Hot trends: What is whimsigothic and how to use it in your home

Every so often, a trend comes along that we’re really drawn to, like whimsigothic. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but we think it looks tremendous fun. Here’s everything you need to know about it. To find the right home accessories to complete the look, check out our Top 10 Whimsigothic accessories guide.

What is whimsigothic?

As the name suggests, it’s an amalgamation of ‘whimsical’ (playfully quaint or fanciful, especially in an appealing and amusing way) and ‘gothic’ (either gothic architecture, or gothic interior design which involves lots of ornate decoration and dark, rich colours). Think gothic colours and styles but with a lighter touch. The term ‘whimsigothic’ was coined by Evan Collins, co-founder of the Consumer Aesthetics Research Institute (CARI), an online community dedicated to developing a visual lexicon of consumer ephemera from the 1970s onwards.

How do I get the whimsigothic look?

Celestial images are a key part of the whimsigothic trend. Photo (c) Pixabay

Essentially, it’s all about bringing a little magic to your living space. Use celestial motifs like moons, stars, constellations and zodiacs which are associated with luck, love, and protection. Base colours should be dark and rich, such as burgandy, navy and forest green. To avoid the whole decor looking dark, pair accessories with light, neutral walls and lots of natural light.

Apothecary jars and ‘magical’ symbols such as black cats, bunches of herbs and a pestle and mortar will help to create the right atmosphere. Look for vintage elements such as old bottles and antique glass to add depth and texture.

With whimsigothic, you can never have too many candles! Candlelight creates exactly the right look and feel. Ideally, use candles in proper candlesticks rather than tealights. Candlesticks should be in rich metallics, coloured glass, bright jewel tones or crystal. Tall, floor standing candlesticks in dark corners create a dramatic effect – just make sure you use non-drip candles if you don’t fancy cleaning lots of wax up!

Use lots of textural elements such as velvet, tapestry, coarse linen and leather for contrast. If you can use lots of textural elements at once, so much the better – for example, mix velvet with lace or leather with silk. Similarly, combine classic, vintage style with an unexpected twist. For example, if you can source a traditional wingback chair, try covering it with lace and velvet throws or painting the legs in bright, jewel colours, metallics or dark hues. Whimsigothic is the ideal trend if you love to root through antique shops and source vintage accessories.

You’ll also need lots of houseplants. These help to add texture, but also serve to upplay the ‘whimsical’ element and stop the aesthetic looking too ‘house of horror’.

Love candles? This is the trend for you! Image (c) Pixabay

The trend is huge, particularly on social media, as it’s so visually appealing. The magical and celestial elements offer an escape from the normality of everyday life and add a touch of tun to the ordinary. Whimsigothic inspirations include Fleetwood Mac frontwoman Stevie Nicks, actress Helena Bonham-Carter and the 90s TV shows Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Charmed.

This is a trend when more is definitely more, so think maximalist – why use two throws per chair when three will do?! Painting stars and moons on your ceiling is a quirky way to tap into the trend, and can be easily painted over if you find it too much! Use celestial images, such as the embroideries in our main image from Makebox, on cushions, tableware and throws for a budget way to dip your toe in.

With its joyous abundance and quirky accessories, we think whimsigothic is here to stay – at least for now.

For more inspiration, search the hashtag #whimsigothic on social media.

Main image shows The Man in the Moon and Moth embroidery kits from Makebox, £25.99.

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