The ULTIMATE Guide to Dark/Goth Cottagecore: Aesthetic, Fashion, Decor, Books, Music, Movies & More

Post Author: Kaya Haskins

With the rise of technology and fast-paced living, society as a whole always seems to be on the go. So, how do you slow down and reset? For some, going back to the simplistic living style of 19th century Europe has become more appealing than ever before. This has led to a boom in the popularity of the cottagecore movement.

Dark or goth cottagecore, also known as cottagegore, is a crossover between the simplistic cottagecore lifestyle and the aesthetics of dark academia and witchcore. There are various other elements included in this movement, including fashion, décor, books, movies, TV shows, and certain activities.

With the number of individuals flocking to the cottagecore lifestyle, there is no wonder that other branches of this movement have begun to emerge. One of these branches, known as dark or goth cottagecore, has gained a lot of traction. But what exactly is dark cottagecore? Our article aims to give you a brief outline of the concept.

Dark Cottagecore Aesthetic

Dark cottagecore, also known as goth cottagecore or cottagegore, stems from the aesthetic and lifestyle of the well-known cottagecore movement.

Cottagecore is rooted in the idea of simple farm or rustic living and has the lifestyle to match. However, dark cottagecore adds a gothic twist to this movement and has less of a focus on rustic living. Instead, this idea is replaced with earthy, esoteric elements.

Unlike cottagecore, which reveres nature for its life-giving properties, dark cottagecore focuses on respecting the destructive properties of nature. Dark cottagecore also has less of a fairytale aesthetic and rather focuses on darker elements and incorporates folklore like witchcraft, sprits, and cryptids in place of fairies, sprites, and forest nymphs.

If you are familiar with cottagecore, you may associate this aesthetic with rainbows and sunshine and bouquets of flowers. While dark cottagecore holds a similar name to this movement, the ideologies of cottagecore are filtered very differently.

Rather, the thought of dark cottagecore should inspire thoughts of rain and fog and bushels of poisonous flowers or mushrooms.

Dark cottagecore is thought to be a crossover between the rustic and natural cottagecore lifestyle and the dark tones and aesthetic of dark academia, witchcore, and ravencore. For most individuals who take an interest in this movement, the link to dark academia does not extend past the gothic visuals that this aesthetic follows.

Despite their differences, both cottagecore and dark cottagecore have gained massive popularity in recent years. This may be a rebellion against the rush of everyday life and the fast-paced living of the cities in the 21st century.

With the world being run by consumerism and technology, the thought of returning to simple living becomes all the more appealing, and, in turn, so does the movement of dark cottagecore.

Dark Cottagecore Fashion

Cottagecore fashion is inspired by the rural living that many Europeans experienced during the 19th century. Because of cottagecore’s reverence for nature, the color palette is also heavily influenced by bright and warm earth tones like yellows, oranges, browns, and greens.

Dark cottagecore is based on the same color palette, but the colors are richer and darker than their counterparts. The dark cottagecore palette includes shades like muddy browns, mossy or forest greens, dark yellows, burnt oranges, and blacks.

Clothes are normally made from soft, breathable, and flowy fabrics like linen and cotton and usually include detailing like embroidery and lace. Styles include long dresses, overalls, and skirts paired with flowy blouses. Long-sleeve blouses are often complimented by wide sleeves.

These outfits are styled with knitted or lace socks and shoes like clogs, loafers, or boots. They are also accessorized with silver and gemstone jewelry.

People involved in the dark cottagecore lifestyle are often bare-faced but can also wear light, natural-looking makeup or darker, more gothic-looking makeup. Their hair is usually braided, in a bun, or left flowing and natural.

Dark Cottagecore Décor

Dark cottagecore décor is easy to achieve and is also inexpensive. Because of the simplicity of the cottagecore lifestyle, home décor is sparse and equally as simple.

Homes that are styled with the dark cottagecore theme in mind are usually filled with plants. Sat high on top of shelves and often placed inside bathrooms and bedrooms, these plants often have an interesting leaf pattern or darker color. Popular plants include Monsteras, succulents, and vine-like plants.

For furniture, dark cottagecore relies on upcycled or vintage items. These items can be restored or displayed as gorgeous, aged pieces in the home. Items like tables, bookshelves, tabletop décor, and mirrors are popular vintage items that suit this aesthetic.

You may also find altars or dedicated spaces for gemstones and crystals. Candles, dried and bleached flowers, and taxidermy bugs are popular decorative items.

Artwork generally consists of dark, natural scenes and esoteric wall hangings depicting mushrooms, poisonous plants, animal anatomy, and moon phases.

Dark Cottagecore Books

Dark cottagecore books usually include darker themes or inspire the need to reconnect with nature and simplistic living. They can also include themes of witchcraft and folklore.

One of the most well-known examples of cottagecore literature is Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. The novel takes place in the moors of Yorkshire, which gives off an ambiance of darkness, isolation, and overall eeriness. The book’s romance also has a darker undertone and is a far cry from the fairytale romances of other novels.

Another great example of literature that goes hand-in-hand with dark cottagecore are fairy tales as told by the Brothers Grimm. These fairytales are often much darker than the shiny, polished stories that children are told, and they deal with more adult themes. The overall creepiness of these stories mirrors the movement perfectly.

Suppose you are interested in learning about the cottagecore lifestyle and simpler, slower living. In that case, The Little Book of Cottagecore: Traditional Skills for a Simpler Life by Emily Kent is the ideal choice for you.

This book can be used as a reference for transitioning into the cottagecore lifestyle as a whole but can be changed to suit the darker side of the aesthetic.

Other dark cottagecore book recommendations include:

  • Ash – Malinda Lo
  • We Have Always Lived In The Castle – Shirley Jackson
  • The Witches Of New York – Ami McKay
  • The Scarlett Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • The Birth House – Ami McKay
  • The Outlander – Gil Adamson
  • Wolf Winter – Cecilia Ekbäck
  • Lord Of The Rings series – J.R.R Tolkien

Dark Cottagecore Movies And TV Shows

Similar to the literature, movies and TV shows that incorporate the dark cottagecore aesthetic tend to deal with darker themes, as well as paranormal and gothic elements.

With the rise in popularity of streaming services, tons of TV shows are available that suit the overall tone and feel of dark cottagecore.

One of the most popular is The Haunting Of Bly Manor, which can be streamed on Netflix. The overall paranormal themes and ambiance of the show’s setting fit perfectly with this movement’s overall tone.

Another show that has proved its popularity with fans is American Horror Story. But, more specifically, the sixth season, titled American Horror Story: Roanoke, includes scenery and imagery that is tailored toward the darker side of country living.

Of course, there are also several movies that can be categorized as dark cottagecore. These movies include:

  • Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
  • Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)
  • Sleepy Hollow (1999)
  • The Blair Witch Project (1999)
  • The Cabin In The Woods (2011)
  • The Secret Garden (1993)
  • Little Women (2019)
  • The Secret of Roan Inish (1994)

Dark Cottagecore Activities

Because dark cottagecore is not only an aesthetic but a lifestyle as well, you may be wondering what kinds of activities this lifestyle would entail.

Dark cottagecore is rooted in nature and simple living, so it may not come as a surprise that many of the activities don’t include technology but rather things like crafting, foraging, and gardening.

Forest Bathing

Forest bathing, also known as shinrin-yoku is a Japanese relaxation technique that has become widely practiced among individuals that practice the cottagecore lifestyle. This technique involves walking through nature as a form of meditation.

But how does forest bathing work? Firstly, you will need to find a location that you can connect to. Because cottagecore can often involve living in simple homes that are far removed from cities and towns, this practice usually takes place in a quiet place outside of their home.

When forest bathing, your body will be your guide. You will need to tap into your senses and use them to lead you on your meditation journey.

There is no destination and no set path. By connecting to nature and syncing your body and mind to the natural vibrations around you, you will be able to follow your instincts rather than your head.

By breathing in the nature around you, you can reset your mind and body. Be sure to take your time – forest bathing is all about slowing down and decompressing.

You can also enjoy forest bathing without having to walk. You can reap the same benefits that forest bathing offers by enjoying activities like outdoor meditation or yoga.


The cottagecore lifestyle relies on self-sufficiency, and this can include farming and gardening your food. Studying plants, their benefits, and their medicinal properties are all part of understanding and appreciating what you are planting.

Foraging is also a big part of this rustic lifestyle. Individuals that are fully committed to this movement often grow, pick, and dry their own plants and herbs that they use in homemade remedies and tinctures.

A big part of gardening is being able to grow the herbs, fruits, and vegetables that you will need to become self-sufficient. These fresh ingredients are then used for baking and cooking using only homegrown and whole foods.


Because the cottagecore lifestyle promotes the idea of simple living, many individuals who follow this movement enjoy unplugging and relaxing with a non-electronic form of entertainment.

Reading is a great way to de-stress and can help you to sharpen your mind and be present in the moment. And, because you are able to take your book with you, you can also use it as a way to reconnect with nature.

By taking a book with you and enjoying the sunshine, fresh air, and sounds and smells of nature, you can enjoy the mental health benefits of nature while you relax.


Another great pastime is getting creative and making something using different skills, and one of the most cottagecore-related pastimes is getting crafty and making something using your unlimited creative potential.

Activities like sewing, knitting, embroidering, candle-making, painting, drawing, and writing are closely linked to the cottagecore lifestyle. This is because the quietness of rustic living frees up your time to pursue more creative and productive talents.

Not only can you work on improving the skills that you currently have, but you can also take the time to start a new hobby. That is the beauty of slow living!

Dark Cottagecore Architecture

Dark cottagecore architecture harkens back to the cottages and farmhouses of 19th century rural England. Homes that adhere to the dark cottagecore aesthetic are generally made of brick or stone and have a simple floor plan.

These homes are often classified as farmhouses, cottages, and cabins and are normally smaller than the average home you would find in a city or town. This is closely linked to the idea of simple living because cottagecore homes are sparsely decorated and generally only contain the bare necessities.

The architecture includes thatched rooves, farm-style windows and doors, shutters, and wooden fixtures. And although the houses themselves are small, they are usually surrounded by a large open plot of land covered in lush lawns and green gardens.


Dark cottagecore is a unique mix between the simple living of cottagecore and the aesthetic of dark academia mixed with earthy, esoteric elements. By better understanding the concept of dark or goth cottagecore, you can get one step closer to fully embracing the movement and enjoying slow, rustic living.