“Fantasycore” Is TikTok’s New Take on Dark Academia

published Nov 22, 2023
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Fantasycore room with many decorative items.
Credit: Haneen Matt

When it comes to inspiring design trends, nothing quite rivals the power and influence of TikTok. The platform has been a haven of micro-aesthetics, from tomato girls to yeehaw core. Now, one of the latest TikTok-inspired design styles dominating social media feeds everywhere is #fantasycore. Like many other decor movements before it, it originated in the lifestyle and fashion worlds, then subsequently trickled over into interiors. If you’ve ever dreamt of living in an enchanted forest or diving head-first into one of your favorite fantasy novels, this fantastical home trend might just be for you. Here’s everything you need to know about the fantasycore decor trend, including some expert-approved tips for getting the look in your home. 

What Is Fantasycore?

Powered by fantasy genre lovers on TikTok and Instagram, fantasycore-inspired interiors blend whimsy, mystique, and elegance. According to Bryan Johnson, CEO of Shades of Light, this design style ultimately emphasizes creating living spaces that feel like gateways to enchanting realms. Fantasy has always been a part of mainstream media culture, with blockbuster series like The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter garnering legions of fans. But an increased interest in personalized spaces has allowed super-followers to introduce inspiration from these franchises into their interiors, too. 

To that end, designer Haneen Matt of @haneens_haven attributes the rise of fantasycore — and even its sister aesthetic, dark academia — to the early days of the pandemic. “We all wanted our homes to start looking and feeling as cozy as possible because we were spending so much time in them,” Matt says. “The goal was to have our house feel like a hug at such uncertain times, and the [fantasycore] look and feel has stuck around even three years later with rich, dark colors and a mix of patterns to make things feel collected.”  

Credit: Bari J.

How to Get the Fantasycore Look at Home

If the word “fantasycore” makes you think of your teenage bedroom filled with movie posters and kitschy collectibles, think again: Today’s fantasy-inspired spaces look very sophisticated. Bring this aesthetic into your home with these expert-recommended tips.

Use Natural Elements

Fantasycore draws heavily from the beauty of the outdoors; embracing natural elements and earthy colors is a key part of pulling off this aesthetic, Johnson says. Opt for wooden furniture, and stone and metal finishes, and don’t be afraid to add some live or dried greenery, like bouquets or houseplants. 

Stick with a Moody Color Palette

Moody, mystical color palettes go hand in hand with fantasycore, too (think: deep, rich colors, like forest green, royal blue, earthy browns, black, and dark purples, according to Johnson). Top off the style with metallic copper or gold accents for an elegant touch of shine. 

Add Whimsical Details

You can’t forget about fantasycore-inspired details, like whimsical artwork, sculptures, and light fixtures, adds Johnson. Look for accents that evoke a feeling of playfulness, light-heartedness, and delight. If you’re at a loss for where to start, turn to nature for inspiration or even elements from your favorite fantasy novel or film. 

Credit: Haneen Matt

Develop a Curated Look

This aesthetic encourages mixing and matching different types of furniture and decor, but with an overall collected, vintage-inspired look. “Curated rooms tell a story, and I feel like our living room does just that,” says Matt of her moody, fantasycore-themed space pictured above. Browse local thrift stores, flea markets, and antique shops for unique, budget-friendly pieces to fill out your home. 

Add Magic with Lighting 

The right lighting fixtures can help draw attention to key fantasycore details in your space. They’re also important for simply setting the fantasycore mood. “The lighting itself may be part of fantasy-inspired home decor, whether it is an oversized nature-inspired chandelier, such as our Twig Chandelier, or an eye-catching fantastical design element such as our Need A Hand sconce” says Johnson. Matt, who styled the Twig Chandelier in her own living room, notes that it “looks like it’s right out of a scene from a book!” 

Maintain a Little Minimalism

Practice restraint and know when less is more so your touches of fantasy don’t become gimmicky. Choose just a few whimsical pieces for each room to act as focal points and then build the rest of the space around them using a cohesive color palette, natural materials, and an assortment of thoughtfully collected furnishings. This minimalist approach will prevent your home from feeling cluttered and visually overwhelming.