How to Embrace a Dark Academia Decor Aesthetic This Year

These days, we can't open up our Instagram Explore tab without being greeted by post after post about dark academia.

The dark academia aesthetic is all about classic literature, a desire to learn and the journey of self-discovery. Visually, that's usually represented by ancient sprawling libraries, classical paintings, gothic architecture, giant school halls and lots and lots of academy uniforms. Maybe you've even seen it on your feed without realizing they were dark academia posts!

If you love the aesthetic as much as we do, you might even consider incorporating a bit of it into your surroundings at home. Here are some suggestions to get you started, and for use as a jumping-off point to make it all your own.

Wooden or Ornate Decor

A dark academia aesthetic embraces the classic over the modern. It's all about dark shades over bright or vibrant colors, and incorporates a lot of dark woods, as well as ornate metal pieces, evoking Victorian times. Use wooden shelving to house whatever trinkets you need to enhance your academic pursuits, and prioritize antique-looking furniture to get that old school feel.

Crescent Moon Wall Shelf: $89

Urban outfitters crescent moon wall shelf

(via Urban Outfitters)


Pewter Ornate Framed Hanging Mirror: $23.93

Zulilly pewter framed mirror

(via Zulily)


Cosmic Orbit Wall Mirror Multi-Hook: $59

Urban outfitters cosmic orbit wall mirror hook

(via Urban Outfitters)


Elegant Statues

Dark academia is all about all things classical, from literature to music to sculpture, and a simple bust or figurine on your desk can do a lot to make it feel more like a place of learning. We like that this bust of Michelangelo's David is totally classic and practical, but if you're going for something more eclectic and fun, the cat might better suit your workspace.

David Vase Statue: $23.98

Etsy darkacademia finds david vase sculpture

(via DarkAcademiaFinds/Etsy)


 Reading Cat Figurine: $7.99

Zulilly reading cat figurine

(via Zulily)


Journals and Stationery

Dark academia isn't just a look—it's also a lifestyle. If you're going to fully inhabit it, you'll want to expand your knowledge and grow as a human through learning about the world, as well as yourself. Yes, you'll probably be collecting many books to suit this aesthetic, but you should be using them, too. Whether you use an old freeform leather journal or a more modern planner designed to help you conquer your goals, it should match your look! And classic stationery that allows you to write handwritten letters to your loved ones will help you develop your skills further.

Antique Handmade Leather Journal: $34.99+

Etsy Antique leatherbound journal

(via ModestGoodsCA/Etsy)


2021 Good Habits Classic Vertical Happy Planner – 12 Months: $27.99

The Happy Planner good habits classic

(via The Happy Planner)


Dark Academia Pack: $14.25

Etsy dark academia stationery pack

(via BoundlessEternity/Etsy)


Moody Candles

Streaming sunlight and bright skylights really aren't a part of the dark academia aesthetic. Instead, lamplit nights and moody candles are the preferred lighting, and certain candles definitely fit the job better than others. From candles scented like a foggy walk through the woods to ones shaped like spooky skulls and candelabras you can use again and again (and carry around the house in the dark like someone from a Victorian novel), you have a lot of options here.

Foggy Woods Soy Wax Candle: $17.50

Etsy foggy woods soy wax candle

(via MoonbrochCandleCo/Etsy)


Large Skull Candle: $13.99

Etsy storyofthescent skull candles

(via StoryOfTheScent/Etsy)


Rely+ Five Arm Candelabra: $20.99

Etsy Five Arm Candleabra

(via Relyplus/Etsy)


Fancy Teacups

Staying caffeinated is an essential part of dark academia. Whether you're drinking tea, coffee or your favorite energy drink to stay up and attend properly to your studies, you might as well be drinking out of cups that make you feel like a scholar. If you don't already have access to some nice china (or a favorite comfy mug) at home, maybe you'll like these eye-catching pieces.

Vintage Royal Standard Teacup and Saucer $18

Etsy vintage royal teacup

(via DavideVintageFinds/Etsy)


Black Crow Teacup: $45

Etsy black crow teacup

(via AngiolettiDesigns/Etsy)


Evocative Bookends

You can't have dark academia without stacks and stacks of books, and nothing brings the look of a collection together like a pair of whimsical bookends. You can find bookends in pretty much any style your heart desires, but we were particularly drawn to these cast iron bunnies, and a pair of furry-maned sleeping lions.

Bunny Cast Iron Bookends: $59.99

Etsy bunny cast iron bookends

(via NooYawkArtisan/Etsy)


Pair of Sleeping Lions Bookends: $90

Etsy sleeping lions bookends candle

(via OhioSculptures/Etsy)


Want to develop a personal look all your own? Click HERE for tips on creating your own unique Instagram aesthetic.