In our chaotic lives, a responsibility-free afternoon or even five minutes is a luxury. But if we dedicate spaces in our homes to peaceful activities, such as reading a novel, working through a stack of magazines or even putting on a mud mask and meditating, they can serve as reminders to slow down and find time for self-care amid hectic schedules.
A reading nook can achieve this. Although a soft chair, plush throw pillow, and ottoman is an invitation to crack open a favorite read, a reading nook is a place where you can sit and take a breath. It should be a corner, or if you like, an entire room of your home dedicated to your needs and unique personality.
What are the things that make you feel cozy? Is it a warm, handwoven throw blanket you bought on Etsy? A small table filled with books, pictures, and flowers? Perhaps it’s being surrounded by a veritable indoor jungle of houseplants.
The trick is to think about the things that make you feel happy and soothed, and bring those elements into your reading nook. Here are some inspiring spaces to get you started.
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Incorporate soft materials
Nothing says “cozy” more than a chair that you can truly sink into, just like this one softened up by The House on Hillside Lane. This chair, rendered in cloud-like white, calls for a few restful minutes (or more) spent with a beloved book. Find a chair that feels sumptuous to the touch, then match it with a throw pillow that brings in color or texture, along with personal bits of decor, like family photos, or wall hangings brought back from a vacation.Continue to 2 of 28 below.
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Include a bookshelf
Someday you’ll have a home library that rivals the one in Beauty and the Beast. For now, if you’re working with a small space, such as a window seat, flank your reading nook with a built-in bookshelf, like this one crafted by the interior designers at The Habitat Collective. A bookshelf that’s alongside your reading nook means your top tomes are always at the ready for an afternoon of reading. And with natural light like this, you won’t miss a word.Continue to 3 of 28 below.
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Place your nook in a bedroom corner
A reading nook doesn’t require a lot of space, and an ideal spot for one is that random, empty corner of your bedroom. That’s what Maite Granda did in this bedroom. She created a classic reading nook with a simple white chair, flanked with a small side table and gold lamp—perfect for morning reading with the newspaper.Continue to 4 of 28 below.
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“When we think of a reading nook we envision a small, cozy space where we can lounge, read, and simply escape from our day to day for a little while,” says Megan Dufresne, principal designer at MC Design. “Traditionally this would include a comfortable oversized chair, chaise, or sofa, a good light source, and of course a place to keep books, magazines, newspapers, or more likely a tablet these days.”Continue to 5 of 28 below.
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Add whimsical details
With the basics in place you can add your own creative touch to make it unique and fit your specific needs. “Consider adding a vintage record player, a bar cart, or a fun art piece,” suggests Dufresne.Continue to 6 of 28 below.
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Use vertical space
Vertical space is worth taking advantage of—whether you’re working with a small space or you just want to keep your books up and off the ground. Add a couple of additional decor pieces and you have yourself a sumptuous corner to get cozy in.Continue to 7 of 28 below.
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Make the most of your angles
Dealing with some weird corners in your space? Instead of trying to work around them you can embrace the space and turn it into a distinct nook. This will add visual interest and make your reading nook even more cozy and unique.Continue to 8 of 28 below.
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A bohemian design-inspired book nook is super easy to emulate: all you really need is a chunky wicker chair and a couple of plants. Consider adding a few colorful cushions to make the space even more welcoming and comfortable.Continue to 9 of 28 below.
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Take advantage of small rooms
Those funny third bedrooms usually wind up being used as storage—but it’d be much better off using your teeny extra bedroom for a reading room. Consider installing a couple of shelves, add a pretty little lamp, and position a comfy chair next to the window for optimal coziness.Continue to 10 of 28 below.
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Look under the stairs
Harry Potter fans know that a cupboard under the stairs is more than enough space for a little reading nook. The dead space that can occur in an open concept staircase is one of the best spots to throw a couple of pillows or accent chairs for reading.Continue to 11 of 28 below.
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Opt for unique wallpaper
If you don’t have the space to carve out a full corner or room for reading, you can easily make the distinction between social living space and reading nook by using a unique wallpaper for an accent wall. Add a comfortable chair and a lamp and you have the perfect spot for curling up with a good book.Continue to 12 of 28 below.
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Take it outdoors
Indoor reading nooks are wonderful—but a spot to read under the stars is even better. Consider adding a couple of weatherproof pillows to an unused corner of your balcony or backyard patio—and don’t forget the steaming cup of coffee to keep you warm as you turn each page.Continue to 13 of 28 below.
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Use transitional spaces
Wondering what to do with that awkward extra space in your bedroom or hallway? Consider adding a small bench and a cozy stack of pillows or blankets. The transitional space can easily be transformed into a reading nook as long as it doesn’t get a lot of foot traffic from other members of your household.Continue to 14 of 28 below.
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Get cozy in a corner
You really can’t beat an unused corner when it comes to reading nook real estate. Position a comfy chair kitty-corner, add a side table for your coffee and bookmark, and let the must-read stack of books grow.Continue to 15 of 28 below.
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Take advantage of natural light
If you’re lucky enough to have space in your home that becomes flooded with natural light, you might want to consider creating a reading nook that’ll allow you to bask in the sun. Consider a more minimal chair that won’t block the light and a simple side table or footstool for added comfort.Continue to 16 of 28 below.
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Section off your space
Reading nooks require tranquility—but if you have a hard time finding space in your home that doesn’t get foot traffic you might need to take matters into your own hand. A simple dressing screen can create a cozy space free from the distractions in the rest of your space.Continue to 17 of 28 below.
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Cozy chairs and sofas are great—but a hanging hammock chair? Even better! An indoor swing or hammock instantly adds a sense of play and whimsy to your space and makes for a surprisingly soothing experience.Continue to 18 of 28 below.
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Play with scale
Reading nooks are always a more whimsical part of home decor—so you may as well lean into it. Playing with scale (like adding an oversized pouf or a micro-mini side table) will set your nook apart from the rest of your home while still remaining practical.Continue to 19 of 28 below.
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Play with pattern
Texture and patterns can make or break a great reading nook—especially if you lean toward more colorful designs. Consider stacking multiple cushions of varying shades for a visually interesting and comfortable space.Continue to 20 of 28 below.
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Use a closet
Lots of homeowners have leaned into the closet office trend over the past couple of years—but a closet reading nook might be even better. It takes a little more effort to create a fitted bank for the space but you can just as easily add a couple of chairs or a pile of pillows.Continue to 21 of 28 below.
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Create a window seat
A window seat is one of the best spots to create a book nook—it’s cozy and offers, quite literally, a window to let your mind wander. If you don’t have a window seat in your home you can add a chaise lounge chair for a similar effect.Continue to 22 of 28 below.
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Take it to go
If you’re lucky enough to have an abundance of cozy nooks and crannies in your space, you might want to forego one designated book nook and instead lean into the idea of a book cart. This will allow you to roll your nook around to wherever it is that has the best light or the least amount of distractions at a given moment.Continue to 23 of 28 below.
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Take advantage of cushions
The right cushions and pillows can turn just about any space into a comfortable reading nook. If you don’t want to invest in furniture or home improvement projects, a simple cushion thrown on the floor with a couple of pillows to prop yourself up will be just as cozy.Continue to 24 of 28 below.
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Play with lighting
The easiest way to make a space feel instantly comfy and inviting? The right string of fairy lights! Many of us forget just how cozy and magical fairy lights can be once we graduate from our college dorms—but a simple string of warm lights can make any space relaxing.Continue to 25 of 28 below.
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Take advantage of dead space
Do you have dead space in front of your existing bookshelf or storage area? It might seem like a no-brainer but adding a comfortable chair and a couple of pillows will turn the dead space into your favorite nook in the house.Continue to 26 of 28 below.
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Make use of odd space
Whether it’s a cramped corner or a staggered part of your split-level, creating a book nook in an odd part of your home will instantly turn the space into your most-used part of the house—just add pillows!Continue to 27 of 28 below.
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Create a tent space
Hoping to foster a love of reading in your little one? Creating a cozy reading nook for kids is pretty simple—all you really need is a pile of pillows and a canopy. Consider adding extra cushions on the ground if you plan on sharing the space.Continue to 28 of 28 below.
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Create a multi-functional space
If you have more than one need for a quiet and cozy space—lean into it and opt for something more multi-functional. A booth by the window with a small side table will make the perfect reading nook during the day and cocktail spot for happy hour.