I love using this blog as a creative outlet, where not-so-common possibilities can become real, and Dark Academia style nail ideas are one of them! I already made an entire post about the Dark Academia aesthetic, which is a complete lifestyle guide for those who feel drawn to the visuals of this aesthetic. Now, I’ll quickly remind you here in case you do not know what it is.

The Dark Academia Aesthetic:

  • Dark Academia Aesthetic is a visual set of elements that expresses and represents a preppy, vintage, academic and slightly gothic and dark lifestyle.
  • The main colors of dark academia are: brown, black, and beige.
  • The prints and patterns that form the identity of dark academia are Checked, houndstooth, and plaid.

This basic aesthetic is enough for creative minds to create original nail designs that reinforce the dark academia identity of the outfit.

๐Ÿ•ฐ Dark Academia Outfits to Channel Your Inner Old-Poet Soul

Of course, any black, brown, burgundy, or beige nail polish will be enough to reinforce this aesthetic, but in this post, I want to bring even more possibilities!

AI Disclosure: In 2024 I started mixing real photos, maintaining the essence of The Mood Guide in promoting the most talented creators in the universe of Instagram aesthetics, with images generated with artificial intelligence to expand possibilities beyond what I find on the internet, in addition of being able to bring original content using my imagination (I’m a designer!)


French tips dark academia nails

Classics are classics for a reason: they are never out of fashion. French tips are a classic nail design, as well as the dark academia aesthetic appeals to a classic, antique style, making this a gorgeous combination.

Brown and beige tips are a very simple way to keep the dark academia aesthetic manicure simple yet creative.

minimal fall nails

๐Ÿ‚ Fall Nails: 110+ Simple Ideas & Trendy Art Designs For A Cute Autumn Manicure

brown and beige fall academia nails

Dark red with gold tips. I love how this gave me big dark academia vibes without being too cliche.

I think there is a mix of vampiric and earthy energy to this shade of red, and the almost perspective line of gold evokes the preppy academia sophistication.

dark red with gold nails for fall or vampire academia aesthetic
๐Ÿ“ท Instagram / @luxe.nail113
brown and gold minimalist cute dark academia nails that are perfect for a chic aesthetic minimalist manicure
๐Ÿ“ท Instagram / @luxe.nail113

As you can see below, black and white Frenchies are also a classic that looks nice for simple and darker academia nail art.

black and beige french tips winter nails
๐Ÿ“ท Instagram / @lachouette__mina

Another combination that is significantly authentic, brown and navy blue! The two nails below mix the preppy and antique energy of the dark academia.

fall dark blue and brown preppy dark academia aesthetic, simple and minimalist french tips fro fall and winter
๐Ÿ“ท Instagram / @yuuho___eel
dark blue and brown dark academia nails for fall and autumn on short aesthetic nails
๐Ÿ“ท Instagram / @yuuho___eel

Checkered, Plaid, and Houndstooth Dark Academia Nails

The traditional patterns in the Dark Academia aesthetic. Checkered and plaid prints are everywhere, from skirt to sweater prints, and why not on a dark academia-inspired nail?

This all-brown manicure on cute short nails with one single checkered nail with a 3d effect is very authentic.

cute brown dark academia nail
๐Ÿ“ท Instagram / @

Here we have a creative mix of ombre nails with checkered singles that are original and inspired by the Asian manis.

cute dark academia nails on almond short nails
๐Ÿ“ท Instagram / @lachouette__mina

A matte finish is always an amazing idea.

dark academia nail art with checkered black and brown design on short nails
๐Ÿ“ท Instagram / @ellzabethm

Minimalism, creativity, and good taste and this combination of browns and simple checkered pattern.

short, ombre checkred and minimalist nail art for dark academia aesthetic, fall and autumn
๐Ÿ“ท Instagram / @_gelcoco

Here I asked AI for a very traditional and fall-inspired dark academia nail design.

classic dark academia aesthetic nail design. Checkered, on long nails
AI + The Mood Guide

All black and white is a classic.

๐Ÿ“ท Instagram / @aki___nailart

Darker and colder shades of green also suit nicely for dark academia nails, especially in winter.

โ„๏ธ 31 Classy Winter Nails To Try Right Now.

black white and green dark academia nails for fall and winter
๐Ÿ“ท Instagram / @aki___nailart

I wanted an idea for something that a dark academia gothic vampire person would love. So I came up with these red and black AI-generated long nails with a houndstooth pattern and finished with silver glitter.

The Mood Guide + AI

Ombre dark academia nails

Ombre from brown to beige also gives a big dark academia and fall vibe and also suits well the light academia aesthetic when there is a highlight to the beige neutrality and elegance.

brown and beige fall dark academia and light academia ombre nail design
๐Ÿ“ท Instagram / @yuuho___eel
ombre academia beige and brown fall nails
๐Ÿ“ท Instagram / @yuuho___eel

Minimalist dark academia nails

The appropriate shade of nail polish is enough for an efficient dark academia mood on your manicure.

This muted grey, almost black is perfect.

dark brown grey long fall nail design
๐Ÿ“ท Instagram / @omyu_nail

This one is divine and is so simple. Brown nails, when well done are so chic, and this cool mix of matte and gel is amazing.

elegant chic fall dark academia brown nails with matte finish
๐Ÿ“ท Instagram / @aki___nailart
๐Ÿ“ท Instagram / @heygreatnails
aesthetic fall winter academia nails
๐Ÿ“ท Instagram / @meloo_nails

In conclusion, aesthetic nails (Dark academia-inspired, in this case) are a fun way to start evoking any lifestyle into your life. It’s a creative and fun way to feel more connected to things that make sense to you, regardless of what is trendy.

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