How to Create the Perfect Home Reading Nook

The holiday season is a perfect time to spend time with those we love and reflect on the year. It’s also an excellent time to cozy up with a blanket and lose yourself in your favorite book. But before you dive into that story, why not create a cozy, personalized space to read and unwind after a long winter’s day? Whether you live in New York City or Portland, we’ve reached out to the experts to help you transform that additional or unused space into the perfect reading nook that the whole family can enjoy for years to come.

Create a space that inspires you to read

I read over 150 books a year, so a perfect reading nook is essential! My reading nook is surrounded by books, which makes me feel inspired and full of possibilities. It’s comfortable, quiet and has lots of natural light. It’s a perfect place for reading, repose and reflection. Make your reading nook unique by surrounding it with things you love. – Jennifer Caloyeras at Books Are My People

The key to creating a quiet reading nook is to block out everything else going on in your home so you can concentrate on your story.  I love to put on white noise or spa music to block out all the tablets, TVs, kids, dogs, and other distracting noises.  I always have earbuds or a BlueTooth speaker within reach of my reading chair. – Back Cover Copy Company

Recognize what makes you feel most at ease

How to build a cozy reading room is easy and personal. What makes you feel most at ease? For me, it’s soft or natural lighting, no fluorescent overhead lights on, only lamps or sunlight coming through a window and always at least one candle. Next, I like to fill the space with the most comfortable places to sit and put my feet up. A comfortable armchair with a footrest, or if I can swing it, the very best place to cozy up and read it in a hammock or swinging chair. – Human Kind Book Club

Creating a reading space in your home is about creating a comfortable place you can tuck yourself in. Whether or not you consider yourself a reader or think you’d use a reading nook, the possibility is what you’re after. An otherwise unused area of your home can be transformed in a few short steps, be a conversation piece, a place for family heirlooms, and is a great way to encourage yourself and your children to read. My own reading space is an inviting respite at the end of a long day and gives warmth and life to an area that might’ve just been clutter otherwise, it’s a place where the whole family gravitates toward, and that’s exactly what makes our house a home. – The Ardent Biblio

Know what you need

When I’m creating the ideal space for reading, it needs to have 3 things: ergonomic comfort, excellent lighting, and a place to rest my beverage. Too often, reading nooks look cute and creative (think charming window benches and “under the stairs” nooks), but aren’t actually that conducive to spending long stretches of time reading. First and foremost, make sure you have a comfortable place to sit or lounge. Secondly, lighting is important. Maybe you do best with bright, natural light, or maybe you prefer to adjust your lighting depending on the time of day. Will you need a dimmer switch, or maybe light bulbs you can adjust from an app on your phone? And finally, a reading nook should have a safe place to rest your beverage of choice. I love drinking hot tea while I’m reading, so having a place where I can easily reach for my mug is important to me. – Dear English Major & Home Scribe Creative

Make your space a reflection of your spirit

it is imperative that your room reflects you.  This can be with the decor, the furnishings and even the decision to color code your books instead of organizing by title, author. You want the space to mirror your personal values/style. – Mahogany books

Don’t sacrifice comfort for aesthetic

Aesthetic is important, but don’t forget comfort. No matter how gorgeous your reading nook photographs, you won’t use it if the antique chair’s uncomfortable crossbar is jabbing into your back. And one bonus tip: if you’re going to read ambitiously, make sure you have a dictionary within arm’s reach. – Dzanc Books

Be sure to have plenty of light

Comfy seating and good lighting are key in creating a cozy reading nook. A window with a view is always an inviting place to sit. If that’s not an option, choose a corner by the fireplace or in a room with low traffic. Along with an overstuffed chair, add a floor lamp w/ 3-way lighting; a small end table for your books, table lamp (in lieu of floor lamp) and a coaster for your hot cocoa. PS: Don’t forget a cozy lap blanket. Happy reading! – Seaport Books 

Good lighting is a must. Natural light from a nearby window is sublime, but as the day progresses a good reading lamp with an arm that adjusts for height and direction is important. For optimum directional light, a clip book light or a camper’s headlamp can be useful, and kids find them fun, too — it helps make reading an adventure. – The Book Cougars

Decorate with stylish and functional pieces

Invest in some stylish and functional lamps for your reading nook, and make sure to buy the right temperature bulbs! Recent studies have shown that cool light is best for a learning environment while warm light creates a more relaxing environment. If you’re trying to relax with a good novel or short story you should grab bulbs in the warmer 2700K-3000K range, light a few candles, or even set up in front of a fireplace for maximum coziness! But if you prefer to read more stimulating works like educational materials or nonfiction, you might try swapping for a cooler 3000K+ bulb or positioning your reading chair in front of your biggest, brightest window. – Ad Biblio

Keep it quiet and private

One of the biggest joys of reading is being able to disappear into different worlds, to be immersed in new places and times, and to go on adventures with characters you’ve only just met, or who have become old friends.  There is nothing more frustrating than being interrupted just as you get to that pivotal moment in a scene or narrative.  With that in mind, create a reading nook that is “off the beaten path” of your household – someplace quiet and private — this can be a transformed closet, or the corner of less frequently used room, or a whimsical tent or fort built out of household materials (e.g., blankets, cushions, curtain rods, etc.).  – Anastasia Betts, VP Curriculum Planning & Design at Age of Learning

Make your reading nook cozy by choosing a quiet spot away from distractions. Make sure you choose a comfy chair, have adequate soft lighting, a cup of tea, and a soft blanket. Small book carts for keeping your to-be-read books within reach have become popular. Strike up an inspiring scented candle to set the mood. – Capital Books

Get cozy

A comfy chair and soft chenille throw are must-haves for any book lover when creating the perfect reading nook! And don’t forget the light—choosing a well-lit space will allow you to finish that page-turner that’s been keeping you up each night. – Liz and Lisa

If you don’t enjoy the actual experience of sitting in your reading nook, you won’t! Do you like being cozy? You need a comfy armchair or lots of pillows and blankets. Need a space with no distractions? A minimalist nook is for you. Do you need help channeling your imagination? Choose whimsical colors or patterns to surround and inspire you. – The Story Shop

As a mystery writer and avid reader, the things in my own cozy reading nooks always include a comfy chair, an ottoman, and good lighting. Personally, I avoid super bright light — subdued and indirect feel most natural, whether I’m holding a hardcover book, jotting notes on my lap desk, or reading on my Kindle. To cozy up my space, I add cushions, a shawl over my shoulders, and a fuzzy throw during the winter months. A place for my teacup is also a must! – Connie Shelton

Have a heat source nearby for colder months

A reading nook is a perfect addition to any mountain home. In the winter months, it’s important to set up your reading nook near a heat source, a wood stove or fireplace is perfect for keeping warm. Furnish the space with an extra cozy bouclé accent chair. – We Dream Big

Make it how you like it

The best book nook should be tailored just for you as an ideal spot where you’re drawn to spend more of your time reading books!  So if you like it cozy, pile up the blankets and add an atmospheric electric fireplace.  If you are trying to keep it cool, make sure there’s a fan and a spot for your favorite iced beverage.  Our ideal would be a chaise longue wrapped with corner bookcases near a window for an occasional peek at the view. – La Playa Books

Creating a reading space for the kiddos

For kids, a reading nook should be secret, special, and small. It should be a place lit by flashlights, well camouflaged so that nosy parents won’t intrude, comfy with blankets, couch cushions, stuffed animals, and a ‘do not disturb’ sign. And most important: let the young reader build it her/himself. – Book Club for Kids

When I was a child I liked to go in my closet with a flashlight to read because I liked the seclusion and the chance to get away from it all.  In a home with children, I believe a reading area should be set up to provide a bit of whimsy.  It should be cozy with dark walls and very comfortable areas to lounge with bean bags and recliners because reading for pleasure is best done in absolute comfort.  The lighting should be good but soft and the accent pieces should be literary in nature. A quiet area with no windows is preferred to eliminate distractions.  Instilling a love of reading in young children will set them up for greater success in the future because learning to read is one of the first bricks in the educational foundation. – R&B Used Books

Be flexible

As a single mother with four children who are now young adults, our household is lively—and at times, crowded. As a writer, teacher and editor, all of the work I do requires a quiet space, so I’ve learned to be flexible. Reading is no different. Whether it be in my traditional nook with a leather armchair and mosaic reading lamp or curled up next to the fireplace with both dogs next to me, or on the patio enjoying the California sunshine—any spot can be made into a reading zone. Quiet not always guaranteed! – Mary Vensel White


Originally published on Redfin

Author: Mike Cahill

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