ByAndrea NeculaeDecember 6, 2021
The dark academia aesthetic has seen a rise in popularity in the past 18 months, making it one of the pandemic’s fastest-growing trends. Revolving around classic literature (particularly ancient Greek) and the pursuit of knowledge, dark academia is more of a lifestyle than a fashion choice. What began on Tumblr in the mid-2000s as a book club with a gothic twist today romanticizes academic life at Ivy League universities, such as Harvard and Yale. And, with many students left this year to live out their college experiences in their childhood bedrooms, the appeal of a preppy campus is undeniable.
However, dark academia doesn’t have an age limit, and you don’t need cobblestone walls or pointed arches to achieve this look in your own bedroom.
Color Me Moody
As the name suggests, this aesthetic is mysterious and dark — and so is its color scheme. Earthy colors are also commonly used to convey that beginning-of-the-school-year, autumn feel. Meanwhile, if you want something more exciting than muted earth tones (like beige, brown and off-white), a burgundy and olive green mix can be the choice for you.
Granted, as a renter, you may not always be allowed to paint the walls or stain the floors, so you might need to get creative with your use of the dark academia palette. For example, removable wallpaper is a no-strings-attached solution to giving your bedroom walls a darker vibe. Likewise, potted plants are also a great renter-friendly way to add color to the room, while keeping in line with the look you want to achieve. Plus, plants that fit this sub-culture best (which are usually from the ivy family) are a renter’s dream because they’re low maintenance.
Going Back to The Roots
Don’t forget what dark academia is all about: Books. Arrange them on a bookshelf, stack them or use them as your bedside table. Just make sure they’re everywhere. Specifically, “The Secret History” by Donna Tartt is hailed as a staple of dark academia and is a must-have in your book collection, along with “The Iliad,” “Dead Poets Society,” “Pride and Prejudice” and anything by Oscar Wilde. And, the older the books, the better. Not only will they give you that vintage feel that you’re going for, but their sweet, musky smell will also add to the experience.
Plaid It Cool
When it comes to fabrics, use rich patterns and heavy, ornate tapestry. To that end, adhesive strips are a sure-fire way to adorn your walls with textile art — without damaging the walls and ensuring you get your security deposit back. Luxurious materials — such as cashmere and wool — should also be on your decorating list. After all, you’re trying to replicate the way of life of Romantic-era nobles and upper-class American preppies. And, remember that there’s no room for minimalism here, so layer your bed with duvets and blankets, and add some plaid or tweed pillows for extra coziness.
Have Decorating Down to a Fine Art
If you’re attracted to the dark academia aesthetic, you’ll most likely be found wondering around museums and art galleries or listening to Tchaikovsky while sipping tea. If this sounds like you, don’t be afraid to showcase your interest in the humanities: Musical instruments, Greek sculptures and art supplies can make excellent décor. Moreover, you can find all of these items in thrift stores, second-hand shops or garage sales, making them affordable. And, don’t worry about wear and tear — it will only add to their charm.
A common motif for dark academia is chiaroscuro, which is the contrast between brightness and darkness. Most rooms that are decorated using this aesthetic are illuminated by flickering lights. The magical world of Hogwarts is considered dark academia by many, so you can take inspiration for your Muggle bedroom from its candle-lit corridors. And, while a hanging chandelier checks all of the boxes of a more theatrical, decadent feel, it isn’t an option for everyone. Instead, scour your nearest antique shops for a vintage lampshade or a lamplight to curl up next to with your favorite book.
Don’t Shun Technology
Social media has always been a place of self-expression for mainstream styles and many subcultures. And, with the help of algorithms, users can more easily become immersed in the internet aesthetic of their choice. As a result, nothing is too niche — if you can think of it, you can find a mood board of it on Pinterest. And, of course, there’s a community out there for dark academics to share ideas, visuals and hobbies. Although technology doesn’t seem to match the core of sweater-knitting, flower-pressing, calligraphy-writing academics, it’s nonetheless a great source of inspiration. Your vast collection of highbrow literature can also come in e-book form, especially if you don’t have enough space for a library.
The #darkacademia has surpassed 1 million posts on Instagram, and the topic has sprouted many YouTube videos, including tutorials and hour-long whimsical playlists. All of this along, with its multiple facets and timelessness, make dark academia a trend that seems to be here to stay.
We encourage you and freely grant you permission to reuse, host, or repost the images in this article. When doing so, we only ask that you kindly attribute the authors by linking to RentCafe.com
Andrea NeculaeAndrea Neculae is a creative writer at RentCafe, with a passion for bringing human-interest stories to light. Writer by day and bookworm by night, she loves reading and reviewing anything from the classics to sci-fi and fantasy. Her writing skills are complemented by a special interest in graphic and web design. From research about the rental market to home décor and interior design, Andrea’s articles cover many layers of a renter’s universe. With an academic background in Language Arts, Andrea is always looking to develop new skills and further her knowledge. You can connect with her via email.
Set up your place at http://www.starloftspgh.com like a nerdy bookworm!