooms and bedrooms. Styled with the correct lighting and accessories dark academia interior design can be immensely captivating and endearing. When looking for dark academia bedroom ideas – or for any space – be sure to consider colour first.

Materials used in dark academia

From textured fabrics to natural wood, dark academia interior design features a diverse array of materials which all pull together, transporting us into this mystical world. Some of the best materials to consider are:

a phot to give an idea of how to make a dark academia room

Enriching velvets

Velvets are a great starting point when creating a dark academia style, instantly enriching a space and adding a sense of luxury and softness to the décor. Working with velvets in dark colourways featuring forest greens and chocolatey browns will create a relaxing, opulent space – perfect for burying your nose into your new book!

Reimagine the dark academia look into the home by dressing your windows with heavy, dark tone velvet curtains and a scattering of cushions, to capture the rich, fantasy inspired look.

Natural woods

As antique furniture plays a strong role within this design style, a lot of natural wood fits in beautifully. Primarily sticking to natural oaks and mahogany, the darker woods bring in a traditional twist to the space, creating that Hogwarts-esque look.

Beyond antique furniture, natural wood can be implemented into the home through a variety of different and stylish ways. A great starting point is through wooden Venetian blinds. Not only are they a classic window dressing but they also provide an array of practical benefits. From easy clean to lighting and privacy control,  they bring a natural feel to the space.

Luscious leathers

Fostering the richness of this design style, leather can be a great way to lift the décor. Using leather wingback armchairs or chesterfield sofas within a dark academia style really captivates the academic side of the look. Imagine this space with books and handwritten letters strewn across the place – that is the academia side to this interior style.

Modernising dark academia

Despite this style being a new trend, the dark academia design has a very traditional feel to it,  reimagining this style into a new build home, therefore, can seem rather challenging. Well, fear not, as we have some tips on how to add a modern twist to this historically inspired décor without taking away the fantasy feel this style emits.

Stylish shutters

Having been daring and painted the walls black, lifting the space to ensure it doesn’t feel like a blackhole is the next step when adding a modern twist to dark academia décor.  

White shutters will instantly brighten the feeling within the room without detracting from the sophisticated feel of today’s theme. Shutters bring a sense of elegance into the décor, while also adding insulation properties.

Gold accents

A strong use of gold accessories will enhance your space, adding a maximalist style mixed with an art deco twist into the design. The warming tone will also amplify the relaxing sensation this interior style brings, as a more yellow hue can help to calm us.

To achieve the ultimate warm lighting, the use of gold lined, or copper lined lamp shades will enhance the already warming glow of a lightbulb, making your modernised dark academia décor even more indulgent.

Dark academia is a wonderful décor style that can be adapted to fit the style of any building. Whether you have a Victorian home with bay windows, or a modern new build, the dark academia style consists of classic elements that can easily be adapted for their surroundings.


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