What is dark cottagecore? The edgier version of the trend, explained

Say hello to this alternative cottagecore look, which elevates the style with a gothic twist

A picture of a desk with dark cottagecore decor on a green background
(Image credit: @talesbeneaththetrees)
Dark Cottagecore: Quick Menu

If you like the nature-inspired trend but prefer edgier decor, you’re going to love dark cottagecore. This is a gothic twist on the popular aesthetic, which has all the nature hallmarks wrapped in bundles of darkness.

I’m a big fan of the normal take on the trend and have a lot of decor in my home that draws on it. That being said, it is very spring and summery. For cooler seasons, when the weather is darker and the leaves are browner, I think that dark cottagecore is a much cozier alternative.

Want to know more about this different take on cottagecore? I’ve sought out expert advice on what the style is, how it differs from regular cottagecore, and how to decorate with it. As well as this, I’ve picked out some gorgeous buys, so you can get the look at home.

Your dark cottagecore questions, answered

If you’re less of a Snow White and more of an Evil Queen, this alternative cottagecore style could work really well for your home. Pinterest is absolutely obsessed with it, as it’s a great fall decor idea. Here's everything you need to know...

What is dark cottagecore? 

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First of all, what does it exactly mean? “Dark cottagecore, also known as goth cottagecore, draws inspiration from fairy tales and nature, but with a focus on a gothic forest lifestyle,” explains Omri Schwartz, interior design expert and manager of NYC-based rug company Nazmiyal Rugs. “You can channel your witchy side when decorating your bedroom or home with a dark cottagecore aesthetic as if you're the sinister character in a fairy tale.” 

A picture of Omri Schwartz, in a pink shirt with a rug in the background
Omri Schwartz

Omri Schwartz is an interior design expert and manager of Nazmiyal Rugs, which is located in Midtown Manhattan in New York City. It holds one of the world's largest collections of antique rugs and has been in business since 1980.

What makes dark cottagecore different to regular cottagecore? 

Instead of being all pastels and soft textures, dark cottagecore has much more attitude. “Where traditional cottagecore is all about light wood, English countryside decor elements, and sweet femininity, dark cottagecore is more like a fairytale cabin in a mystical wood,” explains interior designer Kathy Kuo

A picture of Kathy Kuo in a kitchen with a blue top on
Kathy Kuo

Kathy Kuo is an interior design expert and founder of Kathy Kuo Home, which is a premiere e-destination with a beautifully curated collection of luxury furniture and decor. Kathy Kuo Home also offers an interior design services menu.

How to decorate with dark cottagecore decor? 

When bringing the look into your home, there are a few key design elements to keep in mind. “Think enigmatic curios, rich, dark wood pieces, and nature-themed decor like crystals, stones, and dried florals,” says Kuo. 

Don’t be afraid to go slightly spookier with the decor style — although you’ll need to balance this out with the natural elements, so it doesn’t just look like Halloween decor. “For decorations, you might use cobwebs or dried plants surrounded by dark furniture and wall hangings,” adds Nazmiyal. “When it comes to lighting, you could go for a candlelit feel, using pillar candles in varying shapes and sizes.” These are great for creating that cozy ambiance that sets dark cottagecore apart from its girlier sister.

Get the dark cottagecore look with these buys

Want to bring the dark cottagecore fantasy into your place? These six buys are all stylish ways to do just that. 

The prices below were correct at the time of publishing this article. 

Now you know how to decorate with dark cottagecore, you may be wondering about other edgier decor styles. If you like balancing darkness and personality, whimisgoth could also be a trend that you want to try. 

Eve Smallman
Content Editor

Hi there! I’m a content editor at Real Homes. I've been a lifestyle journalist for over five years, previously working as an editor across regional magazines. Before this, I graduated from Nottingham Trent University a degree in journalism, along with an NCTJ gold diploma. I love running, decorating my rented Victorian home, and discovering new cheeses. For Real Homes, I specialize in interior design, trends and finding the best viral buys.