The Apothecary Aesthetic Is an Earthy, Whimsical Approach to Decorating

Inspired by the look of traditional apothecary shops, this decor trend offers a naturalist spin on cottagecore.

What’s old is new again is a constant refrain in the world of home decor, and the saying is certainly true of the apothecary aesthetic. Inspired by traditional apothecary shops and cozy woodland cottages with herbs drying in the windows and a more naturalist offshoot of the ever-popular cottagecore trend, the apothecary aesthetic is a rising interior decor styles in 2023. It’s equal parts earthy and charmingly vintage with a moody, dramatic edge.

Nathan Schroder
Nathan Schroder

Much like other trending home decor styles, including dark academia and grandmillennial, the apothecary aesthetic is part of a larger whimsical, gothic trend that’s had a resurgence over the past year, says Brooke Lang, founder and principal designer at Brooke Lang Design. It’s reminiscent of times gone by, while also evoking a whimsical feel.

Here’s everything you need to know about the apothecary aesthetic, plus how to implement this trending style in your own home.

David A. Land
David A. Land

What Is the Apothecary Aesthetic?

The apothecary aesthetic is a charming, vintage style that is inspired by old-fashioned apothecary shops. The term apothecary was used before modern-day pharmacists came about, but these people served roughly the same purpose. Apothecaries prepared and sold medications to physicians, surgeons, and everyday people, mixing herbs, minerals, and other ingredients together to create unique concoctions—and working in apothecary shops. While the earliest known apothecary shop dates back to 754 AD, apothecaries and their shops were at their most prevalent during the 1700s.

When implemented in home design, the apothecary style is achieved through a “mix of vintage and rustic elements, such as wooden shelves, jars and bottles, and vintage labels,” says  Ray Langdon, principal designer and owner of Langdon Interiors. “It has a natural and organic feel, with earthy colors, natural materials, and botanical elements, such as plants and herbs.”

The apothecary aesthetic is whimsical, earthy, and vintage-inspired, and experts agree that they don’t see this interior design trend going anywhere anytime soon.

<p>Jay Wilde</p>

Jay Wilde

Why the Apothecary Aesthetic Is a Trend to Watch in 2023

There’s something charming and nostalgic about the apothecarian style. It’s reminiscent of beloved magical tales and childhood make-believe games. It also shares some of the cozy cottage vibes that have made trends like modern farmhouse and cottagecore so popular in recent years. With people increasingly rejecting decor styles that feel impersonal and sterile (as we’ve seen in the move away from extreme minimalism), it’s no surprise that this nostalgic and inviting aesthetic is becoming more popular than ever.

Kathryn Gamble-Lozier
Kathryn Gamble-Lozier

How to Try the Apothecary Aesthetic at Home

The kitchen is the easiest spot in the home to achieve an apothecary aesthetic (those dry goods are just begging to be styled in vintage jars), but that’s not to say you can’t incorporate the apothecary aesthetic elsewhere in your home, too. Here are a few expert-approved ways to bring apothecary shop style to your space.

1. Use plenty of jars for storage.

One of the most identifiable parts of traditional apothecary shops is the wall-to-wall displays of glass jars containing herbs, minerals, and other ingredients that were used to create tinctures and medications. Luckily, it’s also one of the easiest looks to recreate!

“Vintage or antique jars, bottles, and vials can be used to hold things like flowers, herbs, and spices and arranged on shelves or hung on walls for a rustic, vintage feel,” Langdon says. You can even bring this aesthetic to rooms like the bathroom and laundry room by using jars to store supplies such as bath salts, powdered laundry detergent, cotton swabs, and more. Add some vintage-looking labels to really complete the look.

2. Feature natural materials.

Natural materials like wood, stone, metal, and greenery are plentiful in the apothecary aesthetic. Use them liberally throughout your decor to really achieve a rustic, earthy feel. Display dried herbs and flower stems in jars or vases, or hang them on walls and windows. If you’re a plant person and want to add some houseplants into the mix, Lang recommends choosing spindly, delicate-looking plants like ferns, vines, and branches to hit that moody, gothic aesthetic.

3. Incorporate dark, moody colors and earthy tones.

When it comes to color palettes, Lang recommends sticking to earthy tones and dark, muted colors. Think warm neutrals like off-white, beige, and brown paired with shades of green, sepia, and amber.


4. Add vintage touches.

Featuring vintage pieces in your decor is a great way to achieve the apothecary style. Hit up your local thrift shop or antique store and look for vintage glassware, artwork, vases, or other decor that catches your eye. To really nail the apothecary-inspired aesthetic, Lang recommends keeping an eye out for pieces with gothic silhouettes, while Langdon suggests looking for apothecary-inspired botanical illustrations to feature on your walls.

Jay Wilde
Jay Wilde

5. Add an apothecary table/cabinet.

Apothecary tables are cabinets or tables that have many different small drawers and were traditionally used by apothecaries to store tools and supplies. While you likely won’t be using your apothecary table to create and compound medications, they are a great storage option that instantly adds some vintage charm to a space. Check your local buy and sell listings, thrift shops, and flea markets to see if you can find an authentic antique apothecary table (like the apothecary tables of yore!). Otherwise, you can find plenty of vintage-style apothecary tables at furniture stores, or you can even try to DIY your own.

In addition to these practical tips, Lang says that her biggest piece of advice for implementing the apothecary aesthetic at home is to start small.

“Thoughtful accents, like a vignette of artwork, vases, and greenery, can instantly add an apothecary touch into your home without overdoing it,” she says.

Also, don’t feel pressured to apply this aesthetic in your entire home. Instead, delegate it to a specific area or room in your house, Lang suggests.

“I love the idea of doing an apothecary-style bar cart or cocktail area by sourcing a vintage cart, apothecary-style bottles to store liquors and spirits, and including some greenery, vintage prints, and classic cocktail books to display,” she says.