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How to set up a reading nook: 12 inspiring ideas

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Antonio Wedral
brick armchair

The range of entertainment options available to us these days is incredible. Hundreds of TV channels at your fingertips, endless movies on offer to stream 24 hours a day, lifelike computer games on a range of platforms. Yet, one pleasure can still top them all – a good book. Few things have the power to grab the imagination as much as the written word.

Whether you’re into thrillers, horror, romance, sci-fi, classic literature or even graphic novels – books can still connect with our emotions and thought processes in a way that other forms of entertainment can’t. However, all too often our spaces in the home are geared towards more modern types of entertainment.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with pointing your sofa at the TV. But if you really want to enjoy a good book, then it also makes sense to create a space where you can read comfortably, with as few distractions as possible. With that in mind, we have created this list of 12 ways to set up the perfect reading nook.

1. Keep your books handy

Perhaps the most important thing when creating your reading nook is having a space where you can keep your reading materials. That might just be the one or two books you are reading or it could be your entire bookshelf. But having your reading matter close by is a great way to encourage you to sit down, even for a few minutes, and delve into the pages.

2. Go for soft furnishings

Your reading nook needs to be as comfortable as possible, so as well as a really comfy sofa or chair to sink back into, think about soft touch materials for cushions and throws. You should also think about your choice of materials for your sofa, with elegant velvet or stylish leather both being ideal choices for a reading corner.

3. Think about your colour scheme

Your reading nook needs to be free of distractions and create the perfect relaxed atmosphere for getting into a book. So, try to keep colours simple and not too busy. Think block colours and natural tones, with green being a good choice to help you relax and focus.

4. Choose your room carefully

There are many rooms in the home where you can set up your reading nook. It doesn’t have to be in the living room. In fact, depending on your home situation this might be the worst place to create your reading corner. The average family living room is a busy place, with plenty of traffic and activity. The last thing you want when you’ve just settled in and found your place is to be disturbed by the kids coming in and switching on the TV.

Bedrooms are often a good spot for a reading corner as, apart from at night, they are seldom used during the day. You could also choose a cosy fireside corner in the kitchen, or create a dedicated reading room in place of a home office. If you aren’t lucky enough to have a separate room or space is tight, try and create a reading corner wherever you can using the available space.

5. Lighting is key

table light

Lighting is an integral part of a reading nook for a number of reasons. Not only is it essential for creating the best possible conditions for reading – which means being not too bright and not so dark that you need to strain your eyes – but it can also have a big impact on our brains.

Certain types of light can be stimulating or relaxing, with certain lumen levels either keeping our minds awake or sending us to sleep – just like the natural ambient light all around us. Depending on whether you want a reading corner for intense study or a relaxing place to read a few pages before taking a nap, you need to choose lighting that is suitable for your needs.

An overhead lamp that you can turn on or off from a seated position (potentially with a dimmer option) is a good way of gaining maximum control over the lighting in your space.

Alternatively, place your reading nook close to a window to make the use of the best available natural light. Check out our sofa in front of the window ideas guide for inspiration.

6. Create space for two

brick colour sofa

We tend to think of reading as a solo pursuit – something we do on our own when we want a bit of quiet time. But reading together, whether that’s each to their own book or one to another, is a really great way of spending time together. Create a reading nook with ample space for two to sit comfortably and spend a little time each day reading to one another.

7. Make it a nap space

Your book corner can also double up as the ideal spot to take a nap. By choosing a sofa with enough space to stretch out, with soft cushions and good quality fabrics, you can create a space where you can read or grab an afternoon nap. Add in a comfortable blanket, a fire or other heat source, and you can read a few chapters until you feel your eyes start to become heavy. Reading has a way of distracting the mind from all the thoughts that keep us occupied and awake, so it makes sense to use this to encourage a good nap too. You could even use a stylish sofa bed like the Swyft Model 04 for naps or as a practical spare sleeping space for guests.

8. Add some houseplants

house plants

Houseplants have been proven to have a calming and relaxing impact when placed in our living and sleeping spaces. They also help to keep the air clean and remove some of the toxins from around us. Which makes them a perfect companion for a reading area.

Big and bold plants can create the feel of an interior jungle, with plants like big ferns and yuccas being perfect.

9. Utilise transitional spaces

We mentioned above about choosing your room carefully, pointing out that it didn’t have to be the living room. But it doesn’t have to be a room at all. Transitional spaces are those parts of the home that we use to get from one to another, such as hallways, corridors and landings. Often there is quite a lot of wasted space here which could easily be big enough for a reading area.

Recessed reading nooks, such as under the stairs or by transforming a built-in cupboard area can also be a great idea.

10. Combining with storage

As well as in built bookcases, you can also use your reading nook for other storage. Build your nook to include cupboards or under seat storage and you can add valuable storage space to your home. This works especially well if your reading corner is an alcove or recessed into the wall.

11. Section it off

If you don’t have a dedicated reading area, such as a small office room or recessed nook, then it can help to section off your reading area using screens or curtains. This helps to reduce distractions and increases the idea that a reading area is a distinct part of the home. It can even help just to use a different colour of design scheme for your reading corner - giving it its own personality.

12. Let your imagination run wild

One of the reasons that we love reading is that it sparks our imaginations in ways that watching movies or playing computer games don’t. Reading in itself can be a creative outlet, inspiring ideas and encouraging us to think in different ways. And what better way to express this than by using your imagination to create a reading corner?

Why not go for a literary themed area based around your favourite novel? Or create a reading space that your favourite character would feel comfortable in? Or you could even theme your space around literature and creative arts, with art prints and a gallery space on the walls around. Basically, this is your personal reading space so you want it to match your own literary ideas.

If you are creating your reading corner, then Swyft sofas are perfect for helping you do it. Choose between leather, linen or fabric sofas in a range of modern, contemporary and comfortable styles. All our models are 24h delivery sofas and come flat packed for greater convenience.

Explore our range of modern, contemporary sofas including our Model 01, Model 02 and our sectional Model 03 to find out more. Our range of Model 04 sofa beds is also available and ideal for smaller spaces.

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