When most people read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, they are astonished to learn that The Boy Who Lived sleeps in a cupboard under the stairs. For me, though, it always seemed kind of...cozy.
Don’t get me wrong—sleeping in a cupboard under the stairs is not ideal, but as a reading nook, it could work. Give me an area with soft lighting, pillows, a blanket, and a book, and I’d call this the perfect reading spot—perhaps not for The Boy Who Lived, but for The Person Who Reads. Reading nooks (or corners) provide readers with a designated space for opening a book and shutting out the rest of the world.
Every nook consists of at least five essential elements:
1. Good lighting. Natural or artificial is up to you. This includes the sun, a soft-bulb lamp, white twinkle lights—whatever puts you in the reading mood.
2. A throw blanket. You’ll need it to keep yourself warm or to hide under should your story be about werewolves, vampires, or teen angst. If you’re near water, a towel will do the same job.
3. A bookshelf, case, bag, or drawers—anything that stores your books, keeping them safe and separate from your other belongings.
4. A drink—tea, coffee, wine, beer, or a strange and wonderful combination of all four.
5. A book. I mean…duh.
After that, we can divide reading nooks into three categories: The Built-In Nook, The Arm Chair Nook, and The Outdoor Nook—each with their own Pinterest board of ideas!
The Built-in Nook: Ah, yes. Like Harry Potter’s cupboard, but less traumatizing. These spaces are built-in areas of the home that have been created or converted into reading areas. They save space because they’re already a part of another functional element of the home, such as a wall, window, or closet. The built-in nook can fit one, maybe two adults at once, which provides you with a place of solitude.
The Arm Chair Nook: Can’t cut a hole into one of your walls? Does your shoe addiction keep you from freeing up your walk-in closet? Then what you seek is The Arm Chair Nook. The only thing this reading area requires is a large, comfy chair—preferably with a spot to rest your feet.
The Outdoor Nook: While snowy days are ideal for curling up on an oversized chair, sipping tea, and reading by the fire, sometimes it’s a sunny day outdoors that makes for the best reading conditions. Lots of people already furnish their decks and backyards with chairs or hammocks. These make for peaceful outdoor reading nooks, so long as they are located where the reader can easily concentrate. For those who don’t have outdoor furniture, a blanket under the shade of a tree will suffice. And if you find yourself lucky enough to spend a day at the beach, a beach chair, a book, and the soft music of the ocean make for the perfect—and affordable—reading nook.