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

How to Create a Cosy Reading Nook you’ll Actually Use

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!

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

How to Create a Cosy Reading Nook you’ll Actually Use

There are five 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.

cosy reading nook with tufted grey armchair and silver steel round side table

1. The Chair is Everything (so choose wisely!)

I know all the latest chair trends. The chairs-of-the-moment are either armless, feature wooden arms, tough leather material or the worst one of all, the leather sling chair that looks amazing but is an absolute bitch 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.

cosy reading nook with orange armchair in kids bedroom with black side table and pom pom curtain trim

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.

cosy reading book with white armchair and silver pouffe and brass side table

3. A pouffe, if you 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.

cosy reading nook with green armchair polka dot cushion and white fur rug

4. Stay Grounded 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.

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

5. A stylish side table finishes it all off

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!

Over to you!

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.

Image credits for this post: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Outside of writing the TLC Interiors blog, Chris is an interior stylist and author. You can also catch him on your TV screens as a designer on Channel 10's Changing Rooms. If you'd like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

Comments (7)

  • Jade

    My goodness!
    Do you know where I can find the cream lush chair in the very first photo?!

  • 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!

  • Emma

    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.

  • Angela

    Hi Chris, love your post. I love the green chair posted in the 3rd picture. Do you lnow where i can purchase it?


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