School’s in: This classic interior design trend is inspired by all things academic

Designs by Krystal Matthews. Photo by John Crifasi.

As kids head back to the classroom this month, we’re taking a look at this year’s most bookish home trend: academia-inspired design. Local interior designer Krystal Matthews describes it as “more of a European collegiate feel, incorporating decadent moldings and d├ęcor that have an aged, eclectic quality.” Matthews has taken a lesson from this traditional aesthetic in selecting items for some of her own interior design projects, but her modern interpretations send her to the head of the class.

“As with all trends, we keep the bones true to the home and use styling items to vamp up the look the client loves that may have a shorter shelf life,” says Matthews. “However, the pendulum of design is naturally swinging back to ‘more is more.’ Think modern art with gothic gold frames, rich decadent velvet upholstery, classic library accent lighting, and oversized dark windows.”

Photo by John Crifasi

A key characteristic of the academia aesthetic is figuring out how to incorporate small details into your home that make for big differences in style. “I always love incorporating amazing trim, rich stone finishes, and over-the-top lighting,” Matthews says, “so this trend is hitting a sweet spot for us!”

But what exactly does Matthews find most exciting about this trend? The “dark” aspect. She offers this tip: “The best way to vamp up great architecture and design is to understand the need for contrast. Dark ceilings, doors, trim or flooring can set that tone without anyone even realizing why or how it was achieved.”


See another of Matthews’ design tips in this story from the inRegister archives. For more interior design inspo, follow us on Instagram @inregister.