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December 09, 2022 5 min read

What is dark academia interior design?

The Dark Academia Aesthetic has been trending since 2021. The look is described by The New York Times as "traditional-academic-with-a-gothic-edge." Heavily influenced by the imagery of institutions like Oxford, Cambridge, and the Ivy League, dark academic interiors include dark tones, worn leather, and eclectic treasures. 

Aesthetic motifs include an interest in reading and books, obsession with Latin and Greek classics, candles, and maximalist design. Inspired by films like The Craft, Cruel Intentions, and Dead Poets Society, and books like Donna Tartt's The Secret History, dark academia is here to stay.

Popularized on the social media platform TikTok, the dark academia aesthetic has heavily influenced the 2022 interior design trends. From restored antiques to leather sofas and maximalist table scapes, dark academia elements are popping up everywhere. Taste-making media outlets like HGTV and House Beautiful have written about how to achieve dark academia decor in your home.

Dark Academia Interiors Homes and Gardens Fig Linens and Home
Image from Homes and Gardens | Off-​​Black by Farrow and Ball/Octopus Publishing
Dark Academia Aesthetic Interior Design Wednesday Netflix Fig Linens and Home
Oxford University Photographed by Lydia Rayden​​

Though this trend may seem a bit "of the moment," Megan Slack of Homes and Gardens Interior Design writes about how many of the stylistic elements of dark academia are ironically, evergreen. Fig Linens and Home explores how to integrate dark academia elements that won't be going out of style anytime soon.

Christian Lacroix Premier Rendez-Vous Marais Cushion Decoupage Look Dark Academia Interior Design Trends Fig Linens and Home
Fig Linens and Home: Christian Lacroix Premier Rendez-Vous Marais Cushion​​

Dark Academia Inspired by Tim Burton's Wednesday: The Latest Trend In Design

The latest iteration of the dark academia interior is slightly darker, sleeker and more feminine than previous dark academia looks.

This eye catching design trend of 2022 is best embodied in the sets and styling of Netflix's Wednesday. Wednesday is a modern spin on the classic The Addams Family. The show depicts an adolescent Wednesday Addams (played by Jenna Ortega) at the illustrious "outcast" boarding school Nevermore. 

The quick humor, gorgeous setting of Cantacuzino Castle in Bucharest Romania make Wednesday a joy to watch. Features from famed actors such as Christina Ricci, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Luis Guzmán take the show to the next level.

Wednesday Addams Dark Academia Interior Design Trend Fig Linens and Home
Vlad Cioplea for Netflix from Architectural Digest​​

Despite the monster-hunting content, the culture seems to be most intrigued by the outfits and styling of the show. From Jenna Ortega's Alaïa prom dress to the custom uniforms worn by pupils at the Nevermore Academy, academy-award-winning Wednesday costume designer Colleen Atwood hits it out of the park every time. 

Media outlets from Teen Vogue to Harper's Bazaar and SSENSE have written about how to recreate Wednesday's iconic looks in your wardrobe.

At this point, you are probably wondering, how do I recreate these iconic, modern dark academia, Wednesday-inspired looks in my home? Never fear! The Fig Linens and Home blog explores how to create stylish, chic, and timeless looks out of the dark academia design trend. 

Based on Colleen Atwood's description of considerations when building Wednesday's looks, we curated this list of interior and bedding ideas to bring contemporary dark academia to your home... even if you don't live in a Romanian castle.

This guide recommends bedding and home decor from top luxury linens brands like Frette, Designer's Guild and Matouk to create Wednesday-Addams-approved interiors.

Wednesday Netflix Style Interior Design Trends 2023 Fig Linens and Home
Image from Harper's Bazaar, Courtesy of Netflix​​ 

The Wednesday Addams Dark Academia Style Edit

1. Interior Design Trend 2022: Black with Visual Depth

In her interview with Harper's Bazaar, Wednesday costume designer Colleen Atwood describes the importance of pairing black with contrasting shades to create visual interest. 

In the world of bed trends, this advice corresponds to investing in white bedding with black details.

All black bedding can be a bit depressing, while bedding with contrasting colors appears crisp and modern. Simple black bedding like the Frette's Bold Bedding in Milk and Black (pictured to the right) or Matouk's Lowell Black and White can help offset some of the busyness of the maximalism this trend can bring, and create your perfect dark academia bedroom. You can add additional dimension to black using textured decorative pillows or throws.

This advice can be recreated in the bathroom with towels or a shower curtain with sleek black details like Matouk's Newport Collection.

Frette Bold Bedding in Black Fig Linens and Home Dark Academia Wednesday Netflix Style Edit
Fig Linens and Home: Frette Bold Bedding in Milk and ​​Black

2. Adding Subtle, Sweet Feminine Details to Your Dark Academia House

The 2022 Wednesday Addams has been described as more vulnerable and sympathetic than her predecesors. 

To offset the potential harshness of so many clean lines, soften the look with floral details and velvety textures. Adding a signature scent like Nest's Rose Noir and Oud Fragrance Collection can help add warmth to your space while maintaining its dark academic DNA.

Saved New York Cashmere ScherenScnitte Cashmere Blanket Fig LInens and Home Black Bedding Dark Academia Design Trends
Fig Linens and Home: Saved New York Scherenscnitte Cashmere Blankets​​

3. Quirky, Ecclectic Design Elements in Your Dark Academia Room Decor

Dark academia is a maximalist aesthetic. Thus, a variety of room embellishments like throw pillows, decorative accessories, and blankets that tell a story are required to create the look. 

Throw pillows by Christian Lacroix and Designer's Guild inspired by traditional decoupage are the perfect addition to add brightness and surrealist detail to your living room. They also coordinate well with the aforementioned bedding trends.

Cashmere throw blankets from Saved New York can help tell a story by incorporating gothic details like snakes and astrological symbols.

Though Wednesday is allergic to color, we can't help but feel she'd approve of these eccentric touches.

Christian Lacroix Jardin Des Hesperides Multicolore Decorative Pillow Dark Academia, Fig Linens and Home
Fig Linens and Home: Christian Lacroix Jardin Des Hesperides Multicolore Decorative Pillow​​

4. Antique "Old World" Details with a Modern Twist

Antique furniture, mirrors, and decorative elements will unite your elevated dark academic interior. 

Gold objects and mirrors from World's Away add the perfect level of glamour and mystery, while a faux fur rug by Fabulous Furs creates a dramatic impression.

In conclusion, the dark academia interior design trend is all about creating a space that evokes the intellectual, literary, and artistic pursuits of a bygone era. With a focus on moody color palettes, vintage-inspired decor, and cozy textures, dark academia interiors offer a perfect blend of old-world charm and modern sensibility.

Is the dark academia trend you will be following in your home? Or do you see it as a passing fad? What do you love or hate about the dark academia trend? Let us know in the comments!

sophie edwards content writer for fig linens and home

Sophie Edwards

Sophie is the head content writer at Fig Linens and Home. She is a bedding, linens, and luxury homeware expert with an interest is the intersection of interior design with fashion, travel and culture. She has a BA in creative writing and sociology from Sarah Lawrence and an MSc from the Oxford University Department of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography.

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