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Trend Spotlight: What is Dark Academia and 8 Tips to Get the Look

Today, we’re shining a spotlight on a dark and moody aesthetic trend that’s seeping into the interior design world! It’s called “Dark Academia.” It might sound spooky, but it’s actually more about academics, literature, and the arts! (Hence, “academia.”) The “dark” part of the time is more in reference to the darker color palettes used in this aesthetic. (So, don’t worry—no “defense against the dark arts” training required to pull off this look!)

The Dark Academia aesthetic is what you might expect to find if you stumbled into the office of a professor at Cambridge or Oxford in the 1950s. Or a Gothic-era parlour, being entertained by the moody and mysterious Mr. Rochester himself. Or, ok, even the Gryffindor common room! All that to say, it’s a look that steeped in history and nostalgia, with a good dash of romanticism.

Read on to learn more about Dark Academia decor and how you can incorporate it into your home.

What is Dark Academia Decor?

The Dark Academia aesthetic is a celebration of learning and literature, as well as a passion for knowledge. So, the interior design style that it creates is heavily influenced by academia. What does Dark Academia room decor look like in action? Spaces that have the look and feel of an old library or study, often using books as decor. You’ll also find other items that invoke a nostalgia for centuries past and speak to intellectual pursuits—like telescopes, musical instruments, apothecary bottles, and Grecian busts. Dark Academia room decor is all about layers and collections that speak to the interests and intellect of the person living there.

Dark Academia decor is centered on classical architecture and design, so you’ll find a lot of dark wood furniture, ideally with intricate details and carvings. Decorating with antique furniture is highly encouraged in this style! There’s also an emphasis on dark colors and rich textiles—like velvet, leather, and wool—which add a sense of both history and decadence to a space. All of these elements build on a sense of moodiness and intellect, with a hint of mystery.

Where Did the Dark Academia Aesthetic Originate?

Dark Academia is a social media aesthetic and subculture centered around higher education, writing and poetry, the arts, and classic Greek and Gothic architecture. The subculture is associated with ancient art and classic literature, and the “romance” surrounding these pursuits.

However, the interior styling of this aesthetic isn’t actually new. It’s based heavily on Gothic-era European architecture and interiors. Think: old university libraries, professors’ studies, prep-school dormitories, and old English estates—especially the likes of those found in Gothic novels like Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights. There’s a lot of old European influence in this style.

How to Get the Dark Academia Look

Want to explore the Dark Academia aesthetic and learn more about how to bring some Dark Academia decor into your home? Read these 8 tips on how to get the look.

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1. Go for a Dark Color Palette

Dark is in the very name—so going with a dark color palette for a Dark Academia-inspired room is an absolute must. Dark paint can accentuate architecture features and add a moody-but-stylish vibe to the space. Decor and accessories with pop against dark paint as well! Start with colors like black and brown, as well as cream and gold, which will help ground the look. Then, don’t be afraid to go bold and incorporate saturated shades of greens, reds, and navy. Layering in dark wood and leather furniture will add to the moody vibe.

2. Use Materials That Show Off a Patina

Since this style has a definite sense of history to it, it’s important to include furniture with finishes that will develop a patina over time. (Or pieces with a faux patina.) This is also a great place to insert some antiques that show off some age without looking too worn. This can be anything from leather sofas and chairs to faded vintage rugs, copper and brass accents, and even crushed velvet upholstery.

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3. Stay Timeless and Classic

Dark Academia decor and furniture should be classic and timeless. So, gravitate toward dark, rustic wood furniture, vintage-inspired rugs, antique artwork and tapestries, and tufted upholstery. Elements like these have been used for decades, if not centuries, so they create a home that feels timeless. Stick with classic silhouettes for furniture and decor—like wingback chairs or chesterfield sofas—staying away from trends or anything that looks and feels too contemporary.

4. Embrace Maximalism

Like we mentioned earlier, Dark Academia decor is all about layered collections. So, layer decor into your space, especially books, antique trinkets, plants, and even art. This look gives the look and feel of a space that has been collected over time, and creates the studious vibe of an academic space. Layering a variety of patterns and darker colors into a room will help drive home that maximalist vibe. This is also a great style for a gallery wall, so that even your walls have a sense of maximalism. Try a mix of maps, antique-inspired botanical prints, painted portraits, black and white photos, and perhaps even old letters or vintage sketches!

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5. Display Your Collections

In the vein of maximalism, you don’t just want to have collections—you want to make sure you have a place or show them off! Antiques and other trinkets should be on display, in a tasteful manner. Celebrate your collections through the use of shelves, china and display cabinets, glass-front bookcases, and built-ins. And you don’t have to have a singular theme or look of what you have on display. Your shelves can span the decades and include inspiration from the Victorian era, where there was a definite mentality of “more is more.”

6. Highlight Natural Materials and Intricate Details

Natural materials, such as stone and wood, are timeless and classic at the same time. Keeping your base furniture a natural material sets the tone for the space—like the mahogany dining table and chairs, above, which are full of luster and class but still showcase the natural wood. You can also play up natural or architectural elements in your home—like an old fireplace with ornamental details, wall moulding, bay windows, or built-ins.

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7. Let the Light In

As much as this style is dark and celebrates dark colors and finishes, it also celebrates large windows and natural light. Balance a dark space with natural light—keeping your windows open whenever possible. And, of course, make sure they’re adorned with beautiful drapery to highlight the window even more! Dark Academia decor basically begs for luxe velvet curtains.

8. Keep it Cozy

Dark Academia gets its inspiration from the idea of spending hours in academic libraries, cozying up with great literature and hot drinks. So, keeping your space cozy just entices this type of activity even more! Create a space that draws you in by prioritizing comfortable furniture, plush materials, layers of comfy bedding, reading nooks, and layered lighting. (We especially love the idea of creating reading nook designs inspired by famous novels!)

Want to explore more trending design ideas? Read our features on the cottagecore trend and the cabincore trend!

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Tips for Celebrating a Socially Distanced Halloween in 2020

Like so many other things, Halloween this year will look drastically different from any other year. There will be a lot less trick-or-treating—if there’s any at all. Any door-to-door visits will most definitely be followed up by a rigorous round of hand sanitizer. And instead of wearing a mask that’s part of your costume, you’ll be wearing a face mask as you socially distance from any friends. Ah, life in 2020!

But don’t worry—COVID-19 doesn’t have to be the scary movie reality that brings all of your Halloween plans to a halt! When it comes to the holidays—Halloween and beyond—you don’t have to completely hole up and shelter in place like a Victorian (as much as we love the Victorians). There are plenty of fun ways to celebrate a responsible, socially distanced Halloween!

We’ve always loved the idea of incorporating spooky chic decor in our homes throughout October—or even taking haunted house decor cues from our favorite Halloween movies! It effortlessly sets the mood for the season! And when you buy through Modsy, you can get all your decor without even leaving the house 😉 If you’re in the mood for some spooky escapism, you can always head to our blog and see how five Disney villains would design their homes and steal some decor ideas from them! From there, you can have a fun but safe Halloween with Halloween movies, a costume parade, a virtual Halloween hangout or a face mask decorating party.

If you need a few more ideas, today, Modsy designers are sharing 10 ways they’re celebrating. We hope it’ll give you some inspiration on how you can bring some festive fun to your life on October 31!

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1. Embrace Fall Colors and Decor

I’ve been seeing a lot of autumn colors coming out in furniture and home stores—colors like terracotta, pumpkin, cream, and earthy greens. It definitely gets me excited, since it’s a familiar take on fall colors, but with a fresh spin! Embracing these seasonal colors in my home decor is giving me something to look forward to in a difficult year. –Michal G.

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2. Go All Out With Halloween Decor

I’m going to go all out on decor this year. I live in a studio, so I have a compact space to fill to the brim with decorations. I plan to indulge all my senses with the fall spirit with lots of candles, spooky decor, yummy fall treats, and Halloween music and movies all season long. And I’ll still dress up no matter what! –Katie W.

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3. Try Trivia Trick-or-Treating

My family and I are going to do a movie marathon of Halloween-themed movies with only popcorn and sweets as snacks. We’re also holding a Halloween trivia party based on the movies we’re watching. The person who gets the right answer gets candy. If they try and get it wrong, then they have to do a trick! –Rohayna A.

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4. Celebrate with Spooky Movies, Takeout, and Themed Cocktails

One of my favorite parts of Halloween is dressing up and creating spooky themed cocktails. My hubby and I will more than likely get dressed up for a night in, order take out, and watch a scary movie! – Victoria M.

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socially distanced halloween

5. Attend a Virtual Costume Contest

This Halloween I will be having a costume party over Zoom with friends. I think it’s important to still have a sense of normalcy during the holidays—and seeing your friends in costumes, although virtually, is a great way to do that. As always, I’m putting out my Fall and Halloween decor to help get in the spirit. And I may be adding to the collection this year, now that I’m home more than ever, to enjoy the festive feel. –Katie F.

Pro Tip: Add an extra layer of authenticity to a 90’s TV pop culture Halloween costume by pairing it with one of our tv set zoom backgrounds by following this link

6. Set Up a Halloween Candy Hunt

We decided to do a Halloween Candy Hunt. It’s just like an Easter Egg Hunt but, instead of eggs, we place the candy in Halloween party bags and let the kids search for them in the yard. That way, the kids can dress up and still collect candy. Then we will have a dance party. Making Halloween special during a pandemic can be challenging—so we’re focusing on the parts we love and reinventing our approach to doing them. –Samara W.

7. Host a Virtual Movie Marathon

I’m doing a coordinated Halloween movie night watch party with friends. We use our phones to connect on Houseparty so we can see each other, chat, and play games together. –Sarah C.

socially distanced halloween

8. Harvest an At-Home Pumpkin Patch

My daughter is 11 and LOVES halloween. Since we can’t really go out and do much, we have decided to decorate the inside of the house a lot more than usual. We also love to go pumpkin picking in the fall, so this year I brought the pumpkin patch to us by drawing all sorts of pumpkins on construction paper. I made some fake vines out of brown yarn and glued little green leaves to them. On Halloween weekend, I’m going to put all of the pumpkins out on the floor to create a “pumpkin patch” and then she and I will pick the ones we want to “decorate.” Then I plan on making a little station with different art supplies and stencils so we can “carve” and “decorate” our pumpkins. –Jennifer M.

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9. Go Family-Only Trick-or-Treating

The children in my family will be trick-or-treating at family members’ homes. We’ll still be dressing up and going out, but instead of walking around the neighborhood we’ll decorate the cars and drive to relatives’ homes. The kids will still get to enjoy Halloween, and we feel better knowing that where we’re going and the treats they’re getting are safe! –Katelin Rae S.

10. Screen a Backyard Movie

We’re having an outdoor Halloween! Our neighbors are coming over to watch a Halloween movie on a big screen in our yard. The kids will be dressing up, and we will have a bunch of Halloween and fall-themed food. –Brielle M.

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Get Your Living Room Ready for Fall With These Mantel Decor Ideas

fireplace mantel ideasIf you don’t like the idea of doing a total decor overhaul for each season and holiday remember this: there are small ways to make seasonal changes that can make a big impact. One of our favorite areas to focus on for seasonal changes is your mantel decor.

A fireplace is a focal point in a living room — so what happens on your mantel impacts the vibe of your whole space. This small area is the perfect place to show off your personality and set the tone for the space all season long. Keep reading for some easy tips and fall mantel decor ideas that work for any style!

fall mantel decor ideas

1. Crown Your Mantel

As the focal point of your room, reserve the space above your mantel for something special. Think a piece you love and want to highlight. (AKA: if your home were the Louvre, this is where you’d hang the Mona Lisa.)

All that to say, choosing the right piece to crown your mantel is important. A statement mirror, painting or art print, or a TV are classic options for mantel decor. But you can also think outside the box and hang a sculpture, a grouping of smaller paintings, or even leave it bare for a dramatic effect. The only rule? Pick something you love as this will be the piece that sets the tone for the rest of the room.

2. Pick a Color Palette

To make this area feel more curated, stick to a cohesive color palette. With this traditional look, we opted for a bouquet of earthy, fall colors like reds, yellows, and oranges, with a white base to keep it from feeling too loud.

3. Embrace Symmetry

One of the keys to a traditional mantel decor scheme is symmetry. Here, we hung a mirror above the center of the mantel, and bookended it with taller decor. But that doesn’t mean you have to get too matchy-matchy. Instead of identical objects on either side, we played with symmetry in terms of height and size, which gives the look a more inviting feel.

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fall mantel decor ideas

4. Layer On the Decor

Add visual intrigue to your mantel by layering your decorative touches. This creates a more dynamic, curated look and will add depth to your mantel style. We used natural materials for this eclectic mantel, mixing and matching woven baskets, a wooden bowl, and a stoneware vase. The layers and texture of this look are especially nice for fall when you want to embrace those cozy vibes!

5. Prop Your Art

Rather than hanging a statement art piece above the mantel, consider leaving it unhung and leaning it against the wall instead. This gives your mantel a more casual feel, which is perfect for eclectic rooms or adding a note of whimsy (whereas hung art can feel more formal).

6. Group in Threes

When decorating a mantel (or any surface, really), stick to the “rule of thirds.” This design principle boils down to the idea that objects grouped in trios are more pleasing to the human eye. Use this trick to make your fall mantel look expertly curated no matter the season or style.

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fall mantel decor ideas

7. Incorporate Texture

The secret ingredient to any space is to incorporate texture. For a rustic look, we love natural options like live edge wood, plants, and carved designs. The mix of textures adds dynamism to this cozy, layered look, which is the perfect mantel idea for fall.

8. Vary Your Heights

To add to the dynamic look, mix tall and short objects on your mantel. This keeps your eye from focusing on any one item, making the mantel feel thoughtfully designed but not overly done.

9. Add Plants

Greenery brings any look to life and adds some beautiful natural texture (see tip #7). We love the idea of incorporating greenery that’s in season for the fall — like the eucalyptus in this rustic mantel idea. Then, as winter approaches, you can switch in a boxwood or pine garland and something with florals for spring. Simply changing the greenery and a few objects will make your mantel feel fresh each season.

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Autumn Checklist: Easy Ways to Get Your Home Set for Fall

Can you smell it? Fall is in the air! That might mean mornings spent indoors by the fire with a book, evenings entertaining family and friends, or just a lot of pumpkin spice lattes. And as the seasons shift, that means it’s also time to update your home with some fall decor ideas!

With that in mind, there are simple ways you can change up your rooms to get set for all the cozier days ahead. From making simple decor swaps to preparing party-ready spaces, here’s our checklist of easy fall decor updates that will ensure your home is warm, inviting, and PSL ready.

fall decor updates1. Swap in Seasonal Hues

Embrace a fall color palette in large and small ways. Out are the cool hues and neon colors of summer, and in are warm reds, tans, ochers, and jewel tones that scream fall!

But you don’t have to repaint your space or make any big purchases to bring these colors into your rooms. Make some simple fall decor updates by swapping your pillow covers, layering in touches of gold and brass accents, or simply bringing in seasonal flowers in shades of reds and oranges.

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2. Settle Into Cozy Textures

Swap out your summer linens for cozier throws, pillows, and textures. Think velvet and leather cushions, chunky cable knit blankets, a warm duvet, and fluffy sheepskin rugs. It’s all about embracing snug fabrics, such as wool and cashmere, in lots of small ways.

And no need to stop there – woven textiles and warm, grainy wood accents are textures that can enrich rooms as well. Try pulling in a small bench with a woven seat or simply adding baskets and wooden bowls as accents in your living space or bedroom.

fall decor textures3. Go Heavy on the Layers

You can never have too many pillows or throw blankets, right? Pile these on in all rooms of your home, from the bedroom to the living space. This is an easy way to imbue your home with a cozy vibe.

And when it comes to readying your bed for fall, if you’re up for a big change, we have two words for you: upholstered bed.

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4. Get Set for Cocktail Hours

Fall always signals the beginning of party season. Make sure you’re ready to host happy hour gatherings and cocktail parties by checking to see you have enough extra seating in your living room, a bar cart for drinks, or even just trays to make serving simple.

Thinking about hosting movie marathons and game nights? Be sure you pile some extra pillows onto your sofa for added comfort; now’s the time to get a few small ottomans or poufs that you can easily move around for additional seating or use as impromptu side tables.

fall decor ideas5. Start Prepping for Holiday Gatherings

There are cocktail parties and then there are holiday parties and family gatherings. Year-end festivities have a way of always sneaking up on all of us so autumn is the best time to ready your space and start making fall decor updates.

Start by making sure you have lots of seating spread across your living and dining rooms. And if you need a new dining table or a buffet to host big dinners, now’s the time to get those pieces!

And if you’re expecting overnight guests at some point during the season, make sure your guest room has all the essentials.

The key is to start now, because the holidays will be here before you know it!

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6. Spread Some Ambient Light

Whether it’s moving a floor lamp over to a reading corner or hanging plug-in sconces next to a bookcase, good lighting will bring a romantic and moody glow to your fall evenings.

The right lighting will also add to the season’s overall festive mood! So consider adding a table lamp to your entry or some new pendants to brighten up your dining room.

And of course, don’t forget to fill your rooms with candlelight as finishing touches that add elegant glimmer.

 

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