Try the Ethereal Aesthetic to Help Any Room Feel Lighter and Brighter

Channel a romantic, bright energy with delicate details and airy materials.

Billowing sleeves, flowy skirts, and pretty prints have all flounced down the runways recently, signaling a romantic revival for fashion and home decor alike (rom-com core, anyone?), with a focus on ethereal fabrics and airy looks. In its annual predictions report, Pinterest even said that the ethereal aesthetic will be one of the most significant forces in fashion this year, and we think this trend is going to transcend clothing and float right into our homes in the form of decor. 

White living room with textured walls and soft pink furnishings

Better Homes & Gardens

But how do you take a trend from your closet and create a cohesive design for a room? From delicate fabrics to a soft and soothing color scheme, read on to see how you can add a dose of ethereal inspiration to your home.

Bedroom with canopy bed and billowy white curtains

John Merkl

What Is the Ethereal Aesthetic?

The ethereal aesthetic is about creating an airy and soft feeling in a space. This can be achieved through dainty fabrics like lace and tulle, as well as calming colors and details that bring in a shimmering, otherworldly look.

“To me, ethereal conjures imagery of light, freeness,” says Michelle Finkelshteyn, designer and founder of Interiors by Michelle.

There are a few reasons this lovely look is trending now. Taking a fashion trend and applying it to our decor makes a lot of sense, as the same cultural cues that influence fashion also affect interior design. Plus, many people want their styles to be consistent across their life to create a harmonious feeling and a cohesive aesthetic, so it’s not surprising that, if we’re dressing in a particular look, we’ll often want our decor to reflect that taste, too.

Additionally, with the ethereal aesthetic, there’s an element of hopefulness. The style is bright, clean, and fresh, with a sweet simplicity that has a clear appeal after a few years of uncertainty and heaviness. The white that’s so predominant in the aesthetic also signals a new start that many people are looking for now. And for those who don’t care for the moody colors of looks like light and dark academia and whimsigoth, the ethereal aesthetic can offer a lighter, brighter alternative.

Pink and white bedroom with delicate finishes

Anthony Masterson

How to Bring the Ethereal Look Home

You don’t have to transform your home into a white space filled solely with delicate furnishings and billowing curtains to apply this trend (though, if that feels authentic to you, you certainly can!).

In fact, Finkelshteyn cautions against taking this look (and any trends) too far. “I view trends—be it in fashion or interior design—as fleeting inspirations. We really shouldn’t follow them completely, but rather incorporate elements into existing classic spaces,” she says. “Add small elements, such as accent pillows, cashmere throws, and area rugs, that speak to a current trend. Those touches can then be swapped out,” she says, as trends and your style change over time.

The ethereal aesthetic is all about creating a feeling of lightness, and you can add that feeling to your home in as large or as small a way as you want. To add a dose of freshness to your space, create a soothing color palette, but remember that bright and light doesn’t just mean stark white. You can create a cozier and more dynamic feel by incorporating shades of cream and ivory, as well as pastels with warm undertones. Shades like this are also very versatile, so they’re a great neutral backdrop for various styles, should your taste change in the future.

Take the same blended, measured approach to textures to create that ethereal look. While gauzy fabrics might be your first thought, there are other ways to create softness with unexpected materials that also add dimension.

“I would suggest adding a silk or light-colored cashmere throw to a hard surface—for example, an entry console,” Finkelshteyn says. You could also add a lace topper over an existing table cover to create unique layers, she suggests. Try pairing diaphanous sheers with another opaque fabric for a window treatment that touches on this flowy trend without taking it over the top.

Dreamy details round out the ethereal look. Consider adding touches of things that sparkle and shimmer, like a playful sequined pillow or an elegant cut crystal vase. And for a final touch of freshness, you can’t go wrong with white flowers—real or faux—to pull your ethereal space together.

Whether the ethereal aesthetic speaks to your soul or you’re just dabbling in the design of the day, this exquisite and fanciful trend can bring a new lightness to your space. Go all-in or just incorporate some dainty details: This look is yours to interpret.

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