Can reading get more fun? The right book nook might make it possible.

By Lauren Phillips
Updated March 09, 2020

If you consider yourself a reader, no one needs to explain the benefits of reading to you; you probably already have a stack of good books ready to go and a reading list longer than your to-do list. One of the true glories of reading is that you can do it anytime, anywhere, but there’s also something special about curling up with a great book in a cozy, comfortable reading nook.

Also known as a book nook, a reading nook is a place where you can curl up and enjoy your latest novel or autobiography. Beyond that, though, a reading nook can be whatever you want it to be. Just like anyone who reads can be a reader, anywhere you read can become a book nook—it doesn’t have to have a towering bookshelf or enormous pile of pillows (though those are certainly nice details to include in any reading nook). Depending on the size of your space, a reading nook can be as small as an intentionally placed comfy chair or as large as a whole room: what matters is that it’s a space where reading can take place.

Seeking reading nook ideas as eagerly as you seek out the best books? Look no further: These book nook ideas offer all sorts of inspiration on everything from book arrangement to seating selection. When you’re ready to carve out a reading nook in your home, these ideas will be the perfect starting spot.

Reading nook ideas


This shelf-lined room is more library than nook: Anyone with plenty of space, shelving, and books can pull inspiration from the book arrangement, clever book ends and tchotchkes, and varied seating. (The ability to change seats during a reading marathon is a true luxury.) Note the oversized pillows for lying on the (carpeted) floor, the powerful lamp for late-night reading, and the side-table for in-progress books, too.


A reading nook doesn’t have to be huge: Here, it’s just a packed shelf of books and a comfy place to sit. (The window is a nice touch.) Placing a book nook at the edge of a room helps it seem cozier, and the window offers plenty of natural light—and fresh air. In a space this cozy, the haphazard arrangement of books just adds to the charm and emphasizes the owner’s passion for reading.


This reading nook for kids is perfectly set up for little ones just falling in love with books. The large, wide seat is a great choice for kids who can’t sit still, while the pillows and kid-only seat allow for plenty of play and personalization. The wall-mounted shelves erase any risk of furniture tip-overs, too, so the space is truly kid-friendly.


Sometimes, out of necessity, a reading nook needs to be a public space in your home: Carving a space out of your entryway or living room is better than having no book nook, right? In this space, a charming built-in offers storage and shelves to display knick-knacks and heirlooms—plus a cozy bench seat with excellent lighting for reading. When visitors are over, it’s a casual vignette with conversation-starting pieces; when you’re home alone, it’s your go-to reading spot: a win-win.


Yes, a shelf-lined library is a dream come true, but a book-filled corner is just as literary—and just as impressive. If you can’t spare a whole room’s worth of wall space but you still want that library-inspired look, consider confining your book collection to a corner, and then fill that corner with all the books you can. (Bonus points if you arrange them by color.) This book nook is completed with the addition of a simple chair paired with a warm throw, which offers the necessary place to read without completely filling the small space.


This nook is more about plants than paper, but that doesn’t make it less of a book nook: When the number of books is lower, that means there’s just more room for other personal effects, such as this collection of greenery. For those committed to supporting local libraries and buying fewer books (or who don’t want to accumulate too many books that need to be packed up and moved), this is a fresh reminder that a reading nook is, at its core, a good place to sit, read, and be peaceful.


Even a small stretch of wall can serve as a reading nook: Here, the built-in shelving only takes up a few feet of wall space, but the chair, tall plant, and small stool help carve the alcove out as a spot for reading and relaxing. Sometimes there’s no choice but to turn a small bit of a larger room into a reading nook, but doing so has its own benefits: The nook seating can easily be pulled into the larger room to accommodate more people, and avid readers can enjoy their place of peace and the company of other family or household members at the same time.


Sometimes, the best reading light is natural light, as proven by this luxe, pastel-hued reading bench. The abundant pillows are perfect for reclining against, and there’s plenty of light to go around, even at night, thanks to the ornate lantern. For readers who value their privacy (and reading undisturbed), the drapery can be unfastened to separate this cozy spot from the outside world.


Despite the sorry tale of Harry Potter and the Cupboard Under the Stairs, this space can be put to good use—and it’s a lot of wasted real estate, so converting your under-stairs space into something useful is in your best interest. If you want a reading nook and a more efficient under-stairs space, take inspiration from this clever conversion, which offers a plush seat and plenty of pillows for reading (or just napping). An overhead wall lamp ensures plenty of light by which to read, and smart built-in storage below the bench can be used to store reading materials.


Some reading nooks for kids are very kid-oriented: great for little ones, but not so great for older children (or their parents). If you have a kid who loves reading but is also growing up quickly, consider a reading nook that they’ll enjoy now and in a few years. This one has a swing chair (fun for all ages!) and a bookshelf-desk combination piece that kids can customize as they grow.


If your idea of a dream book nook is more about the atmosphere and less about the presence of books, consider this space, which strikes an uber-peaceful note. It takes a minimalist approach to the reading nook, with limited decorations and low-profile furnishings. Still, the cozy chair is there (every reading nook needs a cozy chair), and storage space is abundant for those books you just need to fit in. A side table offers space for storing books and reading snacks alike.