Cool, Cozy Reading Nooks

Creating an Escape at Home

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Sometimes, you have to make do with what you have. While I dream of jetting off to a sunny vacation spot this summer, it looks like the closest thing to an "escape" I'll get will be getting lost in a good book.

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Which is hardly to be scoffed at, I realize. Reading can be wonderfully transporting, and there's something about summer reading which is especially so. This time of year I find myself making more time for those "indulgent" pursuits, and I'll often be more expansive in my choices of reading matter, too.

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Of course, it helps to have somewhere comfortable and inspiring to read. Though not every home has the space for a dedicated reading nook, even a cozy chair in a corner can be devoted to the activity. This summer, think about temporarily rearranging your home to make room for reading, with these tips to help.

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1. Somewhere cozy to sit. A bit obvious, but important nonetheless. Window seats, built-in benches and floor cushions are popular looks, but a cozy chair is just as serviceable (not to mention more versatile). It all depends on how you like to read- upright or reclined. If going for a chair, it's nice to have an ottoman or somewhere to rest your feet, as well.

2. A room with a view. Looking at the photos above, it seems that a window is de rigueur for a proper reading nook. This is for both practical reasons (natural light is great for your eyes to read by, so make use of it during the daylight hours) and aesthetic ones (it's nice to have somewhere pretty to rest your eyes between chapters). Views of the ocean, mountains, or picturesque European rooftops are ideal, but even just some trees can do the trick.

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3. Lots of layers. The best reading nooks are full to overflowing with cushions and throws. It might be summer but the temperature can still dip at night, and having ample textiles around you also increases the sense of luxury in this particular escape. I favor old quilts made by my grandmother, but anything soft and supportive will do.

4. Accessories galore. Design really is in the details, and for a great reading nook you'll need plenty. A good lamp (table or floor) for when the daylight starts to fade goes without saying. You'll also want a side table or somewhere to rest a cup of tea or a laptop (reading often brings out the researcher in me, and I like to have Wikipedia close at hand) and some art on the walls. Last but not least, I think that something alive, be it a houseplant or some fresh flowers, helps create a peaceful ambiance.

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Do you have a reading nook in your home, or any plans to create one this summer? Bonus points for anyone who wants to recommend a great summer read!


Re-edited from a post originally published 7.6.12 - AB

(Image credits: Claire Bock for Isabelle's Top Floor Flat in London; House to Home; Andrea Sparacio; A Rosy Note; Alvhem; Safdie Rabines Architects )