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16 Ways to Create a Cozy Reading Nook

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

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It's easy to get bogged down by the negative content on social media, but one area that tends to be wholesome and upbeat is the book world. Whether you're a fan of Bookstagram or BookTok, there's something undeniably cozy about this corner of the internet—and it's not just the books that make us feel all warm and tingly. Influencers such as Beach Reads and Bubbly often show off their preferred reading locales, from window seats and comfy chairs to gorgeous libraries that take up an entire room. To help you achieve this aesthetic in your home, we consulted interior designers to get their best cozy reading nook ideas.

"A proper reading nook should feel quiet, comfortable, and calming. It's your own little respite from the busy world and should bring you a sense of peace and relaxation the minute you sit down," shares Olma Fuentes, founder and principal of Deni + Dove Interiors. "But you also want to make sure your nook is functional and serves its purpose."

To ensure your DIY reading nook is both cozy and functional, we asked Fuentes and other interior designers for their best book nook ideas. Read on for some inspiration.

RELATED: 10 Ways to Instantly Make Your Porch Extra Cozy

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," adds Kathy Kuo, founder and CEO of Kathy Kuo Home. "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 one of Jensen's reading corner ideas is to outfit the small space underneath a staircase: "This often-underutilized space can be put to good use by building a comfortable hideaway."

Repurpose a closet.

Woman sitting in an cozy reading nook
topotishka / Shutterstock

If you have an underutilized closet that's large enough to fit a person and a chair, you may just have the perfect reading corner.

"If you remove the door and fit the interior with custom cushions, soft lighting, and bookshelves, you can turn an old space into a cozy and inviting reading niche," suggests Bree Steele, an interior designer at RJ Living.

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 your home happens to have a bay window, even more perfect! In cases where the window seat is larger, Steele suggests building built-in draws underneath for added functionality. This is a perfect place to store extra blankets and pillows.

Similarly, Ornella Bianco, a home improvement specialist at, recommends keeping open shelves under the bench for additional and convenient book storage.

RELATED: 9 Clever Ideas for Your Spare Bedroom, According to Designers.

Design a "hidden" room.


Here's a tour of Elsie's secret library. It's the coziest and happiest room in her home. @elsielarson #narnia #hiddenroom @

♬ love nwantinti (ah ah ah) – CKay


One of the most creative reading nook ideas we've seen on Instagram is the "hidden" reading nook that lifestyle expert Elsie Larson created for her two daughters. The co-founder of A Beautiful Mess even added a Narnia closet entrance!

In Larson's case, she cautioned readers that this "is not a DIY" and that she worked with contractors. However, if your home's existing layout has an entire room or walk-in closet to spare, you can certainly design this magical space on your own with a little help from a handy friend.

To add the Narnia door, Larson found a vintage armoire and removed its legs. She notes that it's important to find a piece of furniture without shelves inside (or to remove them). In a blog post, Larson shared that she then had the armoire built into the wall. "Lastly, we cut a functioning door into the back of the armoire and added a handle on the inside," she said.

Create an attic book nook.

Stylish attic reading nook and office with white painted ceiling and bookshelves
onurdongel / iStock

Steele says she loves creating attic book nooks: "Attics are secluded and away from the hustle and bustle of the house, making them perfect for a reading haven."

"If your attic has a sloped ceiling, you can enhance the coziness with soft lighting and comfortable seating," she shares. "Adding in wall-mounted sconces or skylights will bring in lighting and will make it so the book nook is usable during the day and at night."

Start with seating.


Comfort is 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," Kuo explains.

But Bianco points out that you don't want to dismiss functionality in the size and shape of your chair, "particularly if you anticipate pets or children joining you."

One seating option that's trending on social media is a soft daybed, like the Neva Round Daybed from Sixpenny that TikToker recently featured.

A cute ottoman or pouf is also a must if you like to put your feet up while you read; an elegant chaise lounge also does the trick!

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."

If you're lucky enough to have high ceilings in your reading nook, you can even consider adding a library ladder. Or, if you just love the old-fashioned look of them, add one regardless!

RELATED: 8 Easy Ways to Make Your Bedroom Feel Like a Luxe Hotel, Experts Say.

Decide how you want to arrange your books.

bookshelves arranged by color
MagicBones / Shutterstock

Once you've got your storage and shelves squared away, you'll want to decide how to arrange your books.

Price advises organizing them by color or size rather than the title or author for a more visually appealing display. You can have some in traditional vertical rows and others in horizontal stacks.

Flea markets and thrift stores are great places to pick up interesting books that'll add some character to your shelves. Beach Reads and Bubbly's Katie Shober also purchased some collectible book sets that look stunning with her library's color palette.

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

Choose lighting carefully.

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

Obviously, you'll need a light source to read your books. During the day, natural light is always the best option, so try to carve out an unused corner near a window if that's an option for you.

"The warmth of the sun, the views, or the gentle pitter-patter of raindrops against the glass on rainy days will add an extra layer of comfort to your reading experience," says Bianco.

When night falls, or if your reading nook is not near a window, 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.

Finally, another way to play up your space with lighting is to add LED lighting within your bookshelves, "casting a gentle glow that highlights the books and creates an inviting ambiance," shares interior designer Julianne Schaefer, founder of Collected Studio.

Create a gallery wall.


Though some say that gallery walls are out for 2024, we say they're still very much in—at least when it comes to creating a cozy reading nook!

"Beautiful artwork or framed prints adjacent to your reading space will make the area look more sophisticated and pulled together," says Fuentes. Case in point: Larson and Shober prominently feature them in their spaces.

For her part, Shober mixed artwork from Etsy, framed poems and quotes, and prints representing all the things she loves (champagne and cake, to name a couple). Larson similarly turned to Etsy and also added vintage finds and mirrors.

RELATED: "Farmhouse" Design Is In, New Data Shows: 6 Ways to Get the Look.

Don't forget surfaces.

cozy chair and a wooden end table
Nanci Santos / iStock

We can pretty much guarantee that part of your cozy reading routine includes an equally cozy beverage, whether it's a glass of wine or a warm cup of tea. So, don't forget to include an end table or floating shelf on which to set it down!

You'll probably want to make sure the table is large enough to also hold your book, phone, glasses, and perhaps a tissue box if you're a fan of reading tear-jerkers.

Engage all the senses.

young woman working from home with essential oil diffuser
labelled / Shutterstock

Assuming one of the goals of your reading nook is to help you relax, don't forget about incorporating scents and sounds.

For the latter, Bianco suggests a small indoor water fountain. "Soothing water, wind, or chimney sounds can also be achieved by using speakers," she says.

Or, a sound machine that plays meditative music (like this one from Pure Enrichment) can add a nice, calming effect.

To engage your sense of smell, consider calming scents such as lavender and sandalwood. You can light a candle, use a reed diffuser, or add essential oils to an aromatherapy diffuser.

Pile on the cozy!

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

There's perhaps no better way to make your reading nook cozy than to set yourself up with soft blankets, fluffy slippers, and plenty of plush pillows.

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

Wallpaper the ceiling.


When your friend asks if you can DIY a reading nook in their home for their kids, the answer is deifnitely YES! Not only did we make it a reading nook, we also made a craft corner and a climbing wall! Definitely on of my favourite project to date and I can't wait for the next project! #readingnook #kidsspaces #homediyproject #kidsplayroom #diyreadingnook

♬ Live Your Beautiful Life – Gray Griggs

Yup, you read that right: Wallpaper the ceiling of your reading nook. "Wallpapering a ceiling is a good way to make a room feel smaller, cozier and more dramatic," Larson explained in her blog post.

This is a trick DIYer Jenna Rutherford used when creating a children's reading nook underneath a staircase.

In a TikTok video showing her process, the founder of From House to Home said installing the peel-and-stick wallpaper did hurt her neck a bit but it was worth it. "It's giving off some Harry Potter vibes," she quipped.

RELATED: 6 Ways to Make Cheap Furniture Look Designer.

Bring the outdoors in.

Young relaxed smiling while sitting on a chair at near the window.
insta_photos / Shutterstock

It's proven that nature has a calming effect—which is why Bianco recommends adding some greenery to your reading corner. Small succulents look lovely on bookshelves, and a larger floor planter can really make a statement. If your nook is too small for either of these, there's always the option to add a hanging planter!

Bianco also suggests "painting your walls with neutrals or earthy tones to echo nature's colors." By keeping the walls neutral, you'll allow your books to be the star of the show.

Install soundproofing.

alexa in the home on a tabletop

If you're finding it hard to relax in your reading nook because of all the noise from the rest of your home, you may want to think about soundproofing the space.

"It can be done not only with bigger projects like the walls, but through textiles like pillows and carpets," points out Evelina Juzėnaitė, principal interior designer at Planner 5D.

An inexpensive white noise machine will also do the trick!

This story has been updated to include additional entries, fact-checking, and copy-editing.

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