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cosy reading nook featuring oatmeal armchair from freedom and marble and brass side table

6 Steps to Creating a Cosy Reading Nook at Your Place

Creating a cosy reading nook is a must-do in any home if you ask me. But so often we find ourselves in stores buying pieces for said nook that don’t work.

We go to the effort of creating these nooks in our living rooms and bedrooms, but we barely ever use them. Unless you call throwing clothes on them, or giving them up to your cats to live on, ‘using’. And yes, both of those examples are scenarios from my own life in past homes.

The reason we don’t end up getting the cosy reading nook right comes down to a few key factors. We’ll explore these below and I’ll also give you some ideas you can take with you when you shop. It’s all in the name of claiming our reading nooks back again. So let’s do this!

There are six key elements every cosy reading nook needs, and I’m going to elaborate on each one below. You’ll get loads of visual cues from the photography, but there are also some important things to consider when buying each piece, that I’ll explain in the text.

Drop me a comment down below if you have any questions or have some of your own product/styling tips to share. PS the photo above is via Freedom.

grey slip cover armchair from temple and webster reading nook chairs

1. The Chair is Everything (Choose Wisely)

I know all the latest chair trends. The chairs-of-the-moment are either armless, feature wooden arms, tough leather material or worst of all: the leather sling chair that looks amazing but is horrible to sit in.

Some pockets of your home are ripe for placing trend pieces in. I love an armchair I don’t use. I’ve had many in my living room that are more for show than they are comfort. But a cosy reading nook is ALL about comfort.

You need to choose a chair with a lot of cushioning, a fairly high back and arms that’ll hug you. To examine all of this closer you need to go in-store. Steer clear of buying anything online that you’d use for comfort. Head in-store and sit on them all ’til you find the right one for your booty.

To explore my top picks for awesome occasional chairs, click here. The stunner above is the Slate Cumulus Slipcover Armchair from Temple & Webster.

brass floor lamp tan leather sofa reading nook

2. Directional Lighting is Key

Tripod lamps are fabulous, wide circular lampshades are just as divine. I love them for living rooms or bedrooms in general, but not for a cosy reading nook. In this scenario, your lighting needs to be directional. And by that I mean… you can control the direction in which the lamp head points.

The floor lamp above is a perfect example of the type of lighting you’ll need to veer toward for a reading nook. That’s if you actually want to read in your chair, which I’m assuming you do.

Any lamp with a head you can’t move around, tilt toward you or point down to your chair might not give you the lighting you need in this zone. Standard lamps with round shades, for example, are great for mood lighting an entire room. But they’re not functional here. You need a light that’ll shine directly on your book.

Image above via Neptune.

blush pink armchair with matching ottoman in bedroom corner white floors

3. A Pouffe Please!

The chair you choose might be mammoth. If it is, and you can put both feet up on it in a true ‘curling up’ style, you’re set. You won’t need a pouffe or ottoman. But if the armchair you’ve selected is a fairly meagre size, you’re going to want to put your feet up.

The very concept of a cosy reading nook is all about comfort after along day, so your tootsies need attention too. There are loads of affordable pouffes or ottomans on the market, and you can choose yours in a contrasting material to your armchair (like in the photo above) for a wonderfully relaxed look.

Just ensure the height between the seat of your chair and the top of the pouffe is fairly similar. It’ll ensure maximum comfort for your legs. If you need help shopping for the perfect option, check out my roundup of amazing ottomans.

Image above via Pinterest.

freedom wingback armchair coastal cushion beige rug reading nook

4. Ground the Zone with a Textural Rug

Often you’ll already have a rug in your living room. If this is the case, your occasional chair can sit on its outskirts. This grounds the chair and makes it feel a part of the space. If the room is quite large (and so is the rug) you might be able to place the entire chair on the rug. But for the most part, the front feet butting up against the rug is enough.

If your cosy reading nook isn’t near a rug, or it’s in a carpeted bedroom, the nook can often feel like it’s floating in the space (or lost… on it’s own). To ground it and have it make sense visually, a textural rug is a must. The one above is giving me serious decor envy and is the perfect option to make the zone feel resolved.

Love the look above? You can shop all of it at Freedom.

art club concept elysian collection powder blue armchair with wooden side table

5. A Stylish Side Table (for Tea or Wine)

So you have your rug, your occasional chair, your ottoman and a lamp. Your cosy reading nook is almost complete. Now it just needs a side table to rest your book or mag on, perch your cup of coffee on (who am I kidding – glass of wine!), and use to house gorgeous vignettes.

You don’t need to go all out here. I’d actually recommend this be one of the cheaper items of the five essentials. Go for a round side table with tripod legs if you’re in a small space, and don’t be afraid to think outside the box. An alternative side table like one of these would work wonders. And then your cosy reading nook is complete!

cosy reading nook featuring white linen armchair and crochet ottoman in all white living room

6. Cosy it up with Cushions and Throws

A cosy reading nook isn’t cosy without layers. So all you need to do to finish this whole scene off is ensure you inject some amazing soft furnishings in this season’s trending colours.

So there you have it; the five essential elements in designing your own cosy reading nook. I’d love to know if you have a nook of your own at home and how you put it together.

Drop me a comment below and let me know if there are any must-have pieces on the market you want to share with me and other TLC readers.


Chris Carroll

Outside of writing this blog, Chris is an interior designer, presenter and author. He’s also spent time on TV, on Channel 10’s Changing Rooms, as well presenting segments on Channel 7’s Sunrise and The Morning Show. If you’d like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

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10 Responses

  1. We bought a recliner it’s nice affordable but after about 2 wks we realized that there is not enough cushion in the arms which makes it uncomfortable

  2. Hi Chris, I’m in love with the brass lamp and the silver accent table in photo 3 but haven’t been able to find the stockist – any suggestions for these or similar pieces?
    Thank you, love the blog.

  3. I can totally see myself chilling with a book in any of these chairs! I have just bought myself Ikea’s wing back chair which I plan to use in my baby’s room as a nursing chair and then it will become a reading corner just like these!

    1. Hey Jade – the armchair in the very first photo is a newbie from Freedom. Happy shopping. Isn’t it a stunner? I could curl up there for days and not move! 🙂

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I’m interior designer Chris Carroll, and at TLC Interiors we’re all about helping you create an amazing home without breaking the bank. It’s affordable designer style at its best, and we make the whole process easy and fun for clients & readers alike!

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