One of the easiest ways to narrow down a look for a room is to choose an interior design theme. A theme helps you zero in on a set of colors, textures, and motifs, whether it’s the rustic, down-home farmhouse look or the clean, mid-century modern look.
Of course, interior design themes can also get a reputation for being boring or even cliché. This is unfortunate since themes offer the opportunity to create unique, artistic, and even dramatic spaces, and the dark academia theme is the perfect example.
What Is Dark Academia?
Dark academia did not get its start as an interior design theme. At its roots, it’s a literary sub-genre and aesthetic surrounding the image of a high-class academic institution, like Oxford or Cambridge, during the dark romantic movement in the nineteenth century.
Imagine ivy-covered walls and a library filled with antique books. Students dressed in tweed and plaid discuss art, literature, Latin, and the latest mysteries beside marble statues. That’s the idea. Seem a little difficult to turn into a room theme? Knowing how to incorporate a dark academia aesthetic into your room’s design isn’t as difficult as you would think.
Focus on Color Scheme
Typically in room design, we focus on emphasizing natural light to make a room seem more open. But the first word in dark academia is dark, which means we typically focus on darker, more dramatic hues, such as:
- Forest green
You can also add a sense of contrast with lighter accents like cream and gold. Just keep in mind that decorating with dark-colored walls comes with its own set of caveats.
Remember that dark academia focuses on vintage academics. You can easily incorporate this by adding antiques to your room design. This doesn’t mean every single item in the room has to be antique or vintage. However, you can consider adding a few statement pieces, for example:
- A vintage letter-writing desk
- Busts or statues
- Grandfather clocks
- Antique books or bookends
- Instruments like violins or cellos
Another design trick that adds a vintage feel to a space is bringing out the woodwork in a space. Look for wooden furniture, flooring, and trim. Then, add a layer of varnish to it to bring out the natural grain. Focus on darker washes to add an air of mystery to the space.
A Note on Blending Themes
There’s no doubt that incorporating a dark academia aesthetic into your home is dramatic, and some find it a bit “much.” If you are worried about your room’s design feeling overwrought or gaudy, you can balance the room’s design by incorporating other themes.
For example, the cottagecore aesthetic has similar vintage notes but is gentler, emphasizing light and nature. Combining the two may give your room the balance it needs.