Ethereal Aesthetic Decor and Design
The ethereal aesthetic (sometimes called fairycore aesthetic) awakens something inside us. It’s a reminder that there’s more to life than meets the eye. When done right, this aesthetic can pull you from reality.
It’s subtle yet powerful, stirring up feelings of ineffable, unexplainable wonder. No aesthetics speak to that deep sense of enchantment quite like an ethereal one.
Maybe you felt it frequently as a child, but from adolescence into adulthood, the wonder slowly disappeared. New, less pleasant feelings began to take its place: tension from hours upon hours of studying or the stress of never-ending workloads.
Perhaps, the feeling still shows up and surprises you in small moments. The way the sun penetrates the boughs of a pine tree on a misty morning, soft rays of light filtering through the branches.
It’s not until you hear the impatient honk from the car behind you that you snap out of it and realize the light has turned green.
How do you recapture the magic?
If you would like to reintroduce a little magic to your life, you can achieve that by incorporating an ethereal aesthetic into your decor.
If you’re not quite sure where to start, here’s an excellent tip:
Think about the elements.
Specifically, think about the subtle, softer ways in which you can express them. Remember, there is no right or wrong way of doing this.
You can choose pieces that serve a practical purpose, as well as ones that inspire you. Showcase your favorite things.
Select objects you find beautiful, and that when you see them, remind you that life is still mysterious and wonderful. Search indie stores on Etsy if you’re looking for unique items.
The suggestions here are a means of helping you get started. Pick the ones you love, and use them as inspiration to get your mind going. Pull inspiration from the sky, pastel clouds, or the light from the full moon.
Draw from your personal experiences.
Now, let’s look at the four elements: earth, water, fire, and air, and see how you can include
aspects of them into your home.
See also: Our Full Guide to Interior Design
Incorporating aspects of the earth can help you feel grounded. It is home to various landscapes, some lush and dense in foliage and others more arid and open.
What areas are you drawn to?
Do you love forests, or prefer the desert?
Think of everything that grows, as well as rocks and minerals that have formed. Consider the colors found in nature that you find especially pleasing.
Take the Canyonlands in Utah, for example; those have a vast array of oranges, reds, with some yellow and even little splashes of green.
What type are you drawn to?
Where do you feel the most magic?
It’s ok to incorporate more than one landscape, too.
Crystals and other precious rocks come in so many sizes, shapes, and colors.
Use larger ones as bookends, group smaller ones together for display, or tuck them in the soil of a potted plant.
Some people believe that crystals come with unique healing properties and that they hold the capacity to improve our energy levels and overall well-being. Whether that’s something you believe or not, it can’t hurt to have them around.
The aesthetic pastel colors of rose quartz and amethyst bring a fairytale feel to your environment.
Plants will give your space an immediate boost. Put a few in an otherwise drab room, and it’s immediately transformed, making it inviting and homey.
With so many to choose from, consider the upkeep. Pothos plants and other ivy types are low-maintenance, and the way they grow adds to an ethereal aesthetic.
You can put them high on a shelf and enjoy how they drape down the sides. Or you can hang them from a macramé plant hanger, attaching it to the ceiling or from a curtain rod.
A simple way of incorporating an ethereal element into your space is through flowers.
- You can include freshly cut flowers, dried flowers, and pressed flowers
- Pictures or art prints containing flowers
- Floral patterns work well too
Pick what works best for you.
Driftwood adds to the ethereal through the intricate ways nature has carved and preserved it.
It is stunning on its own, but if you’re feeling exceptionally creative, you can re-pot little succulent plants in any deviations within the wood and add tiny crystals as well.
You can also carve out a space so it can serve as a candle holder (for battery-operated candles, of course).
Add a cozy textured natural element to the ethereal aesthetic with sheepskin.
You don’t have to buy actual sheepskin; many faux fur options are available.
Knitted or fuzzy blankets, especially when layered, create a similar feel.
Water sustains life, so it’s not surprising that we feel drawn to it. For many, a vacation isn’t really a vacation unless there’s a body of water nearby.
Whether it’s listening to the sound of the waves, or the trickle of a tiny waterfall, listening to and being near water invites us to relax.
Are you someone who loves to lay on the beach, taking in the soothing rhythm of the ocean as the sun warms your skin and a slight breeze blows sand over your legs?
Or do you love nothing more than watching a river, admiring the curves and bends formed over time by the steady rush of water as it moves past you?
This is an excellent way to introduce the soothing sounds of water to your home.
You can buy small ones powered by electricity, which cycle the water. There are many different types and sizes. Some can include plants; other fountains come in a more sculptural design.
These are not only decorative; they are also practical.
Try using iridescent abalone shells as soap dishes or to store jewelry. String shells up on mobiles or group together as a little display.
Search Etsy to see if any shell creations catch your eye.
Art allows you to bring some harder-to-capture water-related ethereal elements into your home. Think misty mornings, the sunlight caught in individual rays, the juxtaposition of the two coming together creating a magical, dreamy landscape.
Watercolor, such as a painting of lilies on a little pond or a lighthouse in a storm, invites your imagination to see through the blurred edges, adding to the artist’s creation. You can find one-of-a-kind pieces on Etsy or even paint your own.
Have you taken any photos, say from a hike to a lake where you captured the light from the afternoon sun flickering on the ripples of water?
You can print those, have them framed, and hang them on your wall. Search online for companies that can take your nature photography and enlarge them into professional-looking art prints.
We often associate fire with passion, and it has the ability to transform the mood. Time flies when spent with loved ones sitting around a campfire. Long after the sun has set and the stars glitter overhead, the campfire is that centerpiece that grounds everyone in the moment.
A candle in the center of the table at a restaurant makes the whole experience seem so much more special. When using fire to add the ethereal aesthetic to your home, remember to be mindful and exercise safety.
We all know how candles can create a special ambiance like none other.
Infuse a dark space with the warm flickering light of a candle, and you immediately feel warm and cozy. The candle flame makes the room seem much more special than it would otherwise feel.
You can choose plain glass or solid candleholders with designs carved on the side that light up and glow when you place a lit candle in the center.
Add some extra magic to your space. Fairy lights (aka string lights) provide that little twinkle, making the area within their vicinity feel magical. Some come with different settings, so you can choose if you want them to flicker or not.
Lanterns and Sconces
You can contribute to the ethereal, romantic subtle light with lanterns or wall sconces. They can also add a slight element of dark academia, making your hallway feel like a passageway in a castle or another mysterious realm.
A fireplace (or a wood-burning stove) will not only make the space toasty but watching the flames dance is incredibly relaxing.
Picture yourself drinking a hot mug of herbal tea, reading a book, or writing in your journal as the fire crackles in a nearby wood stove. It doesn’t get much better than that and adds some cozy cottagecore aesthetic to the ethereal.
If the dark academia vibe appeals to you, check out: Is Medieval Interior Design Your New Aesthetic?
Of all the elements, air is likely the one most associated with the ethereal. Yet, it’s harder to capture air; it’s invisible and transparent.
Creating an environment that contains things that show the magic of air at work is your best bet.
Think sheer curtains catching the breeze as it comes through an open window. Include feathers or other buoyant fairy-like details that whisper, something special is here. You just can’t see it.
Sheers will move with the air and catch the breeze in action.
- You can hang them as curtains
- Use silks or curtains as room dividers
- To create something extra special, add them around your bed to make the space dreamy; giving it that ethereal quality of pure enchantment
Aromatherapy, Incense, and Other Scents
Adding a fragrance will help support the ethereal aesthetic by indulging your senses while providing a little novelty to your day.
Light an incense stick, and watch as the smoke curls upwards, softly disappearing and leaving a warm scent in its wake.
Feathers are incredibly ethereal. They’re beautiful, come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and colors, and bring to the mind thoughts of birds and flight.
Here’s how to use them in your ethereal decor:
- Frame and hang feathers on a wall
- Put feathers in a small vintage glass jar and display them like a bouquet of wildflowers
- Hang them from a mobile
- Incorporate feathers with other pieces to make an aesthetic collage
Chimes capture the wind, allowing it to make its presence known as it gusts past, leaving behind a different tune each time.
Strung up on strands, little bells add visual appeal. We think almost everyone can agree — you can’t help but feel something unique and magical in the air when you hear the sound of them ringing.
Hang prisms in your window to splash your wall with rainbows. And if the wind moves the prism, the rainbows will dance across your wall, giving it a sky aesthetic.
Music contributes to the mood as well. Put together a playlist with all your favorite tunes. Don’t be afraid to sprinkle in some goth or grunge music if you like; the ethereal is sometimes unexpected.
Let your mind explore thoughts of places fairies and nymphs would delight in inhabiting. Think misty mornings, moss, a tiny trickle of water down a bright green leaf.
Discover: 1920’s Aesthetic Decor Fundamentals
Creating layers with the elements you choose helps it all come together. Every layer opens up that sense of wonder with each detail, each little touch.
However, be careful not to go overboard; too much busyness or clutter could have the opposite effect, making the space heavy.
Some final tips to open your perspective further:
Think on a micro-level.
When you’re out in nature or at a park, notice the life teaming on the ground level. Notice the water striders, those little bugs that glide over the water’s surface. Notice the detail of a forget-me-not or other small flowers. See all the individual pieces that make up grains of sand — all the colors, some iridescent and some transparent.
You can do the opposite as well; think from a macro level.
Part of the ethereal aesthetic comes with seeing things from a new perspective. Unmute your senses.
You may also enjoy: How to Go From Minimalist to Maximalist Without Chaos
Creating a dreamy refuge doesn’t require buying a whole new set of furniture or a massive overhaul. Many retro pieces work perfectly well, even for achieving an ethereal aesthetic.
By incorporating subtle aspects of the elements in ways that move you, you’ll soon be enjoying a magical space of your own creation. A space designed specifically for you to feel creative, inspired, and restored.