February 3, 2023

Design Trend: Dark Academia Interior Design

Design trends come and go, but one of the most enduring styles to emerge in recent years is dark academia.  

This design style emphasizes antique furniture, architectural millwork, bookshelves brimming with books, and dark moody hues. It is all about embracing sophistication, mystery, and elegance— perfect for those who seek a timeless yet modern look in their home.

Whether you’re looking to create a cozy study corner, create an inviting home library, or just add drama to your space, this trend has something for everyone. Let’s get inspired!

What is Dark Academia?

Dark academia is an aesthetic trend that includes elements inspired by old schools, libraries, and college campuses.

The key components of the dark academia interior design include:

  • Deep hues like navy blue, hunter green, and black  
  • Natural elements like leather, woods like oak and mahogany, and plants
  • Antique furniture
  • Warm lighting fixtures such as table lamps and chandeliers
  • Accessories with vintage appeal such as wrought iron pieces, tufted velvet accents, and antiques

Dark academia is all about creating a mood.

With its classic yet modern feel, dark academia creates the perfect atmosphere for sipping a cup of tea or curling up with a good book.  

Credit: Kimberly Kay Interiors

Achieve the Dark Academia Look in Your Home

Dive into dark academia with these tips from the Cabinet Chic!  

#1. Venture to the Dark Side with Color

Now is not the time to shy away from deep dark hues. When choosing paint colors for the dark academia-themed aesthetic, think, well, dark.  

Dark hues like Benjamin Moore’s Old Navy or Sherwin Williams’ Black Bean add calmness and depth, especially when used to paint built-in bookcases in an office or library.  

Note: This trend is best executed in an area that is not an open floor plan. Consider the living room, office, or nook in your home.

Be Inspired > Don’t Be Afraid to Go Dark: Deep Hues for Your Home

Credit: Meta Vaya

#2. Marvelous Millwork

What sets this style apart from others is its use of custom millwork which brings character and depth to any room.  

From detailed wainscoting panels, to intricately carved doors, molding, and mantels, custom millwork adds a unique touch that makes a space come alive.  

Credit: Christopher Scott

#3. No Library? No Problem

Even if your home doesn’t have an office or library space, that doesn’t mean you have to skip the bookishness of dark academia altogether.  

Consider making an impression in an overlooked space like around a doorway or in the hallway and install built-in shelves to display your favorite books. Bonus points if you include a few leather-bound editions!

Floor-to-ceiling bookcases make a huge impact in a room and create that perfect atmosphere that evokes scholarly pursuits. Plus, if your bookcase reaches the ceiling, you can find an excuse to add a rolling library ladder to your space. Not only is this practical for reaching books on higher shelves, but it adds a unique touch to your home.  

More Inspiration > Stylish Sophistication: Building a Built-In Library

Credit: Amity Worrel

#4. Custom Cabinetry

Custom cabinetry can elevate any space, whether in the living room, office, kitchen, or mudroom.  

To lean into the dark aesthetic, choose cabinetry and built-ins with classic lines and high-end finishes.

Custom built-ins will make your living space feel more like a cozy library or study than ever before! And don’t forget about the kitchen; try darkly stained or painted cabinetry to add that moody feel to your kitchen space too.  

Chic Tip: Try incorporating cabinets with glass fronts. They are perfect for displaying special collections and vintage trinkets!

Credit: Modsy

#5. An Abundance of Antiques

If there was ever a time to fill your home with antiques, this would be it! From gothic-style benches to chesterfield sofas, endeavor to fill your space with items that have a history.  

  • Adorn your walls with vintage-style artwork including maps of the world, botanical paintings, and astrological prints.  

  • In contrast to the maximalist approach, carefully curated collections of vintage items and antiques are key to this style.  
Credit: Park & Oak  

Dark Academia: Fad or Fab?

The dark academia trend has been popular within the interior design world for quite some time now, and it's easy to see why. It evokes a sense of old-world sophistication, mixed with modern chicness. But the question is — will it last?

As with any interior design trend, many opinions surround it. On one hand, many people find comfort in the dark academia look; its vintage charm can really bring a room to life. On the other hand, dark academia might not be as appealing to those who prefer more modern or contemporary designs.  

Ultimately, only time will tell if this trend will remain popular or fade away into obscurity like so many trends before it. For now, we’re all for it!

Credit: Jasmin Reese Interiors

Embrace Your Inner Scholar

Dark academia interior design is a trend that we believe will stick around for years to come. Its combination of classic and modern elements, dark color palette, and vintage-inspired accents make it an interesting take on traditional interior design.  

Whether you decide to go all in or add subtle touches, this trend can give your space a unique vibe. So why not give dark academia a try? Who knows, you may just find yourself falling down the rabbit hole of its beautiful aesthetics!  

From built-ins to custom architectural millwork our Tampa craftsmen are ready to bring the dark academia style to life in your home. Contact Miriam Johnson for a design consultation today!

Featured Image: Witmer Design

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