Design Inspo

Reading Nook Ideas for Cozy Corners

Ready to create the perfect space for relaxing with a good book? Here are nine ideas for transforming that cozy little corner into a reading nook.

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We all resolve to read more each year, but most nights, we fall into bed exhausted without turning a page. With studies showing that just six minutes of reading a day can reduce stress by 68%, daily reading is starting to look like an investment in our well-being. Why not create a dedicated space for relaxing with a good book?

Here are some reading nook ideas for turning that cozy corner in your home into a fantastic retreat.

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Define the Reading Space

Do you remember those elementary school teachers with the best reading nooks set up in their classrooms? It was such a privilege to get your turn in the reading corner, fueling jealousy in your classmates. That is the feeling we need to capture when creating a reading nook at home. …No, not the jealousy, just a sense of a delightful refuge. 

Here’s how:

1. Remove Distractions & De-Clutter

Your first task is to remove anything from your chosen corner that produces stress and keeps it from being a calm haven. Find a new home for useless furniture, remotes, devices, chargers, and the ever-present (junk) mail pile. This corner is your new oasis. 

Those of us living in small spaces know some distractions, like the home office desk, can’t be moved. Office closet systems and armoires with doors are wonderful because they can be closed and forgotten, but a simple folding screen placed near your nook could be enough to create a mental getaway. 

Or, you can always just turn your comfy chair at an angle to help you refocus and rest your mind.

2. A Place for Everything

Now that you have simplified the area by removing what you don’t want, let’s consider what you will need. Will you be more comfortable if there’s a side table with a place for your reading glasses and a mug of tea? Should you choose an ottoman with hidden storage for a throw or your current magazines?

Sometimes a little creativity, like a basket with a Kindle and charger that slips into your bookshelf, is necessary to keep the space functional while still being minimal. 

3. Wrap Your Walls With Decor, Paint, or Art

Let’s further define a cozy space by decorating the walls around it.

Would you like your reading nook to be “book-wrapt” in true library fashion? Using built-in bookcases as a backdrop to your nook would be a no-brainer for a reading refuge. If you don’t have much space or many bookcases, a few shelves and brackets added to the wall could give the same effect for much less. Artfully arranging your favorite books on a shelf above or below a window seat or on an end table creates an instant home library.

Spoak’s interior design tools can help you visualize the room layout and explore paint colors for an accent wall behind your reading chair, sparing you some trial and error with actual paint. If you don’t want to commit to an entire wall, painting an accent shape in a warm, complimentary pop of color will set the nook apart from the rest of your space. Painting a curved shape on your wall can emphasize softness and contrast the straight lines of your shelves. If painting is just not an option, a wallpaper that coordinates with the rest of the reading room can make the same statement on an accent wall or be shaped into a decorative arch. 

Another less-permanent way to establish your reading area is to wrap your walls. A gallery wall is a perfect place for that collection of sketches you have or pages from a vintage book of flora.

You can also try framing less traditional items that speak to your personal interests: treasured mementos, pieces of fabric, or old letters. Spoak’s room design tool will help you experiment with how you arrange your art on the wall before physically hanging anything up. 

4. Ground the Space With an Area Rug

Let’s not forget how easily a rug can establish a small zone within a larger one. Sometimes, choosing an area rug is the first piece of the puzzle. Once that’s selected, decisions about furniture type and positioning quickly fall into place.

A smaller rug, like an accent rug in a 3’x5’ or 4’x6’ size made from a lux material like wool, can be more affordable than grander 9’x12’ options. That inviting texture encourages you to kick off your shoes, climb into a recliner, and have a good, long read. 

5. Make It Comfortable

The most important piece in your reading nook will be the one you sit on or — let’s be real — lie on to read. The most beautiful leather armchair in the world is useless to you if you just aren’t comfortable reading in it for long periods of time.

So keep your reading session preferences in mind, along with your taste in furnishings. Would you prefer a corner sectional sofa that can accommodate more than one reader, armchairs for the armrest when holding your book, or a vintage-style wingback for neck support? Or perhaps a chaise lounge or daybed for both reading and napping?

When selecting the ultimate comfortable chair, don’t feel the need to be literal. A bean bag or even a boho hammock can work swimmingly. 

Cozy white attic reading nook
These boucle chairs are perfect for the reading nook Shelby Anderson designed in Spoak.

6. Cozy Things Up With Textiles 

The fabric you choose for your furniture is a fun way to play with color and texture. Remember what you don’t want: scratchy upholstery or cracked vinyl that is anything but indulgent. While rattan chairs are stunning, they might not be the most gentle on your back after hours with a good read. 

You want your book nook to be irresistible. As long as your chair or sofa isn’t uncomfortable, you can always up the comfort level with soft tufted velvet throw pillows. Additionally, if you’re lucky enough to have a built-in bench under a stunning bay window, add extensive padding and plush pillows for ultimate comfort. 

It’s All About the Mood

Even more important than the feel of the fabrics is the emotional balance a space promotes. It may be enough to have a simple, comfortable space for reading, but most of us could use a little encouragement when it comes to actually relaxing. You want to think of this as your own adult calm-down corner where you can engage your imagination and calm your body. 

7. Make It Reflect You

Including favorite objects in your space that speak to your personality will increase the emotional and visual impact. As with the gallery wall idea, layering some favorite mementos or souvenirs with the books on your shelves connects the space with fond memories. A treasured home decor item, like a piece of art, can produce a feeling of familiarity and calm. 

8. Bring In Nature by Day

Let nature do some of the design work for you. Light is one of the best mood-enhancing design elements (and it’s free).

Installing drapes that are easy to open for natural light and warmth promotes well-being, while incorporating plants increases positive feelings. A corner can be a great way to showcase a small tree in a large planter, who (like you) may also appreciate a large window. Don’t forget that you can also hang planters or set pots on your shelves to layer more nature. 

9. Add In Moody Ambience by Night

Enjoying your space once the sun sets may require mood lighting. While there are fewer visible distractions in the room at night, the quality of the artificial light can make a huge difference in your enjoyment.

If the bulb is a warm yellow, around 2,000 kelvin, it adds to the evening ambiance without disturbing melatonin production. The very nature of a reading light only illuminating the small circle of your nook has a dream-like quality that beckons in the evening.

When it comes to artificial light, an antique-style floor lamp is a book lover’s favorite, but if you need some additional glow, add a smaller lamp on the coffee table next to your designated spot. 

Spoak: The Perfect Touch for the Perfect Spot

Choosing the perfect statement lamp or hanging pendant can add to the contemplative atmosphere of your space. Spoak’s discovery feed is full of pieces recommended by other design lovers.

Imagine the glow your warm light will cast through a vintage Tiffany-style shade or a mid-century linen drum shade. This is an opportunity to create some moody library vibes. You’ll know you’ve hit that sweet spot in design when the reading nook helps you escape during the day and can keep you equally inspired with the flick of a switch at night. At the end of a long day, making time to read can almost feel like another “to-do” in a long list of chores. If, however, your nook is so enchanting and tailored to your personality that it feels like a familiar sanctuary, it may be just the nudge you need to make daily reading a reality.

Photo Credit: (Left) Home Talk


Reading For 6 Minutes Reduces Stress By 68 Percent | AnxietyCentre

How Many Books Does It Take to Make a Place Feel Like Home? | New York Times

Incorporate shapely lines into your home design | Daily Herald 

How to Create the Perfect Calm-Down Corner | Parents 

What science tells us about the mood-boosting effects of indoor plants | Washington Post

How Lighting Affects the Productivity of Your Workers | UNC Kenan-Flagler

To start designing your cozy reading nook, join Spoak.

Date Posted
January 20, 2023



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