Personal Space: 4 Tips for Creating a Cozy Reading Nook
A few weeks ago, my husband and I moved from the Victorian-era apartment in Uptown, where we’ve lived in for nearly seven years, to a charming circa-1900s shotgun not far away. What we gave up in turn of the 20th century architectural details, we’ve gained in turn of the 21st century elements. For example, we now have a fireplace in every room (albeit none that function) and a lot more space, so you’ll hear zero complaints from me about ceilings that are a couple of feet lower and the loss of transom windows. The increase in space enabled me to create a proper reading nook, for which I will be eternally grateful. Whether you have a spare room or simply a tiny corner to claim, here are a few tips for making it cozy. Which is an especially attractive proposition as we head into fall.
1. First, you must acquire a comfortable chair. The emphasis here is on the word comfortable, which is non-negotiable, because you and I both know you will not spend quality time kicking back with your favorite book if you are seated in a hard, unforgiving chair. Your reading nook is not for show; it is for reading and relaxing. Maybe it’s also for meditating and journaling. I don’t know what you do with your downtime. The point is, you will spend a lot of time in this spot if you are uncompromising about comfort. Beg, borrow or steal a chair that you will love — OK, don’t steal it, but you get the picture.
2. Next, it is vital to include all things soft and fuzzy in your nook. I cannot describe in a way that will do it justice the blissful transition of removing your fuzzy house slippers, placing your soles on a furry rug, then wrapping yourself in a fluffy blanket. Just trust me on this one. It is divine!
3. Now, it’s time to add the items you will use in this space. Grab your favorite books, your current read, notebooks and journals, pens, a coaster and a couple of decorative items. These should all be within reach, preferably on a chic little side table, but if you have to drape fabric over a milk crate and use a tray as a tabletop, that will work, too. Add extra books, magazines and notebooks to a handy basket. The coaster will remind you to always have a hot cup of coffee, tea or cocoa when you settle in.
4. Finally, surround yourself with art, plants and other decorative items. These are the finishing touches that add life to your spaces. Which of course is literal when it comes to plants. If you have a black thumb, consider faux foliage or paper flowers. If plants aren’t your thing, focus on the art. For those with a tight budget, frame postcards, pressed botanicals, book covers, albums or the pages from magazines. Shop flea markets, thrift stores and art markets. The latter is a great place to start and offers the opportunity to support local artists. Look for art by college students in your area as well. Pick pieces that inspire and transport you.
Enjoy making this space your own and infusing it with your personal style. Tweak often.