A Breakdown Of Whimsigothic, The Newest Home Decor Trend

An emerging trend in both home décor and fashion is starting to take the internet by storm, and that trend is the "whimsigothic" aesthetic, coined by Evan Collins, co-founder of the Consumer Aesthetics Research Institute (CARI). The term and the aesthetic are a combination of whimsical and gothic, taking inspiration from the heaviness and opulence of the gothic look, but with a lighter, magical, more whimsical flare.

Other words to describe the aesthetic are "magician chic," as Screenshot calls it, the design style being primarily influenced by the likes of Stevie Nicks, or the 1998 film "Practical Magic." Much of the aesthetic takes after boho, gothic, and vampy cultural and media icons. Lisa Bonet's '80s bohemian style, for example, is a major influence on the fashion camp, with '90s films and shows like "Charmed," "The Craft," and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" also having a serious sway in the world of interior design.

If this seems a little confusing, don't worry. Whimsigothic is essentially an amalgamation of different styles and design trends merged into one. The aesthetic is, in essence, a combination of bohemian, gothic, and eclectic styles, '90s witch-inspo (via Buzzfeed), with a few lighter fantasy elements mixed in.

Include lots of plants

One of the first influencers who has piloted the whimsigothic aesthetic is TikTok user @ladyfromtheoutside, who has made a series of videos breaking down both the fashion and decor specifics. In one TikTok in particular, she breaks down "Practical Magic," the much-loved, witchy late '90s film, and its whimsigothical elements.

While making a batch of midnight margaritas will certainly bring in the spirit of the cult classic, so will bringing in an abundance of plants and greenery. Many remember the romantic, plant-filled conservatory in the film, which is unabashedly whimsigothic. All you need to achieve the look in your own space are plenty of houseplants, herbs, (rosemary and lavender, anyone?), vegetables, or whatever happens to fit your home and taste. The more grand and magical, the better — climbing vines, sprawling monsteras, dramatic palm trees, and so on. For a full "Practical Magic" look, introduce some shabby-chic, white-painted furniture with a rugged, rustic finish.

Apothecary inspirations

Another way to bring in some whimsigothical flare to your home is to really lean into all things witchy, advises Screenshot. In the spirit of "Halloweentown" or "Practical Magic," you can easily incorporate some magical materials into your home, such as apothecary jars and supplies. Fans of "Friends" will remember the infamous apothecary table, and they wouldn't be wrong to. The beloved sitcom character Phoebe Buffay is quintessentially whimsigothic, according to Medium.

Give your kitchen a witchier vibe by switching your spice drawer out for a shelf, and transferring the spices themselves into mismatched, eclectic glass bottles. For a lighter look, you can opt for a cottagey, rustic white shelf, or for a darker and demure feel, choose a heavier wood tone. Add gold labels with mystical scrawl to enhance the effect. You can also include some hanging herbs, drying plants, and mortar and pestle to really make it feel like a medieval, gothic shop. Elements such as crystals, incense, herb bundles, and celestial décor will add even more magic and mystery.

Dramatic wallpaper or paint

Whimsigothic is inspired largely by authentic antique and vintage elements. Many whimsigothic inspirations, like "Charmed" and "The Craft," feature homes with dark, rich wallpaper or paint, which is why Screenshot strongly advises against white, gray, or beige walls if you're trying to achieve this look. Less is less in this case, so you can go as overboard as you're comfortable with. A damask or floral wallpaper in Victorian fashion is a great start. For those not as confident in their color-matching abilities, you can play it on the safer side with a dark, warm brown. To be a bit bolder, go for rich jewel tones, such as sapphire, ruby, amethyst, and emerald.

If wallpaper isn't your thing, there are still plenty of paint options. Again, jewel tones are a fantastic start. You can also go a little lighter with colors like sage, peach, dusty rose, or dandelion yellow — just be sure to bring in some heavier textures like velvet or leather to keep things cool and vampy. Bright Victorian shades, like those recommended by This Old House, are also a great option.

An abundance of candles

Whether you're using them to celebrate a solstice or simply add a romantic touch, incorporating a lot of candles in your home will instantly help create a witchy, whimsigothic feel. Not only does Screenshot recommend this, but almost every piece of whimsigothic media, be it a television show or movie, features candles as decorations — when they're not being used in witchy rituals, that is.

While a few scented candles aren't totally out of character, they don't exactly fit the nature of the whimsigothic aesthetic. Tall candelabras and pillar candles are more on par with the interior design trend, especially in rich brass, copper, and gold tones, or rustic silvers. Groupings of small tea lights are also appropriate. You can arrange them around your home to help highlight other items, such as crystals, books, plants, and other trinkets. You can also add them to your dining table for a magical scene. For those with a flare for the dramatic, a floor candelabra is an impressive piece to consider. 

Don't forget textiles

Textiles are an incredibly important part of whimsigothic decor. The whole aesthetic is a delicate balance of light and dark, fun and serious. Screenshot emphasizes this, saying that contrast is vital to the style. Going super gothic and heavy on the textiles will tip the scale too far on one end, but too many cottagecore and airy elements will do the same. 

For the darker elements, velvet, leather, and heavy weaves work great. A worn, dark leather couch, floor-length crushed velvet curtains, or antique wood side tables perfectly capture the style. Don't forget to balance it out, however, with lighter elements as well. Chiffon, silk, and lace will provide the necessary, airy contrast. Mixing textiles is the best to achieve a truly whimsigothic look — layer lace curtains under thick velvet drapery, or arrange a silk throw pillow against a dark leather chair.

Tapestries are another great textile to include to produce a variety of effects. For more authentic antique inspiration, you can scour yard sales and online auctions for medieval tapestries. For a more bohemian, magical effect, look for a celestial patterned tapestry, like those popularized in the '70s.