Home and interiors

Dark academia: TikTok is obsessed with this new viral interiors trend, and no wonder

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Kayleigh Dray
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Bookshelves and cosy home interiors

If you’ve ever dreamed about that library in Beauty And The Beast, then TikTok’s ‘dark academia’ interiors trend is for you…

There are certain movie scenes that will forever stick in my mind. The very first time Harry Potter walks into Hogwarts, for example, or the moment Belle is gifted her very own castle-based library in Beauty And The Beast. There’s Elle Woods excitedly embracing her first day at Harvard Law School, or Audrey Hepburn rocking that awesome orange coat at the New York Public Library in Breakfast At Tiffany’s, or basically any shot taken inside Orchard House in the 1994 (aka my favourite) version of Little Women.

It’s not necessarily because much happens in these scenes, of course; rather, it’s the ridiculously beautiful interiors. I’m talking about the stacked-to-the-brim bookshelves, and the old wooden furniture, and the gorgeous antiques dotted around the place. The use of impossibly cosy materials like plaid, tweed, corduroy and wool. The soothing colour palettes of black, blue, brown, and grey hues. 

Harry potter audiobooks
We have a feeling that the interiors shots of Hogwarts have helped inspire the #darkacademia interiors trend.

Above all else, it’s this unadulterated celebration of… well, of knowledge and the arts, I guess. And now there’s a new interiors trend that aims to do exactly the same.

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That’s right, fellow bookworms; the ‘dark academia’ home interiors trend has gone viral on TikTok, with its hashtag clocking up a cool 843 million views and counting.

And, much like all the film scenes mentioned above, it shines a spotlight on books, art supplies, musical instruments, trailing houseplants, Greek ceramics (who doesn’t love a bust, eh?), and dark rustic furniture.

Check it out: 

Much like the popular cluttercore trend, the dark academia movement aims to swerve the minimalist route and instead turn your most reassured (and preppy) belongings into the standout stars of your home.

For example, you might want to consider bringing some of your books out of storage and lovingly stacking them on a shelf above your desk or onto an old wooden bookcase until it positively groans:

If art is more your vibe, create a rustic picture wall, filled with simple prints in wooden frames:

Candles are a big #darkacademia vibe, obviously, creating pools of warm, slightly orange light around the room where you can immerse yourself in your work:

And then it’s a case of cosying your home up with bulky bedding (aka lots of sheets and blankets), scatter cushions over the sofas, rustic and dark wood furniture, and a sprinkle of repro book pages dotted around the place.

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Of course, if the dark colour palette doesn’t work for you, there’s a happy twist on the trend – and, aptly, it’s been coined ‘light academia.’

While the style inspiration is still rooted in the joy of learning, it spotlights soft neutrals (like beiges, roses, buttercup yellows, and duck egg blues), flowers aplenty, home-brightening mirrors, and lighter fabrics (think simple cottons).

Check it out:

This uplifting twist on the trend feels much more like Belle’s enviable library, of course, and works perfectly for summer.

To achieve it at home, you’ll still be stacking books, of course, but you’ll be weaving in sprigs of lavender and wildflowers as you do so:

Arts and antiques will absolutely be taking centrestage, but in far less murky colours:

And things will still be incredibly cosy, while nimbly sidestepping the heaviness of the #darkacademia movement:

Whichever version you opt for, of course, just make sure to spotlight the arts and academia that mean most to you – this trend isn’t about living by anyone else’s rules or tastes, but celebrating the books, music, and art that brought you to where you are today.

So, if you’ll excuse this writer, she has a lot of fantasy and horror books to rearrange. 

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

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