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Create a Dark Academia Reading Nook with these Classic and Creepy Goods

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Isabelle Popp

Senior Contributor

Isabelle Popp has written all sorts of things, ranging from astrophysics research articles and math tests to crossword puzzles and poetry. These days she's writing romance. When she's not reading or writing, she's probably knitting or scouring used book stores for vintage gothic romance paperbacks. Originally from New York, she's as surprised as anyone that she lives in Bloomington, Indiana.

If you have a chair and a side table of some sort, you have the space to create an amazing, atmospheric reading nook. Leave the rest to me. With a few accessories, you can transform a space into a place where arcane knowledge and possibly dark magic abounds. The great thing about creating a dark academic vibe in your reading space is that it delivers year-round flair, even if its power peaks at the same time as the autumn leaves color. So what does it take?

To me, establishing a dark academic vibe is about surrounding yourself with things that are (or appear to be) old. Dark academia fans resonate with characters who have a passion for finding knowledge, especially secret and forbidden knowledge. That manifests with decor that evokes a library, a cabinet of curiosities, and a witch’s lair at the same time. Your reading space is not the place for minimalism. There need to be piles of books, art to rest your eyes on, a candle for some light (or a little incantation; I’m not going to tell you what to do), and something to hold a hot drink. So, if you’re looking to bring some dark academia maximalism to your space, you’re sure to find something fun and eerie in this collection.

Dark Academia Goodies

white coffee mug with hampden college logo

If you’re a fan of The Secret History, you simply need this slyly referential mug. $21

assorted brass candlesticks

For light to read by, how about some taper candles in these vintage candlesticks? $54 for a pair.

a 3d embroidered blue butterfly in a shadowbox

If you’re squeamish about actual taxidermy, this embroidered butterfly shadowbox is a convincing alternative. $31

an ex libris stamp of a raven on a skull

All your books need a creepy ex-libris stamp. This skull and raven beauty is perfectly suited to the task. $31

assorted leatherbound vintage books

You obviously need some old leatherbound books. Choose a color scheme and start a collection of beautiful vintage books. $33 for five books.

a candle version of the veiled lady sculpture

This veiled lady candle is sad, spooky, and beautiful all at the same time, just like you. $31

a vintage looking journal printed with "the secret scandalous writings of"

How fun would your reading journal be hidden in a personalized faux-vintage journal? $25

a ribbon bookmark with a raven cameo at the end

A cameo on a velvet ribbon is just the thing to keep your page. $12

stack of leatherbound journals with gold details

A gorgeous tooled leather journal is the ideal place to write down your secrets. $117

a throw pillow with a pattern of a frog in a garden

Every reading chair needs a pillow. This William Morris frog pillow is exquisite. $60

woven blanket with images of beetles printed on it

A scarab beetle throw blanket will keep the chill away. $88

teacup with gold spiderweb pattern on it

If you prefer tea, this spiderweb tea cup is the perfect mix of beautiful and creepy. $89

3d printed skull made into a hanging planter

Every reading nook needs a plant. Hang yours in a skull planter. $27

metal bookmarks with black and white cameos at the end

Which cameo bookmark has the best dark academia vibes? I’ll say the bee. $16.

a dandelion embedded in resin

A dandelion paperweight is a practical botanical specimen and a great memento mori. $40

dark botanical wallpaper behind a leather chair

With a backdrop of botanical wallpaper, the vibes of your reading nook will be impeccable. $275 and up.


After your reading space is set up, you’ll need books to read. If you’re looking for queer dark academia, dark academia romance, or simply the best of the genre, we’ve got recommendations for you.