A cosy nook to curl up with a book

personal spaces

Are you a book lover who has no time or space to indulge in your passion? Or are you a bookworm who wishes to have their own little space to kickback and relax with that latest potboiler? Either way, Swati Kapur has just the recipe to motivate you to finish what you started.

In the commotion of daily life, reading seems to have become a lost pastime. Avid readers will tell you how therapeutic it is to curl up to a book in a corner and drift off. I’ve recently turned a corner of my home into a den of books. And trust me, it wasn’t hard at all. A little balcony that was only used for peeping out and hanging clothes, now hosts a cupboard with my collection of favourite books. Sitting on a small cane chair and sipping hot chocolate with my book is what I now look forward to at the end of the day.

And then there are times when all you want is to tuck in your duvet and read to the bedside light. Opt for a covered bookshelf or a sliding drawer side table with storage space in that case. Once you have a great side table that can accommodate your needs, make sure that you invest in a good bedside light.

Ensure that you have a relaxed but not slouchy position. Wall clamped lights and wireless lamps make for a great décor item too. If the place is nice and sunny, nothing beats it. However, if there isn’t ample natural or manmade lighting, make sure that you provide for good lighting arrangement. This could mean investing in a small desk lamp, wall lamp or fitting some ceiling lamps.

Often there are areas in the house that inspire us a lot — a place where we can stretch and relax and open a book. It could be the rocking chair on one side of your living room or a beautiful window with a view or the roof top with the sky above. Any such space that helps you concentrate and enjoy a book is your ideal place for converting into a reading corner.

Dinesh Kapur from Delhi likes to always read before going to bed and therefore has invested in a side table with closed drawers to store his late-night reads. It’s a good habit for children to read a bit before they hit the bed. So keeping a few books handy by the side table is a good idea.

Hunt for an unused well-lit corner that can accommodate a swivel bookshelf or a corner book stand. Now place a small seating arrangement next to it with some of your favourite objects like a photograph in a wrought-iron frame, fruit and nut basket to munch on etc.

The seating needn’t be a huge set up, just a small comfortable and cosy chair or trunks covered with sheets and cushions too will do. You may like to make a little provision for stationery like pencils, erasers, markers and post-it notes perhaps.

It is a good idea to include a small table by your chair in your reading nook. It doesn’t have to take up a lot of room, just as long as it can support a mug of hot tea, your reading glasses and maybe a candle. You can usually find an inexpensive option at discount stores or even garage sales. Even something like an extra kitchen stool with a pretty piece of fabric draped on it works well. “I like to take notes while reading any book. It just helps me connect with the book better,” says Meeta Sharma from Mumbai.

Comfort is the most important factor in doing up the reading nook. So, never compromise on your comfort. Surround yourself with the things that make you the most comfortable such as a plush throws or soft pillows. Use colours, patterns and textures that make you feel safe and warm.

Do not use anything that you do not like or gives you an unsettling feeling. Seclude the reading nook from other parts of the room if possible. This can be as simple as putting a low dresser perpendicular to one wall to give the impression of division, or just hang curtains around the nook. The division will give you a sense of ownership and keep others from invading your private space.

Choose any wall in your living room or any other room and get racks, cupboards or drawers fitted to the wall. Get the lighting of your choice and place a good seating arrangement next to it and your reading library is ready.

Under the stairs, there  is always the wasted triangular space that can be utilised by fitting small custom-made cupboards or a little table and chair with set of drawers attached for that secluded cosy room to read.

The balcony is another airy and well-lit room that can be utilised apart from hanging clothes. Fitting small cupboards onto one of the walls, painting the wall with warm colours and placing a small stool to sit and read can do the trick. Even a closet can be turned into a reading nook with a shelf dedicated to books. Fitting lamps onto the closet can make for a nice reading room too. Bathrooms are always a good place to set up a small magazine holder for reading material. 

 Measurements are very important before you set out to find the right cupboard or attachment for the reading corner. Make sure you translate your thoughts into tasks very well for the carpenter. This can save a lot of time and energy going back and forth on the idea and wastage. Look for collapsible and foldable attachments when there is a space crunch.

Hanging shelves can save a lot of space. They come in fabric, plastics and durable fibres. Be creative and make the reading corner as exciting as you can. After all you’re going to spend your quiet moments there. If you are doing up a reading corner for kids, you can decorate it with their handmade art work and frames.

So, do a little scouting and find your favourite spot in the house. Try to find an area that is tucked away from the noise and everyday hustle-bustle. The quieter your reading area can be, the likelier you are to want to use it on a regular basis. If you have space to have multiple reading nooks, in your bedroom, living area and in the den, your family members won’t have to fight over yours!

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