How to create the perfect reading nook

How to create the perfect reading nook
If you’re a book lover, the idea of having a library in your home would probably be a dream come true. Alas, most of us lack the space for such a lovely luxury, and dedicating a whole room to your treasured books just wouldn’t be feasible. A reading corner is achievable, though, and is perhaps the next best thing to a home library. 

But how do you create the perfect reading nook for your home? We’ve pulled together some reading corner ideas to think about so you can plan your own little literary sanctuary at home.

Reading corner designs

There are two broad reading corner designs for you to choose from initially: 
  1. A bright and comfortable space with natural light, or
  2. A cosy corner
The pros of choosing a space by a window are that you will have the benefit of natural light during the day, and (hopefully) a nice view or somewhere to gaze into the distance from when you’re digesting/recovering from the latest plot twist in your book. The slight disadvantage is that you might find the area a bit draughty in winter unless you have amazing double/triple glazing, and when you get engrossed in a book the light can fade without you really noticing until you find yourself squinting to read in the dark!

A cosy book nook would lack the natural light advantage of a window, but what could be better on an evening than to settle into a quiet space in your home that’s lined by books and tucked up away from the world?

Reading corner designs - near a window

Seating options
If you have an area near a window and want to use it to create your reading nook, have a think about the seating options that would work best. A window seat/bench would look lovely, and if you were to pad it and accessorise it with lots of cushions it could be very comfortable. You could keep your books beneath the seat, either behind doors for tidiness or on display.

Reading corner with a window seat
For comfort, though, having a chair with a way of raising your feet whilst supporting your knees might be better.

For a stylish, eye-catching reading corner, how about a lovely wingback chair and footstool? You could opt for a traditional leather or more modern fabric-covered wingback chair in all sorts of colours and patterns.

Reading corner with a wingback chair

Or, even better, a reclining swivel chair and footstool to lay back in or sit forward upon as the mood of the book carries you?

Leather looks beautiful and is easy to clean if you have pets or children at home, but in winter it can be too cold to sit upon, and in summer it can get too hot (especially near a window). Fabric is arguably more comfortable, and you’ll have more choice when it comes to choosing a colour to suit your reading nook.

Book Nook storage ideas

If your window won’t fit a window seat, you could still utilise the space under and around it by installing a bookcase or shelving. Measure the area beneath your windowsill and see if you can find a piece of furniture to fit - think laterally, though, and search for things like tv benches, shoe cupboards and sideboards as well as traditional bookcases and shelves.

Under the window bookshelf
A tv bench or shoe rack could double as a coffee table or place to rest your cup of tea and snacks, too!

If you are really limited for space, you could look at a bookcase with a seat on top, so that you’ll have somewhere to sit that supports your back, with your books easy to reach.

Whatever storage you choose, check that there’s space on the shelves for standard-sized hardbacks (around 200mm high) and paperbacks (around 180mm high). Books come in a variety of sizes, though, so check your own collection for particularly large books to ensure they’ll fit. Remember that they can be stored horizontally too, if necessary!

Reading corner designs - cosy book nook ideas

If you don’t have a window or just prefer the notion of being squirrelled away in a corner to read your books, choose a corner where it’s naturally quiet and where you can’t see things like your washing pile or the sink!

Again, a wingback chair or reclining swivel chair and footstool would be very comfortable, but if you’re not restrained by needing to keep a window clear of furniture, how about a chaise longue for a really stylish, comfortable reading corner?

Reading corner with a Chaise Lounge

Nestle your chaise longue next to a bookcase, or surround it with room divider bookcases and create your own mini library!

Cosy reading corner ideas

Other reading corner ideas to try, if you have the space available, are: 
  • Make use of an alcove to the side of your fireplace - use a bookcase bench or instal shelves above your chosen comfy chair and make sure you have a good light source;
  • Could you turn your cupboard-under-the-stairs into your very own hideaway? You could create an entrance at the tallest part of the cupboard so that you can get in and out easily without bumping your head, and use the smaller part of the cupboard to store and display your books.
  • Do you have a walk-in wardrobe? If you have extra space in your bedroom, like a walk-in wardrobe or just an area that doesn’t get used much, could you convert it to a reading corner using bookcase room dividers? 
Under the stairs reading nook

Reading corner design essentials

Other things you’ll need for your reading corner might include:
  • A lamp (a floor lamp that illuminates your book from above is best, to avoid shadows),
  • A plant for interest and a fresh, vibrant appearance
  • A basket for snacks
  • A coaster for your drink
  • Ornaments or trinkets to display on your bookcase to add interest or break up a wall of books
  • Cosy blankets and cushions
  • A decoy book for the cat to sit on while you read the real book

No room for a reading nook?

If you find that you have more books than you can feasibly fit into your book nook (but can’t bear to part with them), bear in mind that you could rent a self storage unit for a few pounds a month. You’d be able to access your books whenever you liked (many of our stores are open 24 hours a day, every day of every year) and treat it like your own little library - refresh your bookcase at home with books you haven’t read for a while and return others to your storage unit. 

You could rent a small unit (our smallest is about the size of a car boot, at 10 sq ft), or a larger unit where you could put bookcases, a chair, blankets and as many books as you can hoard - and you could spend some quiet time in your unit reading!

Whatever design you choose, and however you choose to furnish your reading nook, we hope you enjoy your books in peace and tranquillity.


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