inspiration4 min read

Interior trends: modern gothic decor

Modern gothic living room

WordsMegan Lambert


With the start of the spooky season, we’re taking a closer look at one of our favourite interior trends: modern gothic decor. From luxurious fabrics to a love of vintage, this trend is so much more than just dark and moody color palettes. No, you don’t have to live in a converted church or a crumbling castle to embrace it. Today, the modern gothic trend is taking homes across the country by storm.

What is the history behind modern gothic decor?

Here’s a good history exam question for you: what’s the difference between gothic, neo-gothic, and modern gothic? Fortunately, we’re not here to test you. In fact, we’re giving you all the answers. ‘Gothic’ refers to a style between the mid-12th and 16th centuries. An architectural practice popularised across Europe, it was mainly used when constructing cathedrals and castles. Think cavernous ceilings, intricate masonry, enormous stain glass windows and a few gargoyles for good measure. It was made infamous by Bram Stoker’s detailed description of Dracula’s castle: its great round arches and iron-studded stone doors. 

‘Neo-gothic’, on the other hand, refers to the 19th-century revival of this medieval Gothic style. Gorgeous examples are the Natural History Museum, with its bestial “gargoyles” and St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel—next to the train station—both in London. 

And then, bringing us right up to the current day, we have the modern gothic decor trend.

What is modern gothic decor?

Just as the Victorians went a bit mad for all things gothic, we’re reinventing this decor trend to suit today’s needs. Modern gothic decor isn’t quite as fussy and cluttered as its counterparts. It embraces both old and new design elements whilst emphasising the quirky, the unexpected, and the weird. Don’t be surprised to find anything from a neon ‘memento mori’ skull candle to an antique crucifix hung above a functional home office in a modern gothic house. If there’s one thing modern gothic decor isn’t, it’s boring.

Characteristics of the modern gothic decor

Modern gothic decor style: a dark and moody color palette

A big part of nailing the modern gothic decor trend is getting your color palette right. But that doesn’t have to mean floor-to-ceiling black on black. Think about rich colors, like dark purples, dark greens and even accents of light blues, reds or pinks. You could even paint your walls in a lighter paint color, like greige or taupe, paired with Black 01 or Black 02 woodwork. If you are thinking of going black, take a look at our guide on everything you need to know about black paint.

To get you started, take a look at our example of a modern gothic color palette below:

Example of gothic colour palette

Modern gothic decor style: a love of vintage

From rustic furnishing to vintage lamps, the modern gothic decor trend is all about all things vintage. Think red leather Chesterfield style sofas, frilled lampshades, framed curios, animal print, and Victoriana nick-nacks. It’s intricate, ornate, and has a lot in common with the Maximalist decor trend. It’s definitely a ‘more is more’ style. If you’re going for a modern gothic style living room, you want to make sure you’ve got yourself an elaborate fireplace, working or not, and in the bedroom, think about going for an oversized, Rococo-style bed.

Contrasting old and new design elements

The fireplace, the lights, the bar, the Black 02 walls: @littleedwardian provides a perfect example of mixing new and old design elements to create a modern gothic decor style. This living room feels curated without being cluttered. The enormous gilded gold mirror and emerald green armchair—not to mention ram’s head—are the perfect accents in this gorgeous modern gothic home.