Dark Leather Decor Is the Sophisticated Look Sweeping Through Homes

Channeling an on-trend preppy heritage look but with the comforting familiarity of traditional decorating styles, dark leather decor truly has it all.

Sofa wing back chairs living room
Photo: Werner Straube

Since its meteoric rise to popularity, TikTok has become a key source of emerging trends. The visual nature of the site means bold designs often get the most views because the videos are so arresting. Take the dark academia and bibliophile styles currently popular on TikTok: These styles feature dark, dramatic color schemes; massive, oversized bookshelves; and at times, an almost gothic feel. While these styles are beautiful, they can feel a little intimidating when you’re looking for a trend to translate into your own home, especially if you’re just looking for a minor overhaul.

Bold designs like dark academia and bibliophile decor can seem intense, but when you take a closer look, many of the signature elements of these trends are rooted in the hallmarks of classic decor. Deep warm tones and traditional patterns are perpetually in style, and the preppy heritage look they draw from has gained popularity both online and off as people gravitate toward the comfort of more traditional home designs.

So how do you get inspiration from viral fads without going overboard? You pull out the bits and pieces from a trend that work with your home and integrate it into your style.

One of the key pieces across all these trends is elements of dark leather. Leather furniture brings the depth and dimension of dark academia and bibliophile decor to a space without overwhelming your home.

And dark leather can transcend these themes, as well. Paired with shades of ocher and avocado, suddenly, a leather couch looks perfectly midcentury modern. Placed in a crisp, creamy room, a deep brown sofa gives balance and warmth, creating a more contemporary take on farmhouse style. In fact, this classic couch can work its way into just about any decor scheme, proving dark leather decor just might be the perfect small-scale trend to try right now.

rustic brown living room with leather sofa

Victoria Pearson

Why Dark Leather Pieces Are Trending Now

Because social media allows people to put their spin on trends, looks evolve, and often smaller, more subtle (and sometimes more practical) trends emerge. This is certainly the case with dark leather furniture, which initially gained popularity as an offshoot of the bolder dark academia and bibliophile but has become its own trend.

Smooth leather in rich, dark tones instantly evokes an atmosphere of sophistication and, paired with things like floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and dark woods, creates a classic look very much in line with the old money and maximalist trends. The darker colors that leather pieces come in are also popular with cozy decor, making them a design piece that resonates with many current styles.

After years of cool grays, browns and beiges are now the most popular neutrals to decorate with because they create a warm, comforting color palette for the home.

“I’m also seeing a return to darker tones in general, from leather and woods to accessories,” says Javier Burkle, founder and principal of Burkle Creative.

Beyond chasing current trends, more people are also looking for pieces with longevity.

“We’re seeing more and more people choosing a timeless, less trendy feel for their space,” says Burkle. A leather couch or oversized chair fits squarely into this desire for pieces that will stand the test of time.

Modern House Insterior with Leather Sofa
asbe / Getty Images

How to Incorporate Dark Leather Decor into Your Home

If you want to try this trend, you’re in luck; leather pieces are incredibly versatile, so they can work with a number of different styles.

“Leather pieces have a very old-school vibe (which I love!), and they work in so many rooms around the house,” Burkle says.

Leather furniture’s flexibility also means that it’s an easy update to add into your current design scheme.

“I use leather as a neutral,” Burkle says. “It works well with just about anything! In my own home and throughout my personal style, I love pairing a deep leather piece with other rich, darker colors—I adore the juxtaposition of a masculine vibe with jewel-toned colors and patterns. Interiors with rich brown tones and tans paired with monochromatic textures and palettes also creates a really special look.”

white living room brown sofas
Kritsada Panichgul

If you are planning to do a larger update, think of leather furniture as a perfect jumping-off point for your design scheme.

“Look at a beautiful, dark leather piece as a base to start with as you layer additional colors and textures. A neutral leather sofa or chair is a great foundation to begin with before adding in fun (even seasonally rotating!) pillows, rugs, and draperies,” Burkle suggests.

Most importantly, don’t be afraid to step outside the design box and make leather pieces your own. Burkle says that it’s all about making this trend work for you and not being afraid to flaunt convention.

“I personally adore an eclectic mix of pieces throughout a home, and it’s fun to see more and more people are stepping away from just one style or trend for their homes and, instead, opt for a collected look that really reflects their individuality and story. A dark leather furniture piece or accessory brings a unique sense of balance to any room and color palette, grounding the space and giving it a unique sense of depth,” he says. 

So, if you’re looking for a quick way to test the water with some of the year’s biggest design styles, try adding a little leather to your home. You just may find it’s the perfect starting point for your updated design dreams.

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