This is Mara. Mara is the queen of reading nooks.
Her Instagram is just one long feed of book porn, all housed in the most adorable nook you will ~ever~ see. We got in touch and asked her to talk us through how to make the perfect reading space.
Here’s what she recommended.
1. You can’t have too many cushions.
“Pillows are the ultimate accessory for a reading nook. They don’t just look amazing but also help you stay comfortable while you’re going through all those weird reading positions. Pick out pillows in all shapes and sizes, in all colours and fabrics, but keep in mind: the more the merrier and the weirder the shape, probably the more comfortable.
My personal favourite options are pillows that have to do with reading or encourage me to read more - like this one from Bookworm Boutique”
2. Pimp your bookshelves.
“Treat your bookshelves like an extension of yourself. Add little gimmicks or figures or mugs as decoration. Try to display gorgeous bookmarks or pictures that you took with authors, fandom jewellery of your favourite series, or just things that mean something to YOU. Is there any better background to anything than books? I don’t think so.”
3. Don’t be scared of a little colour.
“The more colourful, the better. Your reading nook should be a reflection of your taste in books and stories, so why not add as many splashes of colour as possible? A good thing to do is go with either white or grey as a base and then add accessories and furniture that stand out from them.
Your reading nook should be light for reading though, so if you do opt for a dark wall colour, be sure to add some bright accessories and lamps to make it more cosy.”
4. Fresh cut flowers are ~essential~.
“If you don’t want to buy flowers every week, you can go with any potted plant you find beautiful, but flowers in general make a room – and a reading nook – more comfortable. Otherwise there’s just something missing.”
5. Follow others for inspiration.
“My top three bookstagram reading nooks would have to be from Adam who keeps it super simple but so very otherworldly, Allissa whose reading nook is probably the most gorgeous and ethereal place ever, and then Marlene who, like myself, enjoys colours and Funkos and so many gorgeous pillows.
These three are a good selection of the spectrum of reading places you can find on bookstagram – simple, classic and colourful.”
6. Ask for peace and quiet when you need it.
“I actually made a little doorplate that says “Reading in progress” so people in my house know not to disturb me.
If I sit down to read, I also always turn my mobile phone, and any other devices I have close, on airplane mode. That way I can concentrate on actually reading instead of texting or tweeting about what I’m reading.”
7. Pyjamas + sweaters = the ultimate nook-wear.
“Hands down I always wear pyjamas in my nook (if it’s the weekend) or sweatpants and an oversized sweater. One of the (many) pros of reading is that you get to go on adventures and don’t have to go outside to do it. I usually wear my Harry Potter house pride sweats and sweaters (ten points to Gryffindor!) and roll myself into a blanket on top.”
8. Hot drinks are a necessity.
“I’m a coffee fan. It’s always nice to have something to slurp away on and keep you warm, AND keep you awake if you’ve had a long day or are opting to pull a reading all-nighter.”
9. Keeps lots of genres close to hand.
“II always have a couple of books on my TBR (to be read) pile close at hand should a reading mood strike unexpectedly. So if I’m reading a fantasy YA, you would find a classic, a contemporary NA or a sci-fi children’s book close by, because sometimes you have to be in a certain mood for a certain genre or story.
Always pick reading options in advance so you can switch easily. That way you don’t have to get up and look for an appropriate “next” read.”
10. Lighting is *so* important.
“The best lighting is created with mood lamps and chains of lights, coupled with one bright reading lamp. During the day, obviously natural light will create the best atmosphere, but once it’s dark outside you want it to stay cosy but also practical.”
11. Kindles are welcome.
“I firmly believe that the medium you enjoy a book in doesn’t really matter as long as you read and enjoy it. Hardcovers (or paperbacks for some people) are obviously beautiful and look gorgeous on a shelf, but they can also be expensive or unavailable depending on where you live.
Because I commute a lot, eBooks and audiobooks are a big part of why I get to read so much. The content stays the same, and that’s what counts. I mean what’s not to love about a little Kindle that lets you hold thousands of books in the palm of your hand?”
12. Fragrance your nook appropriately.
“I use scented candles as part of my reading ritual. When I light one, that’s when my brain registers that it’s time to read. There are so many amazing book related fragrances out there now, so my candles are mostly Winterfell or bookstore-scented these days. (I love Frostbeard Studio candles because they specialize in catering to book nerd needs).”
**Stay safe though! Mara uses a special tray to keep her candles away from her books.
13. Collectibles are AWESOME.
“My Funko pop obsession has become quite a big part of my bookstagram feed ever since last year. I use them to decorate my shelves with and people love these little figurines just as much as I do. I got the big Groot Fabrikations at the Frankfurt book fair last year and started randomly snapping stories of him both on Instagram and Snapchat.
Now I have a little Groot/Sadness family that guards my bookshelves from evil dust moats and dirt a la Guardians of the Bookshelf Galaxy. My obsession knows no end (and they’re just so damn cute!)”
14. If you can get a duvet in the reading nook, do it.
“I actually have a couple of different duvets to go with seasons or holidays (yes I am a crazy duvet lady) and I love that you can use them as backgrounds for pictures and as a blanket to keep warm in.”
15. Try and keep your reading nook just for “you-time”.
“My reading nook also works as my binge-watch headquarters, but mostly it is reserved for quiet reading time. Whereas I watch a lot of films and TV shows with my family and friends, reading is something that I mostly do on my own, and I feel like it deserves a special place you can hide away in that is free of any connection to busy day-to-day life.”
16. Embrace DIY.
“Those are book lamps from the Frankfurt book fair. They’re actually super easy to replicate (I asked them to take one apart at the stall and they were nice enough to explain how easy they were to handcraft).
All you have to do is decide on a hardcover book (you only have to make a tiny hole in it for the electrical cord to go through) and then ask someone who’s technically inclined to outfit a basic ceiling lamp with a metal tent that you can prop the book on to shield it from the heat. And voila, you got a gorgeous and unique ceiling lamp.”
17. Let your inner geek roam free.
“Display all your merchandise on your shelf instead of in boxes or drawers. Position them as eye catchers because they give your bookshelves character. Add action figures or anything you’re passionate about on top, in front or next to your books. Jewellery, bookmarks, mugs, you name it – use your shelves as a canvas for all your obsessions.”
18. Book merch is the best merch.
“This is a Hello Lumio lamp that is designed to look and function like a book. When you open the covers, the pages light up like you can see in the picture. You can shelf it with your books or display it in its full glory. I love searching and finding everyday items with a book look to them, and this is the queen of all of them.”
19. A good nook can be a really calming space.
“Reading isn’t just reading for me, it’s a lifestyle and a friend. Whenever I get overwhelmed with life or feel sad, I turn to books. To have a stress-free environment that is dedicated solely to literature helps calm me and sort things out. The moment I had my reading nook fitted, it became a sanctuary.
It doesn’t matter how much money you’re able to put into it, as long as it’s your sanctuary and your place to read in, it’ll still be epic. A reading nook grows with you, so if you haven’t got it all sorted yet, don’t worry. You’ll get there.”