Looking for that cosy corner to lose yourself in your favourite book? Your home can offer plenty of options. All you need to do is think creatively.
Roopa Belur has some suggestions.
“Books are not made for furniture, but there is nothing else that so beautifully furnishes a house” – He nry Ward Beecher.
One of the biggest challenges we had, as we built our house, was to provide reading nooks for a family with a healthy appetite for reading and books. Curling up with a book on a lazy Sunday morning with a tall glass of hot jasmine green tea to escape from the realities of a rigorous academic life was my daughter’s definition of a relaxing weekend. As a student of English Literature, I have quite a collection of classics. And, of course, my eight-year-old son whose ‘Chota Bheem’ and ‘Spiderman’ comics were a drop in the sea of books. My mission was to create the perfect space for them and nurture the next generation of book lovers.
That cosy corner
So, what are some factors one needs to consider while creating comfortable and inspiring reading nooks? Here are some tips to help you regroup your thoughts for a reading nook that works perfectly for you and your family:
Identify location: Choosing a perfect location for a reading nook is important. This can vary, based on age, gender, occupation and size of the house. Select an area of the house that makes you feel great and enables you to concentrate on your reading.
A quiet spot with varied lighting sources is often welcoming. Children may prefer a fun reading nook with a cushion, pillows, and light in an indoor or an outdoor tent. Elderly people enjoy a sense of quietude and the feel of a library, while teenagers may like a window sill with natural or soft lighting with a wall of pillows and a throw.
A reading nook in the kitchen is well-deserved for a mother planning a lavish menu for an upcoming party or a quick read of the newspaper and a pot of coffee.
Lighting by day: Ensure the reading space has plenty of light. Using sunlight as a natural source and planning a nook by the window is a must for those who love to read. Direct sunlight must be avoided as it can be harmful to your eyes. The glaring sunlight can be diffused with sheer drapes or light window treatments.
Lighting by night: Artificial lighting generally involves more planning than natural lighting. After dark, the reading space must be made inviting and cosy, yet bright so the eyes are not strained.
Down-facing lights such as floor lamps, wall sconces and table lamps with subdued and focused lighting are ideal for reading nooks.
Seating: Once the spot and lighting decisions are made, it’s time to work on that perfect seating.
A variety of options are available for seating, from a lazy boy to an armchair, or a mattress on the floor. Bean bags are great for reading books or listening to soothing music. Oversized or rocking chairs work well as they provide plenty of space to read and nap, if you so decide to.
Accessorise: Accessories can bring added comfort. Enhance the feel and use of a reading nook with the right accessories and add amenities that make the nook a special space for you. Access to a well-stocked bookshelf is important so that you can browse through the variety of selection in reading material. Pillows, throws, and cushions make the reading area comfortable. Photographs of loved ones, flowers, plants, and a centre or side table for placing your knick knacks make the nook complete and cosy.
Importance of colour: Colour can make a big impact on the room; rich colours like red, burgundy, and purple add a sense of romance and drama. Did you know that the recommended colour for a study is red, as it is improves concentration?
Cool ideas to consider
Let the creative juices flow. If you have space constraints, don’t worry. Some really neat ideas that one can consider for reading nooks include a closet, wide shelf on the wall, a tent (for children), a small window sill, a kennel under a backyard tree, and a loft or an attic. Fill empty spaces on the wall with books.
Storage: Ensure that additional shelves are kept ready for more storage. This makes the room easy to use and more organised.
The possibilities are endless, even with a limited budget. An Internet search will provide you with lots of design ideas and DIY projects. Plan on creating your own warm and fun reading nook for your family this summer!