Add a Book Nook to Your Home ... No Matter How Much Space You Have

Creating a book nook in your home encourages relaxation and reading — it’s a win-win proposition. The best part is even the smallest homes have potential spots waiting for transformation. “Look for unused corners, alcoves or even a quiet spot near a window,” recommended Bob Thomas of Hearth and Petals, a home décor website. “The main idea is to have a place that feels separate from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the house.”

Carrie E. Pierce, author and the co-founder of Morgan Pierce Media and Publishing, for example, found an unused guest closet to turn into a reading space. "My home is small — 1200 square-feet — and she didn’t have enough room to dedicate a large space. I then realized my guest room stands empty most of the time and when I do have guests, they never unpack, leaving the large closet empty and unused.”
Her handyman removed the sliding closet doors and tracking along with the overhead shelving. Next small custom shelves were installed on each side of the now-open space and overhead LED lighting. Pierce added a 1920’s loveseat, a few throw pillows and hung artwork on the back wall. “My guest room closet is now a cozy, comfortable, well lit, beautiful reading nook, with shelves to hold books and a drink; a perfect place to sit and read.” As an added bonus, her guest room looks bigger and the LED lights make it more inviting. 

It’s easy to design a book nook because you really just need a special place to sit comfortably, said Julianne Buonocore, president of The Literary Lifestyle.“That's really the only necessity, and it need not even be a chair,” she said. “I consider my swing and my bathtub to be book nooks as well. Others may consider things like a tent, hammock, bean bag, window seat, and so on. ” 

Book nooks can fit anywhere
Photo credit: Carrie E. Pierce

How to start the organizing process 

Begin by organizing the room into sections and zones, according to professional organizer and author of The Art of Organizing: An Artful Guide to an Organized Life, Nicole Gabai. “In sectional organizing, each room is divided into areas corresponding to a given activity,” she explained. “Consider what activities you’d like to do in the space. This makes it easy to collect the items that belong in each section so like items are together.”

Next establish zones within that section. Gabai believes in creating zones because many people make the mistake of assigning equal importance to all objects in a room. “It is important to give top priority to the objects you use often,” she said. “They should be in the most convenient place, which is Zone 1. Objects you use less often should be in Zone 2 or 3.”

For example, if someone has too many books for the area, decide which ones are used most often. These would be stored in Zone 1. Books that didn’t make the initial cut but were still important go in Zone 2. The remainder should reside in Zone 3.

The amount of furniture required depends on the size of your space. All a small spot really needs, according to Lori Shaw of Lori Shaw Interiors, is a comfy chair, a bookshelf, good lighting and a small table for your drink or reading glasses. But if you are designing an entire room, you'll want bookshelf space, several comfy seating areas, maybe a desk and a variety of lighting, from overhead to table lighting to task lighting.

book nook with shelves
Photo credit: Julianne/The Literary Lifestyle

Book nook must-have sections

While there is no “one design fits all" reading nook, the easiest way to begin is by adding a comfortable chair to a corner of a space you'd love to spend hours in, suggested Maddy Morgan DeVries and Ashley Morgan Walsh with Morgan Design Studio.

For some this area might sit next to a window in the bedroom; for others it may be a chair in the living room close to the fireplace. The key is to work with the space you have. “One of our clients wanted to make sure to add a reading nook to their nursery so we decided to add wall-mounted shelves to the corner to save space and allow for her to easily access the books from her chair without needing to get up,” they said.

book nook with lamp
Photo credit: Lori Shaw

A reading space should provide a few things, including:

Comfortable seating: Thomas believes that this is essential but malleable item. “This could be anything from a cozy armchair to a plush beanbag, depending on your space and style,” he said. “A good reading chair is inviting and offers support for extended periods of reading.”

Lighting: "One of the main things you need to consider when creating a book nook is lighting, as having the right lighting is key,” said Kim Ray, interiors expert at Victory Blinds. Daytime reading requires good natural light, but you'll also want a lamp for those evening hours. 

Storage: You’ll want a place to store your reading material — maybe some shelves or a small bookcase. “If space is limited, floating shelves or even a stylish magazine rack on the wall can work,” suggested Thomas.

Drink tables are also perfect for reading nooks because the footprint is small yet it gives you somewhere to place a cup of coffee or wine, Maddie and Ashley added.

book nook with plant
Photo credit: Lori Shaw

Add accent touches to make the space yours

“Add a throw blanket, a small side table to hold a cup of tea, or a favorite piece of art on the wall,” said Thomas. “The key is to create an environment that you'll enjoy spending time in.”

You might want to consider additional furniture such as a desk for note taking or more seating for when you host book club. Try to remove distractions such as a television.

Buonocore loves her book nook and uses the space mostly on the weekend. She loves that it’s cozy, personal and peaceful and “that it's a space dedicated only to reading at a time when work and personal spaces can become so intermingled and hard to separate.”

Read more features on the Fabrics & Home blog

Featured image from Maddy and Ashley/Morgan Design Studio 


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