How to add a reading nook to your child’s bedroom

Cute reading nook with canopy

Southern Living Photo by Laurey W. Glenn

I was an obsessive reader as a child. (A child? Ha! I’m an obsessive reader, period.) If you couldn’t find me, I was likely up a tree, in a closet, under a table with a book in hand.

So it’s understandable that I’m a little obsessed with the idea of a reading nook in a kid’s room. I’m seeing them more and more in room designs and love, love, love the idea. And it’s really not that difficult a concept to work into the room.

Key Elements:

  1. Seating – I’ve seen everything from a pile of pillows on the floor to a hammock. There are a ton of child-sized chairs and bean bag options out there, or you could just put a standard kids table and chairs in the area to make it multi-purpose.
    • Your primary goal with the seating is comfort. Note how your child sits to read and keep that in mind before you try to force them to sit up straight in a wing-back chair.
    • Child-sized items are cute and don’t take up much room. But there are a finite number of years your child will be able to fit in that chair. Big benefit to floor cushions or a bean bag chair. (Not to mention that you can join them for reading time.)
    • Similarly, there are a lot of themed chairs available and your child probably won’t want a Dora room forever. If it’s an upholstered chair, it’s easy enough to cover with a different fabric. But definitely keep in mind the need to change the chair as the room changes.
  2. Book storage – Some variety available here as well. Consider wall shelves, floor baskets or a standard bookcase.
    • Baskets are a a good way for books to travel. Keep just a few in the nook and use the basket to carry them back to the main bookcase. (Kind of like going to the library! Actually, a nice way to keep library books separate as well.)
    • Keep in mind that how much storage space you need depends on the child. How many books do you have total? How big are they? (Picture books vs. chapter books.) How fast does your child read? (And thus need a new book.)
  3. Lighting – Not the place for a glowy nightlight or flashlight. Strong, directed task lighting is what you want. Could be anything from a pendant to a clip light, a window to a floor lamp.
    • When they read. by a window is great, but limited in terms of time available to read. So even in a window seat, consider other ways to light the space.
    • If you’re good with something fairly permanent, a swinging wall lamp is a nice idea, as well as a pendant. They also help with defining the nook.
    • Multi-purpose a desk lamp if you have the two areas close together. A swing arm lamp could be turned to the nook, then switched over to the desk.

Beyond that, you could do something as a dividing element to set the nook off as something special. I’ve seen canopies, tepees, curtains and the like used to make it a real nook. You could also set it apart visually by painting that section of the wall differently or with a rug to mark the floor space.

As for where to put the nook, any corner of the room will do. Or the floor of the closet. Or in that weird space under the stairs. As long as there’s room for the seat and the lamp (and the child!), that’s all you really need.

Do you have a reading nook set up for your child?

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