The 4 Ingredients That Make Up the Perfect Reading Space, According to Real Estate Agents

published Oct 9, 2019
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Is there anything better than cozying up with a good book and a mug of hot tea on a rainy weekend morning? As someone who gives myself a monthly Kindle budget, a comfortable place to read in my home is a must.

As service to my fellow bookworms out there, I talked to some real estate experts to scope out what exactly makes for a perfect reading nook in a home. Whether you’re house hunting and want to ensure your new space has a spot ideal for getting lost your next page-turner, or you’re rethinking your home’s layout, there are four key features that create a great reading nook.

Read on—no pun intended—to learn how to get your own perfect literary lair:

Credit: Viv Yapp

Great natural light

One of the key ways to blow through a best-seller? Make sure you can clearly see the words on the page, of course. Just like all the best work spaces, a picturesque reading space must have impeccable natural lighting.

While you can get away with a big window (south-facing, preferred), Allison Chiaramonte, an agent with Warburg Realty in New York City, says the ideal reading nook is an elevated bay window with a seat. “There is something about the separation of that little space that encourages and invites one to sit and get lost in a book,” she says.

A great window also provides another welcome respite: A vivid scene to gaze upon when your eyes need a break from the text.

Feel like your indoor spaces are lacking? Explore the great outdoors. Samira Tapia, an agent with Compass in Los Angeles, California, recommends create a reading space that indulges your reading habit, and gives you a little vitamin D, too. While she thinks a pergola and cushioned outdoor sectional is the best way to go, any deck or patio can aid your to-be-read list with the addition of a comfortable seat.

Credit: Marie-Lyne Quirion


A reader’s worst fear (besides too-small text size, lazy editing, and an incredibly long waiting list at the library?) Not being able to get comfortable. There’s a reason why readers love all things “cozy,” of course: It’s the prime condition for tearing through a novel.

While some fluffy blankets will do just fine, Chiaramonte thinks the platonic ideal is a fireplace. Not only does a roaring fire provide heat, it also provides a cozy ambiance.

“There’s something about the hum/cackling of a fire and heat that encourages one to slow down and enjoy a novel or even a glossy magazine,” she says. 

While fireplaces certainly have their downsides, you can still get the snug atmosphere without ever having to turn it on. Even if it’s only decorative, Beatrice de Jong, consumer trends expert at Opendoor, recommends using it as a centerpiece for your seating placement and keeping your book collection atop its mantle for a reading-oriented feel.


Speaking of places to keep your book collection: Storage is imperative in creating a perfect reading space. There might not be anything more exciting and/or satisfying to a bibliophile—other than finishing that buzzy debut in record time—than seeing the novels and essay collections they’ve torn through all in one place. While a space should be cozy, it should be at least roomy enough to house a shelf big enough to store a good chunk of your personal library.

Credit: Anna Spaller


Take a cue from Henry Bemis for this one and try to get your reading room as removed as possible. While you probably don’t have a banking vault in your basement, a tucked away nook, sunny corner, or sun room can work as well. Tapia says one of her favorite reading nooks took a cue from a beloved literary favorite: A reading nook under a stairway, a la Harry Potter. While it may be a tight squeeze for an adult reader, it works especially well for kids—they’ll love feeling like they have their own secret fort.

Moving and (gasp!) trying to “declutter” your personal book collection? Try using this bibliophile-approved book purging method. It won’t hurt, we promise!

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