dark academia aesthetic room decor inspo
Aja Darden

Room Decor: What is the Dark Academia Aesthetic?

Do you adore the arts, literature, and everything associated with the Gothic era? Do you secretly wish you could attend Hogwarts and spend your days poring over a leather-bound book of spells? If you said yes, then dark academia is the aesthetic for you! With these tips, you’ll be able to achieve this dark room aesthetic for your dorm room in no time. Forget the pastel colors and preppy accents—you’ll be serving all the moody and mysterious vibes. 

What is the Dark Academia aesthetic?

Gothic studies, literature, poetry, arts, and music are all part of the Dark Academia world, which is often referred to as Goth or Gothic Academia. The overall aesthetic has to do with discovering beauty in the darkest of places, from dusty bookshelves to dimly lit rooms to is-it-haunted-or-not locations.

On social media, the dark academia aesthetic is usually accompanied by a glorified portrayal of higher education—think prestigious institutions from the 20th century and earlier, which served as the model for Hogwarts. Lovers of the dark academia aesthetic typically want to recreate that moody, scholarly vibe for themselves with clothing, decor and more.

How to Get the Dark Academia Look

But First, Furniture

To create a dark and moody atmosphere, aim for rich textures and materials for your room decor. Among the best dark academia furniture and decor accents are pieces that look like they could have a story behind them, like an antique wooden desk or a vintage velvet chair.

But when you're living in a dorm, you're limited when it comes to the type of furniture you get. Don't worry: Most dorm room furniture is pretty generic (and made of wood), which makes for a relatively blank slate that you can customize to fit your personal taste. It's also easy enough to swap out a basic desk chair for one with a darker, richer feel, whether you buy something new or thrift a secondhand option.

See Ya, Pastels

The thing about dark academia is that it's, well, dark. That means you'll want to steer clear of accent furniture and decor items in pastel or bright colors, like baby blue, pale pink, yellow and lavender. Instead, go all in with dark brown, tan, cream, burgundy, forest green and any other earthy hues you love to help create that dark aesthetic room ambiance. You can also add a bit of deep purple and some rich metallics to create a mysterious aura.

Styling Your Bed

Possibly the most fun aspect of designing your room? Choosing bedding, pillows and throws to style your bed. To create a dark academia room look, the color palette is the main aspect to consider. For the dark academia color palette, you should lean into earthy colors in their deepest hues when choosing your bedding. A fluffy comforter or duvet in a neutral color like beige, cream, dark green or grey is a great option to give your bed a dark academia aesthetic or feel—plus, it will work with a variety of other aesthetics as your style evolves.

Time to Treasure Hunt

To create the perfect dark academia room, choosing the right wall decor is key. Vintage books, wood shelves, vintage or antique picture frames, gilded mirrors, old-fashioned clocks, astrological art prints, tapestries, and scientific sketches are some of the chicest dark academia decor pieces. For a super stylish dark academia bedroom, you want to really dive into the idea of mystery, secrets and wonder. So as you're looking for accent pieces for your room, keep an eye out for decor that has a mysterious, old-world feeling, like an antique globe, vintage-inspired desk lamp, sculptures, candle holders or dried plants. Your local thrift shop is a great place to find treasures!

Light It Up (But Not Too Much)

For a true dark academia aesthetic room, you'll want to avoid super bright lighting—but candles and other warm, cozy light sources are right on trend. If your room doesn't get much natural light and you're not allowed to have candles in your dorm room, choose warm-toned desk and accent lamps or even some string lights!

And Finally, the Floor

Even if your dorm room seems small, don't forget about the floor space you have. An easy way to add dark academia aesthetic vibes  (and extra coziness!) to your space is with an area rug. Look for options with a vintage-inspired pattern or a dark, moody motif like this graphic snake print rug. A natural textured accent rug can be a good option, too.

With these tips and tricks, you'll have your dark academia dorm room in no time! One last pro tip: Create a moodboard to see how everything fits together as you find pieces you love. And be sure to tag us on IG to show off your dark academia room look!