Dark Academia - image of antique books over old wooden table

Interiors Inspiration: Dark Academia

Interiors /

The aesthetic romanticising the educated experience

This post may contain affiliate links. Learn more


Leather-bound books and classical artworks, antique wooden furniture and leather armchairs, four poster beds and ornate lighting. Welcome to the world of Dark Academia…

Interiors Inspiration: Dried Flowers

Yet another social media trend to grace our screens this year, Dark Academia is the aesthetic that revolves around classical literature, higher education, and the pursuit of knowledge. Stemming from upper-class nineteenth century European visual culture, the trend is associated with the liberal arts and eccentricities – celebrating the unusual and romanticising the educated experience.

But don’t let this side of Dark Academia make you think it’s dull and proper. The trend is also heavily linked to themes of criminality, danger and mystery, with the likes of secret societies, cults and murder all being firm subjects within the aesthetic. Many followers of the Dark Academia look to characters from literature for inspiration, such as those from The Secret History and Kill Your Darlings, who live decadently destructive lifestyles laden with drugs, violence and heavy secrets.

In visual terms, think high-brow college fashion, antiques, Gothic architecture, classical art and secret nooks and crannies. Academic visuals like heavy wooden desks, lamps and armchairs all fit into the aesthetic, but you can also expect to find grander flourishes like chandeliers, paintings and ornate bookcases. For the colour palette, it’s all about autumnal shades of brown, gold, green, red, black and grey.

With cool weather settling in and spooky season approaching, there’s no better time to try out Dark Academia. See our edit for interiors inspiration below.

Interiors Inspiration: Dark Academia

Photo 1 of
Dark Academia - Green leather desk chair

Ashmore Antique Reproduction, Captains Leather Office Desk Chair, £850, newbyhouseinteriors.co.uk

Dark Academia - Antique writing desk

Antique Writing Desk Circa 1820, £3815, thekairoscollective.com

Desk lamp

Washington Tiffany Desk Lamp OT 018, £147, tiffanylightingdirect.co.uk

Dark Academia - Classical painting

A River Landscape with Washerwomen and Cowherds in the Foreround by Francesco Zuccarelli, late 1730s, price on enquiry, philipmould.com

Dark Academia - Wooden bookcase

Germain Solid Mango Wood Dresser, £2,164, maisonsdumonde.com

Dark Academia - Antique spirit kettle in copper

Antique Spirit Kettle Circa 1900, £290, thekairoscollective.com

Classical bust

CARO Somerset Plaster Statue Apollo, £220, carosomerset.com

Club chair

Eichholtz Bradley Club Chair, £2,255, pavilionbroadway.co.uk

Quilted bedspread

Shavasana Grey Cotton Quilted Bedspread, £165, frenchbedroomcompany.co.uk

Four poster bed

Botticelli 5′ King Size Bed Frame, £1550, perchandparrow.com

Grey bedding

Toile French Grey Bed Linen Set, from £56, frenchbedroomcompany.co.uk

Sanderson wallpaper

Sanderson Tally Ho Wallpaper, £69, sandersondesigngroup.com


Convex mirror

Tall Convex Vanity Mirror, £36.00, rockettstgeorge.co.uk

Grimm Fairytales leather bound book

Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales (Leather-bound Classics) by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Canterbury Classics, £13.99, amazon.co.uk

Mahogany antique desk

Edwardian Mahogany Serpentine Kneehole Desk Circa 1900, £1960, vinterior.co

Chandelier with fabric shades

Bespoke Lighting CASAMIA 5 Light Chandelier With Fabric Shades, £1,000, luxurychandelier.co.uk

Featured image: Getty Images

The Best British Interior Design Collaborations