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How to Create the Perfect Reading Nook

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Reading has long been one of the most formidable and relaxing pastimes ingrained into human culture – is there anything more comforting than curling up with a good book?

The quintessential reading nook, therefore, requires you to find your favourite space in your home, and try to create a tiny retreat that inspires you to put your feet up and escape into the pages of that book you’ve been meaning to polish off.

Here are a few things to consider when making the most of your newfound reading nook in your living room or den:

Find A Space That Inspires You to Relax

When you’re reading, you want the space you choose to occupy to lend itself to the physical and mental act of reading. For some people, this may mean a big comfy day-bed beside the largest most naturally-lit window in the house, for others it may mean a closed off, semi-private space with little visual stimulation.

Whatever your own preference, finding the perfect space within your home is critical to using and enjoying your new reading nook. Consider trying a less-busy space in your house, perhaps in a front foyer, or in a backyard sunroom den as alternative spaces.

The key here is realizing what type of space allows you to take a sigh of relief – some people find that reading in the bedroom causes them to doze off, or think about tidying up their laundry. On the contrary, a rarely used space may feel forced.

If you have trouble concentrating, try a space with few windows and a lower traffic count. Also, colour theory plays a part here as well. Certain coloured furniture or walls have stimulating or relaxing effects on the brain, helping you to stay active, or tune out.

Chair Considerations

You’ve got to be comfy – don’t deny yourself the comfiest chair in the house.

Depending on the flair and personal style of your home, you may find that a certain furniture aesthetic fits your new reading nook more appropriately than most. You may find that a plush genuine leather recliner is the perfect accent to your home office reading nook, or a daybed or more postmodern chair design compliments your existing living room accessories best.

At the same time – this is your space – go with what you feel. A chair or seating position that’s out of the ordinary for your home or the space may remind you that the personality of the reading nook is different than the rest of your home, helping you to recall why you wanted one in the first place. Explore your creativity, and don’t deny what you feel is the best choice for you.


Light and brightness is critical for reading. A poorly lit area can put great amounts of strain on your eyes causing headaches and nausea in some cases. Bad lighting can make reading difficult, uncomfortable and damaging for your overall vision – and that’s not the point of a reading nook. Make sure to investigate the lighting situation in each space that you investigate prior to setting up shop.

Similarly, a space that is too bright can cause an equal amount of eye damage. You’re after the porridge that Goldilocks ate – just perfect.

The sun should be your ideal source of light for a reading nook, so try to situate yourself in a space that lets plenty of natural light in, but avoid direct, blinding sunlight that can create glares off of nearby windows or shiny surfaces. Consider trying a window curtain or diffuser to tone down the effects of the sun if you find it too bright.

If access to natural light is scarce and artificial light is the best you’ve got to work with, opt for a full spectrum lighting fixture, which operate at a higher flicker rate than fluorescent or halogen lights. The slower flicker rate of halogen and fluorescent lights can cause stress and strain on the eye over time.

Full spectrum lighting aims to emulate the effect of sunlight by using solid state circuitry. It also reduces glare, and allows your eyes to perceive colour more effectively. In fact, many reports conclude that full spectrum lights can improve mood, concentration and comfort in the workplace, so they seem to be a natural fit for the ideal reading nook.

How Important Is Privacy?

This is really up to you; maybe you’re an advocate of open concept in your living spaces or den, and therefore can handle the potential for a few reading interruptions here and there.

If you’re one of these people, there’s nothing wrong with setting up shop in the living room and making a pseudo mini-library a part of your living room décor. You can dress up your reading nook to accommodate new shelving units, the existing coffee table and living room furniture to blend in a new reading nook, or add to the space with new pieces to make a separate corner even that much more appealing.

If you’re not one of these people and you prefer peace and quiet while you’re reading, consider moving your nook to the den, home office or sunroom so you can veg out with a great book in peace. If you’d prefer the privacy but don’t have much by way of extra spaces, integrate your reading nook in a populated area by separating it with makeshift walls or barriers. This is an excellent opportunity to bring more plants into your home, as they can provide ample coverage and a less-foreboding wall to separate your space.

Book shelves, a cozy space under the stairs, a bay window with custom storage built in the sides, or a rear-facing chair in the corner of the room may be all you need to enjoy the solace of a reading nook.

Reading Accoutrement

You’ve picked your space, selected your new furniture, positioned your lighting source, and you’re ready to hunker down and enjoy the space you’ve created for yourself – now is the time to invest the extra effort into the little details that will truly complete your space.

We’re talking about the perfect side-table for your new lamp, your reading glasses, and a set of coasters for a hot cup of tea or coffee. We’re also talking about the perfect foot-stool, maybe a great throw blanket and a pillow or two, or a set of shades to diffuse the abundance of natural light.

Consider a new shelving unit to complement your space and keep all of your cherished books together in one space – or a plush ottoman with a remote tray for a beverage or a couple of on-the-go reading selections.

With these seemingly limitless ideas, you’re well on your way to creating the perfect den or living room reading nook to satisfy your inner book-worm. Happy page-turning! 

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