Tortured Poets Department is here — design pros share how to nail the "timeless" aesthetic of Taylor Swift's latest era at home

The style of Tortured Poets Department is dark academia (Taylor's version). Our experts reveal how to channel the vibes in your space

Taylor Swift performs during "Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour" at the National Stadium on March 02, 2024 in Singapore in a white dress on a moody, antique-like stage
(Image credit: Ashok Kumar/TAS24/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management)

The moment has come, Swifties: Tortured Poets Department has arrived, ushering us into a new Taylor Swift era not just musically, but stylistically, too.

The pop star's latest album sports a moody, academic vibe, reminiscent of famed wordsmiths penning tales of love and loss (someone might want to check in on Swift's ex, Joe Alwyn). Our design pros reveal how to channel the look at home.

If you're ready to nail dark decorating ideas (Taylor's version), our interior designers have the answers — think vintage typewriters, quills, and heavy notebooks filled with glossy black ink. Let's dive in.

How to get the Tortured Poets Department' look at home

Whether you're mapping out small office upgrades or embracing dark academia in other areas of your home, Taylor Swift's new album will no doubt help spark those creative juices. 

A library-esque Spotify pop-up has just been unveiled in Los Angeles, California, to celebrate the album release, and it's every English major's dream — and those ideas are easy to copy when making tweaks in your space. 

"It's clear Taylor is embracing a somber and neutral aesthetic for this album, along the lines of her Folklore and Evermore eras," says Real Homes deputy editor Emily Lambe, the team's resident Swiftie. "Channel some dark academia vibes and turn your space into a tortured poet's library with a few decor items that represent the passage of time — a wooden clock, dried flowers, and statue busts."

Ready to get started?

Prices were correct at time of publishing.

1. Choose the right color

The best colors to paint a small office (and beyond) when going for an academic vibe are moody hues. 

"Opt for deep shades of burgundy, navy blue, forest green, and rich plum to create a sense of drama and introspection," says interior designer Nina Lichtenstein

Emily also suggests playing with charcoal gray tones and adding dimension with brass accent pieces. 

2. Add vintage elements

Folks, it's time to get your #ThriftTok on. 

"Seek out antique and vintage furniture pieces and decor items to capture the timeless and romantic allure of Taylor's aesthetic," Nina adds. "Look for ornate mirrors, vintage typewriters, old books, musical instruments, and distressed wooden furniture to infuse your space with a sense of history and nostalgia."

Emily suggests accentuating the area with items like lace textiles, bird cages, and globes. The CALIDAKA Geographic Antique Globe from Amazon and the Stratton Home Decor Farmhouse Wood and Metal Birdcage from Walmart are good starting points. 

"And of course, don't forget a typewriter and a fountain pen to write down your own poetry," she adds. 

3. Create a book nook

As any good poet knows, styling a book nook is a necessity when embracing an academic look. Where else are you supposed to read and feel inspired?

"Arrange a comfortable armchair or chaise lounge with soft cushions and throws," Nina says. "Add a vintage floor lamp for atmospheric lighting and stack books of poetry or Taylor's albums nearby for inspiration."

4. Choose warm lighting

And of course, you'll want to top off your Tortured Poets Department look with the proper lighting. 

"Enhance the ambiance with soft lighting and candles to create a warm and inviting atmosphere," Nina says. "Use string lights, table lamps with fabric shades, and scented candles to add a touch of romance and intimacy to your Tortured Poets Department-inspired home."

Our guide of the best scented candles can point you in the proper direction for a blissful olfactory experience.

Meet our experts

Emily Lambe
Emily Lambe

Emily is the deputy digital editor at Real Homes and our resident Swifty. Emily is a pro at finding the latest decor trends, inspirational ideas, and the budget-friendly small space buys. She lives in an apartment and makes the most of her compact space using accent pieces for added visual intrigue. When she's not writing, she's usually doing yoga, eating chocolate, or working on her skincare routine.

A picture of Nina Lichtenstein, a woman wearing a green jumpsuit
Nina Lichtenstein

When Nina Lichtenstein designs a home, it is more than just a house. It is a haven. One tailored to a family's distinctive tastes, daily rituals, special gatherings, and long-term dreams. It is a nest from which to launch lives and make memories for generations to come. Her use of diverse textures and elegant blends of stone, wood, and other natural materials are part of her signature style.

Love all things Taylor? We've asked the experts for Taylor Swift decor ideas for her every era, if you're feeling more Reputation or Fearless, than Tortured Poets Department.

Danielle Valente
Content Editor

Pleasure to meet you! I'm Danielle, a content editor at Real Homes who loves scoping out interior trends. I've specialized in lifestyle writing and editing for 10 years with a focus on events, food, and books, among other areas. When I'm not working, I'm usually cooking, reading, or searching for a new project for my apartment.