Welcome back, guys! As we round the bend and head into the final weeks of this season’s One Room Challenge, we’re going to indulge our inner bookworms and take a look at an often-neglected area of the home. Neglected no longer! With a little careful thought, you can transform That Chair in the Corner into Your Favorite Reading Area.
Have a seat and relax while we walk you through the process of creating your own perfect reading area. And have a cookie. They’re just butter cookies dipped and drizzled in chocolate, but I’ve already eaten most of the bag, so… strike while the iron is hot and the cookies are on the table.
Elements of a Perfect Reading Area
Privacy and Quiet
First up is a little planning. Maybe this isn’t possible for every home, but try to find a corner of your house that’s private and quiet. It’s unlikely you’ll get much reading done if your reading area happens to be right next to where your family plays X-Box.
Comfortable Chairs or Sofa
Look! With the help of a couple anonymous benefactors, Dani was able to buy the wingback chairs her heart was set on. Thanks, anonymous benefactors! Not only are they lovely, they’re “Barbara Bush chairs” according to Dani’s husband, Michael. (??)
But they’re very comfortable! The seat is rather low too, which works well for any family with young kids.
And I hate to say it, but don’t go setting any beautiful midcentury modern pieces to this task. Those sleek, minimalist lines are beautiful, but I can’t imagine snuggling down into one of them for four hours and getting lost in a book!
Trust me on this. You need a footstool. Even Michael agreed that a footstool makes these chairs more comfortable. Because you know what’s comfortable? Slouching.
Even if your DIY footstool is just a rope wrapped around a faux-Ikea-sheepskin draped over a basket (you know, hypothetically), that shizz is way more comfortable than sitting straight up with your feet on the floor like a sucker.
Throw Blanket and Pillows
If you want to lose yourself in your book, you have to be comfortable. Keep your toes warm and your neck at that perfect angle with a patterned pillow and a cozy throw blanket.
Keeping a bookshelf close to your reading area makes it easy to fit in a story or two before bed. Or maybe three pages each from eight different stories, depending on the age and attention span of your audience.
In our bookshelf, the kid books are on the bottom shelf, easily within toddler reach. Books for mom, dad, or overnight guests sit on the shelf above it.
Oh! What’s this adorable book I see sitting out on the chair? Why, it looks like a
shameless plug for Dani’s book fun reference book of fruits for families!
It features original mixed media illustrations and useful facts for 52 familiar and exotic fruits, you say? One for each week of the year? And it helps kids foster a lifelong love of healthy and adventurous eating?!
For more information about this book, click here. Did I mention how pretty it looks on a styled kid’s room shelf? Let’s be real. We’re designers. That kind of matters.
Just because the sun goes down, it doesn’t mean you have to stop reading. Decorative lights can add ambiance to a room, but make sure your primary lamp is bright enough to read by so you don’t strain your eyes.
Somewhere to Put Your Drink
Whether it’s a ceramic tray on the top shelf of your bookcase or a few coasters on a side table, you want somewhere to set your drink! Keeping a space for your nibbles and refreshments (or gin and tonic) means you don’t have to interrupt your story just because your stomach is rumbling.
Reading Area Extra Credit Round!
These next ideas are not 100% necessary, but depending on your needs, they can really take your reading area to the next level.
Either a White Noise Machine or Speaker
Do you need perfect silence while you read? A white noise machine can help block out any unwanted noise or create a relaxing natural soundscape. If you prefer gentle beats in the background, a speaker is a good option.
We have a Bluetooth speaker in our reading area that will help our multipurpose playroom perform its double-duty role. Not only can we play music to improve reading concentration, but guests staying in the guest room can listen to music as they drift to sleep. Or kiddos playing in the playroom can boogie down. Decorative boxes on the bookshelf can hold the charging cord so you’re never without power.
Give your reading area a personal touch with artwork or family photos you love. This won’t necessarily improve your reading experience, but it will make you smile!
Our gallery wall includes family photos and custom artwork. Michael’s favorite is the bottom tan frame. He calls it “Sandstorm”.
I call it, “We Didn’t Have Time to Print That Photo Out Yet”.
I think I like his interpretation better.
Candle or Diffuser
Who doesn’t like a room that smells nice? Our small, white diffuser nearly blends into the background, but the energizing citrus smell it diffuses will keep you awake through the last few chapters of your book! A candle serves the same purpose if you prefer the warm flicker of candlelight.
Clock or Reading Timer for Kids
Last but not least, consider keeping a timepiece in your reading area. If you tend to lose track of time during a reading sesh, a small clock can help keep you on track while enhancing your bookshelf decor game. Or if you have school-aged kids, an easy-to-use timer like the one above can let them know when they’ve reached their nightly reading goal.
There you have it! A perfect space for you to cuddle up and dig into a good book. Is there anything I missed that you think is crucial to a comfortable reading area? Tell me about it in the comments!
Look back at previous work on this multipurpose playroom project:
We’re so close to the finish line! Only one more week of our multipurpose playroom renovation to go. To see what other One Room Challenge participants are working on, click here. See you next week for the finale!