Thift the Look is BACK! This is my favourite challenge and I was so excited when I heard the theme. It’s perfect for spooky season and honestly, it’s a décor style I’ve always been drawn to what with my love of old junk and science-y stuff. Thanks again to Sarah of Sadie Seasongoods for putting this challenge together. You rock Sarah! If this is your first intro to the TTL Challenge, what we aim to do is recreate a magazine or ‘professional’ look with items primarily from the thrift shops. We want to show that it’s fun and attainable to get these looks for less – and in a sustainable way!
My Thrift the Look design inspo came from HGTV’s Design 101 article on How to Get the Dark Academia Look in your Home. When I saw this shot above on Pinterest, I immediately felt it resembled a previously thrifted cabinet I already had. Now, theirs is a desk and mine is a cabinet so one of the things that differs between my set up and their photo was that I didn’t have that surface in the foreground to set items on. I think you’ll still see that I took their inspiration for what it was and incorporated those elements in my design.
Dark Academia Design Elements
Our inspo photo above includes several Dark Academia elements that are integral to the design. I knew I needed to include them if I was going to pull off a good ‘dupe.’ In studying their design I noticed:
– Gold Frame
I took each of these required element ideas with me to the thrift shop when I was looking for items so I knew as long as I had each of them, I should be able to put something together that would work.
Starting at the top – their design includes a gold framed painting of a fox. I already had a thrifted gold framed mirror on the wall where I wanted to set up, so I moved my cabinet under it and it fit like Cinderella’s slipper. Some things are just meant to be! I then placed my Grandma’s ceramic dog in pride of place. While completely different from the fox painting, it set the vibe instantly.
I took the liberty of adding more items to the top of my cabinet as I was lacking that surface space from the desk in the inspo image. Also, I needed to add plants. It had to be done! Putting one’s own twist on things makes them sing to one’s soul and this fern – my goodness. I’m obsessed with it. It has the perfect drape, it reflects incredibly in the mirror, and conjures up botanist vibes which go so well with the Dark Academia style.
Running with the botanist twist, I incorporated the glass element with these terrariums. I found them both at the thrift for an awesome price and knew immediately I wanted to plant them up for this challenge! Glass terrariums are super expensive to buy new so don’t forget to look for them when you’re out thrifting. I also added a stem of Pink Princess Philodendron propagating in some water. So science. So dark.
Are you seeing what I saw in these piles of junk? I snagged this silver cream pot on the right and on the left, a silver plated champagne bucket for only EIGHT BUCKS?! It was perfect! I snatched that up so fast I might have looked a bit off my rocker but it was exactly what I needed to fulfil my silver element requirement. The inspiration photo uses polished silver trophies but this tarnished dark silver fits the Dark Academia aesthetic so well and I knew it could house my autumnal foliage.
I decided to use this wire cloche to create a display piece with my silver – it fit like a glove inside and made a wonderful flower frog to hold the branches. Inside I clipped some paper butterflies. You can get them free if you’d like to download them for your Dark Academia décor ideas.
Inside my cabinet I used as many books as I felt the shelves could hold, which was a lot as I’ve been collecting these in thrift and antique shops for years. I piled in more silver, more glass like these bottles from Merry’s Mercantile and more thrifted bits like this hourglass and of course…a typewriter!
Here’s how it looks with the doors closed, having them open isn’t practical for every day life and this set up is sticking around for the long haul. I love it so so so much!
Here’s one more side by side with the inspo shot
One element I don’t have – and won’t have – that’s typically a staple for a Dark Academia look is the dark walls. In the inspo they have gorgeous wood paneling and I’ll just never have that – it’s a pipe dream. So I’m sticking with the wall colour that’s throughout the rest of our open concept home. Sometimes giving up on a style because we don’t have or can’t have one of the main design elements limits us unnecessarily. Sure, my walls don’t eat the daylight out of the room but I’m okay with that. I don’t believe I’d actually like living in a dark home – we get enough darkness during our Canadian winters thanks, so using the rest of the elements, the ones I enjoy, brings so much to the space and I LOVE how this turned out!
Now’s the time to visit the rest of the Thrift the Look challenge participants. You’re in for a treat! Don’t forget to pin the inspo you find along the way so you can remember it later – referring to Pinterest while in the thrift shops is an easy way to stay on track so you don’t bypass something you were looking for.
Thanks so much for coming by! And thanks again to Sarah for putting the wheels in motion for this. It was so much fun, as this challenge always is.
Sarah @ Sadie Seasongoods says
You did a STUPENDOUS job on this TTL challenge, Heather! I love the botanical bits that you gave it- and I agree, very science and curious, perfect for Dark Academia. You cabinet was seriously ideal for this look- amazing job!
Oh my gosh, this is perfection! I love how you added your own twist with the plants! It looks so beautiful! I don’t have dark walls in the area where I created my dark academia either.
Lora Bloomquist says
This turned out so pretty. Love your botanical touches throughout. Such a beautiful piece of furniture and this look does it well!
Laura Wilkinson says
It’s like your cabinet was made for this! I love how it came together – and I knew you’d have a spot for your plants and they look fabulous!
I like your much better than the inspiration pic.