Reading nook ideas: 23 inspiring reading corner designs for book lovers

These cozy reading nook ideas will instantly make you want to curl up with a good book and a comforting hot chocolate. Mmmmm...

DULUX Colour Of The Year 2020 Tranquil Dawn reading nook idea
(Image credit: DULUX)

This collection of reading nook ideas will make you want to drop your plans, grab your favorite book(s) and hunker down for a whole day of serial reading.

From airy outdoor spaces to cozy armchairs complete with open fires, there’s guaranteed to be something for everyone. These reading nooks create a spot for book storage and a place to read those said novels.

Creating dedicated reading corner ideas sounds fab to us. After all, getting lost in a good book, whether it's Wuthering Heights or a Sophie Kinsella novel, is a favored pastime for many. 

Reading nook ideas for book lovers

'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, ' says Kelly Collins, head of creative and in-house interior designer at Swyft.

'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 cozy 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.'

1. Opt for an all-white reading nook for relaxation

White reading nook by Maisons du Monde

(Image credit: Maisons du Monde)

'Whites and off whites allow you to begin each day with a clean slate and a clear mind.', says Helen Shaw, marketing director, Benjamin Moore.

'But it also affords you the ability to switch out little details as your taste (or the seasons) shift, providing a brand-new space with little effort each and every time.' 

'Highlighting focal areas such as bookcases or woodwork in a complementary color draws the eye, adding interest.'

Collins adds: 'Your reading nook needs to be free of distractions and create the perfect relaxed atmosphere for getting into a book. So, try to keep colors simple and not too busy. Block colors and natural tones are a good choice to help you relax and focus.'

2. Incorporate a futon for a fully immersive read

Reading nook with futon and room divider by Maisons du Monde

(Image credit: Maisons du Monde)

Laying on your side or on your tum is THE perfect position for reading a book and reminds us of getting sucked into a juicy book on the beach.

However, this all-weather solution means you're not reliant on a sunny day to sprawl on the sun lounger in your backyard. Futons in particular double up as a great guest beds for hosting overnight friend and family sleepovers.

'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,' says Collins. 

'Add in a comfortable blanket, fire or another 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.'

3. Create a floral and feminine scheme with pastel pink

Pastel pink reading nook with rattan storage and light flooring

(Image credit: Woodchip and Magnolia)

Is there anything sweeter than this pastel pink reading nook idea?

Perfect for young girls and ladies alike, this cotton candy corner is clad with a printed wallpaper idea. It also makes the most of an awkward alcove by incorporating a high-low shelving idea and lots of pretty white pottery.

Using rattan storage baskets and a light wooden flooring design, this beautiful Vintage Fearne Dusky Pink design, £99 per roll, Woodchip and Magnolia is perfect for a girly bibliophile.

4. Create a luxury reading nook with black and gold

Black and gold reading nook by Luxxu

(Image credit: Luxxu)

Luxury and comfort never looked so good in a reading nook idea! Here, chic materials such as velvet, brass, and marble merge beautifully to create a sophisticated scheme.

To emulate this look, find yourself a Chesterfield-style chair with quilted pockets, a palm tree in a gold pot and a tall floor lamp to avoid eye strain. Throw in a few framed monochrome wall art ideas to complete this dark, but glam room design. The teal velvet curtains create an opulent Art Deco aesthetic in this cozy corner.

'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, ' says Collins.

'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 color of design scheme for your reading corner - giving it its own personality.'

5. Create a soothing 1970s scheme with an egg chair

Woodchip & Magnolia x Fearne Cotton, Move & Flow Cream Wallpaper in a reading nook idea

(Image credit: Woodchip & Magnolia)

Reading is one activity that can be enjoyed in solitary and in silence. So if you want to create a zen environment with zilch stress, use a blend of light, fresh colors and calming patterns in your reading nook idea.

As well as health-promoting plants, and natural materials, this scheme uses a cream printed wallpaper idea which is inspired by nature. 

'Houseplants have been proven to have a calming and relaxing impact when placed in our living and sleeping spaces.' says Collins.

'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.'

In collaboration with Woodchip and Magnolia, Fearne Cotton has created a Move & Flow collection, pictured here.

She explains: 'With a huge love of movement and stretching, I wanted to incorporate some of my favorite moves into this design.'

'Using a water paint pen, I used simple lines to create these figures moving and flowing across the paper.'

6. Embrace the swinging sixties art studio decor

Reading nook idea inspired by the 1960s by Little Greene

(Image credit: Little Greene)

The sixties is a wonderful era that taught us a lot about fashion, interiors and fun times, so why not add retro touches to your reading nook?

This eco-friendly wall paint idea can be easily achieved with a bit of masking tape and a few sample pots of paint.

Now stick a music icon's album on and get stuck in. Flares and cat eye glasses completely optional.

7. Create a stylish staycation vibe with sandy browns

Reading nook idea using Color of the Year 2020 Tranquil Dawn by Dulux

(Image credit: DULUX)

Sand between your toes, a salty sea smell and a gentle cool breeze - is there anything better than indulging in a novel when you're on vacation?

But if the budget doesn't permit this year, create an affordable beachscape in your home for less.

Combining DULUX shades Tranquil Dawn and Spiced Honey, this wall paint idea means you can create a seaside paradise to get stuck into a good book. 

Add a crushed velvet or ombre rug to create a watery look underfoot, and a palm tree for exotic vibes. Now swap that mug of coffee for a Margarita and we're talking!

8. Mix and match pattern for a maximalist reading nook

Maximalist reading nook idea by MindtheGap

(Image credit: MindtheGap)

If you're a book lover, you don't just buy ONE book, so why should you choose only one interior color or pattern for your reading nook idea?

Mixing embroidery with striped cushions, a hand-painted table and upholstered armchair, these reading corner ideas are as colorful as your fave fictional narrative.

But don't feel the pressure to design this room all at once. You'll create a much more organic look and feel (and have more fun) by collecting soft furnishings and homewares over time.

9. Or create a calming and minimalist hallway nook

Reading nook in hallway by Elizabeth Rees

(Image credit: Chasing Paper)

If you don't the luxury of creating a reading nook in a room, hallway ideas are hot right now!

'Adding wallpaper to a hallway is a simple-yet-impactful way to add personality and design in an unexpected way. In my home, we have a small hallway reading nook, and adding wallpaper immediately made it feel like such a special and purposeful space.', says Elizabeth Rees, founder of Chasing Paper.

'Since the ceiling in the nook is angled, I opted for a vertical stripe print to make the space feel larger.'

10. Create a traditional reading nook with antique furniture 

(Image credit: Mark Scott)

You can create an atmospheric, alluring reading spot by lining your shelves with antique tomes picked up at fairs and specialist shops. Complete the look with an array of finds, including accessories and artwork.  

Dan Cruickshank's Georgian home (above) is the closest you’ll get to a real-life fantasy world. Filled with a vast collection of intriguing antiques and one-off pieces, this truly unique home has the power to bring the magic of fairy tales to life.

11. A window seat makes the perfect reading nook

window seat in front of traditional window in cotswold home

(Image credit: Darren Chung)

Windows are often unexploited, with seating placed facing away from the view and into the room. So why not create a window seat that's designed with nothing other than a morning read while taking in the view (and exploiting the natural daylight) in mind? Filled with cushions, they are an inviting design feature in the home of every book lover. 

Continue exploring Simon Fenwick’s restoration (above) of the unloved Grade II-listed Elm House into a beautiful, traditional country home.

12. Place a reading nook where there are no distractions

window seat in living room of arts and crafts home

(Image credit: James Balston)

The ideal reading spot will be TV-free, perhaps even radio-free, and most definitely smart assistant-free. That way, it's more likely that you and your family will settle down for an uninterrupted delve into your favorite books.

The simple design and airy feel of this white living room design idea makes it the ideal distraction-free spot. Plus it has a gorgeously lit window-seat which is just perfect for curling up in a cozy blanket and immersing yourself in a page-turner.

13. Make sure reading nook seating is inviting

(Image credit: Douglas Gibb)

There is nothing quite like snuggling down under blankets with a good book in hand and the fire roaring while the snow falls outside. 

But to make the experience really work, you'll need to ensure you invest in the best sofas. We think these gorgeous velvet sofas in Nikki and Hugh Quinn's beautiful chalet hideaway would lure us in.  

14. Build a home library

built in shelving library in an Amsterdam factory restoration

(Image credit: Anne Nyblaeus)

A wall crammed full with books is any reader's dream, so consider whether you could devote an entire side of one room to your collection with clever book storage ideas.

The more cluttered the shelving, the more charmingly eccentric it will look, as proved in Urban and Lara’s home, which is filled with intriguing collections.

15. Use color to create a calm reading nook

Surrey House Love Interiors

(Image credit: Love Interiors. Photographer Rachel Smith)

Just as white walls and furnishings will create a bright, light reading spot, using deeper, cooler shades will make for a serene space that's perfect for settling down with a book.

Here, the book shelves have been neatly blended with the walls in this grey living room idea, while the books on display are color co-ordinated in inspiring blues and greens – perfect for inviting a book lover to settle down with a good read. 

16. Zone a room with furniture to create a reading nook

Cambridge Barn

(Image credit: Neville Johnson)

If your home has a large open plan kitchen diner and living space, it's likely that there's plenty of room to place a comfortable armchair idea right next to a shelf full of books.

Ideally, place an occasional table and reading lamp close by to encourage evening reading, too.

17. Turn a garden room into a quiet reading spot

For those who love the garden just as much as they love reading, garden room ideas are a fabulous addition to any bookworm’s plot. 

Gay and David Engledow's incredible garden includes a summerhouse that offers the serenity that accompanies a beautiful garden, with some protection from the unpredictable British weather, making it a year-round getaway.

18. Find space for reading nook ideas outside 

cottage garden bench

(Image credit: Stuart Cox)

You needn't create a reading spot in a room surrounded by books – or even indoors.

Why not take a step into the world of The Secret Garden’s Mary Lennox or Anne of Green Gables and settle down in a real life secret garden? 

This bench in Ben and Mark Hamilton Anderson's quirky cottage renovation is hidden in a gorgeous flowering meadow; ideal for letting yourself get lost in the sunshine for an hour or maybe two.

19. Make a reading nook for your little ones

Jenny and Anthony Kakoudakis combine colour, heirloom pieces and mid-century style in a home reminiscent of a Parisian hotel

(Image credit: Malcolm Menzies © Future)

How cute is this? We love kid's room ideas, which make the most of a spare corner with some well-stocked bookshelf and the coolest chair we've ever seen. 

Want to do the same in your child's room? Make sure you add some task lighting, some soft furnishings for maximum comfort, and incorporate it into their play space to make reading more 'fun' than 'homework'.

'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, ' says Collins.

'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 favorite novel? Or create a reading space that your favorite 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.'

20. Go dark for maximum hygge

Jason Traves house: A dark and moody seating area in a loft conversion with an armchair and footstool, woodburning stove and deep grey painted walls

(Image credit: David Woolley)

Okay, now this is what we mean by cozy. Armchairs, footstools and stoves are the dream combo for a cold evening set-up, and this space makes us want to settle straight down with a cup of tea and a book of Gothic tales.

It might not be Halloween, but we've always got time for a spooky story or two. Create your own cocooning space by extending a dark wall color to the ceiling – it's a bold move, but you'll reap the rewards when you're oh-so-snug on a chilly night.

21. Maximize natural light for easy reading

December 2019: Katy Waters and husband Jason have created a Scandi-inspired master bedroom in the loft of their home in Ealing

(Image credit: Chris Snook)

If you crave sunlight and wilt when it's cold and gloomy, you're going to want to maximize the sunshine with plenty of natural light in your reading nook.

The owner of this loft conversion idea positioned her reading nook next to a set of sliding doors, so she benefits from constant rays in the daytime.

Add mirror ideas to reflect that light around the room, and position a wall light over your armchair for those days where the sun's just nowhere to be seen.

22. Set aside a corner in the living room

Living room by Laura Ashley

(Image credit: Laura Ashley)

This reading nook idea has everything you could possibly need: a comfy chair (back cushion a must), a window for natural daylight, a lamp for when it's night... and a great collection of color-coded books to hand. Love it.

23. Create a heavenly white shaker-style reading nook

White reading nook positioned by window with wall paneling on ceiling, shaker-style drawers and assortment of white and grey cushions

(Image credit: Sharps Bedrooms)

Taking the interiors world by storm, the cottagecore trend sees the rejuvenation of a traditional British style inspired by nature and the idyllic countryside. This picture perfect style can be achieved by complementing integrated furniture with understated, tactile soft furnishings and accessories to keep this space feeling fresh and contemporary, so it'll feel less granny and more glam!

'From Instagram to Pinterest, the cottagecore trend has proven popular this year and feels irresistibly warm and cozy. Traditional, shaker style wardrobes will create the perfect heritage inspired bedroom,' Rachal Hutcheson, national retail manager, Sharps.

'Using integrated storage solutions will ensure your space is clear from clutter and keep your room feeling bright and open. Opting for accessories in similar tones to your furniture will create a monochromatic scheme that reinvents the antique and charming country cottage style, ensuring your space remains on trend for years to come.'

How do you create a cozy reading nook?

'Honestly, you can make one almost anywhere in the home; reading nooks aren’t destined for sitting rooms and snugs alone, ' says George Miller, Neptune's home designer.

'Even the hallway can become your new reading spot if there’s a little area under the stairs perhaps – Harry Potter-style – that you could picture yourself bur-rowing under.'

'I’ve always liked the idea of putting one in a formal dining room, especially if there are drapes that could enclose a window seat and its reader within – I’d have loved that as a child.'

'This gives the room extra purpose to prevent it from being a space rarely used. For my own reading nook however, I stuck to quintessential nook territory – our bedroom.'

Royal Garden Green printed wallpaper design by Mind the Gap

(Image credit: Mind the Gap)

What should I have in my reading nook?

A side table and a good task light are non-negotiable piece fixtures that should be in your reading nook idea. 

George explains: 'Yes, you can place your book pages down, spine up over the arm of the chair, which adds real character in fact and shows the nook is in frequent use,'

'But really, a reading nook calls for at least one surface for resting things upon.'

'Depending on what time of day you’re reading, a side table calls out for tea and cookies, or if truth be told, when I use mine in the evenings, a glass of wine very much takes the place of tea when I sit down to read.'

'And while the image of being all Dickensian and reading by candlelight is charming, a table or floor lamp to provide you with glow is probably more fitting.

'Lighting is an integral part of a reading nook for a number of reasons, ' says Collins.

'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 use of the best available natural light.

Emily Shaw

Emily first (temporarily) joined the Real Homes team while interning on her summer break from university. After graduating, she worked on several publications before joining Real Homes as Staff Writer full time in mid-2018. She left the brand in 2020 to pursue another career, but still loves a second-hand bargain and sourcing unique finds to make her rented flat reflect her personality.