Do you like the dusty tomes of great literary like Oscar wilde and Lord Byron– or are you just a die-hard “Harry Potter” fan? Either way, you might be a fanatic of what is perhaps the most singular design craze today: “the dark university”.

In a nutshell, devotees vie for a venerable prep school vibe around the house, but combined with a dash of evil and menacing overtones.

This movement has its roots in the 1992 novel “The Secret History” by Donna Tartt, where a murder shakes up a bigoted group of liberal arts students at an elite New England college.

Although it started out as a literary genre, the dark academia evolved into a backdrop aesthetic first on Tumblr, then on TikTok, around 2017.

The coronavirus pandemic, with the closure of most schools, has further fueled Americans’ desire for a certain higher education atmosphere at home.

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Dark academia also seems to fit in nicely with the growing clique of niche design themes including ‘cottagecore’ and ‘goblincore’.

As draw henri of Design Dudes explains: “This is the era of maximum home customization. “

That doesn’t mean you should make your house look like a college dorm. The atmosphere you are looking for? Cozy, dark spaces filled with books and an oversized leather chair.

“Dark academia is also a great opportunity to incorporate black walls so popular on Instagram,” says Karen Gray-Plaised of Design Solutions KGP.

Here’s a shopping list to consider for some tips on how to immerse yourself in a bit of dark college around your own home.

Table globe

A 1950s globe is an ideal library accessory.


Signal your worldliness with a globe, the perfect piece to point out during chat Ferdinand MAGELLAN and his trip to Africa and South America.

Gray-Plaisted suggests “take an old table, stack it with hard covers, then add a globe to the style” ($ 15, Target).

Constellation light

Learn a bit of astronomy with this attractive pendant light.

(Teen PB)

The stars and constellations are a big part of the “Harry Potter” stories, which makes this article a must-see if you are a fan of the books.

The mouth-blown interior glass of this shiny pendant ($ 349, PB Teen) also makes it a great addition to a home office or dining room.

Velvet panels

Cozy curtains add drama to your dark college rooms.


Sara chiarilli of Artful Conceptions loves the idea of ​​transforming a bookcase into a traditional style home.

“My favorite things are the dark charcoal trim on the walls, the real wood floors, and the rich velvet drapes,” she says.

This pick ($ 90, Wayfair) is available in forest green, teal, and gray, among other shades, although Tennyson Blue (yes, it’s really called that) is probably best suited to your dark college reading nook. .

Leather couch

Choose from two sofa sizes or choose the side chair.


Sinking deep into a Chesterfield or similar sofa is the epitome of this decorating style. This tufted option ($ 1,571, Amazon) comes in nine colors, including cognac, brown, and warm gray, and you can add a matching ottoman as well.

Beaker vases

Brew a potion or display air plants in these containers.


The magical elements take on their full meaning with a dark academic setting, says Chiarilli.

She suggests constellation wallpaper or “flowers in science cups, for a fun nod to chemistry”.

These cute globes ($ 44, Etsy) inserted into iron stands are stylish and useful. Fill yours with ivy and place them on a fireplace.

Tweed pillows

Warm tweed sets the academic tone.


After the stained metal-rimmed glasses, nothing says tweed is dark academia anymore. You can get the look of the upholstery or just a few cushions. This pillow ($ 46, Etsy) is 100% wool and has subtle hints of red and blue.

greek bust

It gives your decor an eye on the side.


No one will believe that you are serious about Roman or Greek artifacts, but this tongue-in-cheek goddess bust can still win the day when you try out this look. This bust ($ 30, Amazon) is both a piece of art and a useful planter.

Book Themed Jewelry Box

Hide your heirlooms inside.


Leather-bound tomes are certainly a big part of the dark academy, but not everyone has the space or desire to collect them.

To mimic the look, consider this book-shaped wooden jewelry box ($ 14, Etsy). Store your balls indoors or use them to store remotes on the coffee table.

Dark furniture

When choosing a palette for dark universities, think about black.


A moody color scheme is your goal when designing this look, so focus on dark furniture. This end table ($ 108, Wayfair), available in black and espresso, is a smart and affordable find for books next to a sofa.

Historical map

Old maps channel a cheesy vibe.


Accents that look European will almost always do the trick, as people across the pond have been making the university dark for some time now, says Julie coraccio, the organization pro at Reawaken Your Brilliance. A historical map is both scholarly and colorful, and this one comes at a magically low price ($ 12, Etsy).