5 Ways to Create a Cozy Reading Nook You'll Never Want to Leave

Turn an unused corner of your home into a sanctuary for relaxation.

Whether you're a full-on bibliophile or just yearning for somewhere serene to unwind after a long work day, "a reading nook is the perfect relaxation zone where you can leave everyday stresses behind," says Kathy Kuo, founder and CEO of Kathy Kuo Home. Not only that, but Kuo notes that a reading nook can be a practical way to keep all your books organized in one place, rather than strewn about your home.

But as with anything in your home, there's an art to designing one of these cozy spaces. That's why we spoke to Kuo and other interior designers to find out how you can create a reading nook you'll never want to leave. Read on for their tips.

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Take advantage of an unused alcove or corner.

Young girl reading book while sitting on beige armchair in a cozy reading nook
2shrimpS / Shutterstock

"Creating a reading nook can be a great way to use awkward or dead space you have in your home," explains Laura Price, owner of The Home Organisation. "An awkward alcove that is too small to fit a cupboard or a sloped roof that's too low to be functional are both great examples. All you need to do is add a few shelves and some seating, and you've created a whole new area in your home without taking up valuable space."

Isfira Jensen, CEO and principal interior designer at Nufacet Interiors, notes that you want to choose a space with little foot traffic and noise so you aren't distracted or disturbed during your blissful reading sessions.

"Creating zones is one of the most important ways to create structure in the home," says Kuo. "I find that reading nooks work best in a bedroom or living room, but you can style them in large hallways, children's playroom, and in family rooms as well."

Another great option is underneath a staircase. "This often-underutilized space can be put to good use by building a comfortable hideaway," Jensen says.

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Consider crafting a window seat.

Cozy home reading nook with books and plants
JulieK2 / Shutterstock

"One of our favorite ways to add a reading nook is to create a built-in bench seat ideally with a window," says Tama Bell, founder of Tama Bell Design. "We always specify a thick bench seat cushion—typically 4 inches thick—and often upholster in a textural fabric to add interest and then add an array of decorative pillows to really cozy it all up."

If a window seat isn't practical in your home, Kuo says comfort is still key when it comes to the seating in your reading nook. "I'd recommend using a small- or medium-sized armchair or lounger that you know will be comfy to curl up in for hours—and once you've chosen your seating, you can really build the rest of the nook design around that," she explains.

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Choose lighting carefully.

Man sitting on a chair and reading a book at home at night.
South_agency / iStock

In addition to comfortable seating, you'll also obviously need a light source to read your books. Depending on how much natural light the space gets, Kuo suggests a sconce, pendant light, or a standing floor lamp.

"Just make sure that the lighting is positioned to be functional when you're actually sitting and reading, and also, ideally, that you can reach to turn the light off or on without standing up," she says.

According to Jensen, the lighting in your reading nook also plays a crucial role in setting the mood—which is why she advises opting for a floor or table lamp with warm, soft light.

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Don't forget the decor.

Cozy decor with book and tea pot or coffee and throw blanket in reading nook
New Africa / Shutterstock

A cozy reading book wouldn't be complete without plenty of plush pillows. Add in a soft throw blanket, and you've instantly elevated your space into a potential napping spot, says Bell.

"I love the look of a coastal-chic floor basket in a reading nook that can easily house piles of cashmere throws," Kuo adds.

Bell also suggests adding a small end table to your nook, so you can keep your reading glasses, a warm mug of coffee or tea, or a glass of wine close by.

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Carve out plenty of storage.

Young woman reading book in armchair in home library.
New Africa / Shutterstock

Inarguably, having ample storage space is crucial for creating the perfect reading nook, says Price.

"It'll be hard to relax and unwind when you have piles of books cluttering up the area because they can't fit onto the shelves," she explains. "If you don't have a lot of storage, it's also important to do regular check-ins and see which books you want to keep and which ones you can donate. This way you can keep your reading nook feeling calm, spacious, and under control."

Price advises organizing your books by color or size rather than the title or author for a more visually appealing display.

"While it's lovely to display sentimental items, be careful not to overwhelm your reading nook with them," she adds. "Not only will this make it impractical to grab the books, but you run the risk of creating a cramped and cluttered space."

Rebecca Strong
Rebecca Strong is a Boston-based freelance health/wellness, lifestyle, and travel writer. Read more
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