Choose the right location. The best place to create a reading nook is in a bay window, interior designer Joyce Downing Pickens of JDP Interiors of Los Angeles wrote in an email. “I love to be able to look outside while reading a book, and a bay window can be difficult to place furniture within anyway, so this is one of my go-to solutions,” she wrote.“ I always build the bench around 19 inches off the ground for a relaxed feeling and create a cushion around 3 or 4 inches deep for maximum comfort.”
Identify a naturally carved-out area such as a corner that may not necessarily fit a piece of furniture, but is ripe for a built-in seat, D.C. interior designer Alison Giese wrote in an email.
“Reading nooks feel natural when they create the sense of being ‘tucked in’,” wrote Giese.
If you don’t have a bay window, wrote Pickens, a bookcase next to a chaise longue is the next best thing to create a sort of old-world coziness and glamour.
“Knowing how you plan to use the nook makes determining your location easier,” California interior designer Kate Lester wrote in an email. “Are you hoping to capture a view so you can relax there with a cup of coffee or are you wanting a place where you can cuddle up with a good book?”
Add lighting. Lighting is an essential element for any reading spot. “While many of us read on backlit devices, I have a love affair with traditional books,” Vancouver interior designer Gillian Segal wrote in an email. “A true reading nook calls for physical books and functional lighting to set the mood for relaxation. Having fixtures that are on a swing arm is always an added bonus to allow you to adjust for the perfect amount of light.”
Lester recommends adding library lights or dimmable wall sconces for ambient light that is adjustable for each user.
“Sometimes a dark corner is the best for designing a reading nook, but ample reading light should be taken into account,” wrote Giese. “If natural light is limited, plan to install a reading lamp, either a wall- or a floor-mounted lamp depending on the space.”
Choose the right furniture for the space. “A reading ‘nook’ implies a small space, but sometimes the scale of the room allows for an oversized area that can function for more than reading,” wrote Giese.“ We designed an oversized built-in daybed in a shared bedroom where an area under the windows needed to multitask. It’s the perfect spot not just for reading, but for extra sleeping space for guests and storage.”
Plan for comfort. “No one wants to sit anywhere uncomfortable,” wrote Lester. “When creating a nook make it comfy. Add a bench cushion and a back cushion or throw pillows so each person can adjust as they see fit.”
Squishy-down throw pillows and a cozy blanket are must-haves for any reading nook, Segal says.
“Being able to get into the perfect comfortable position for reading makes for an idyllic setup,” Segal wrote.
Add an end table. An end table completes the circle of form and function for any nook and gives you a place on which to set a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, Lester says.