Where you put a cosy place to read will de­pend on house­hold habits

The Sun Times (Owen Sound) - - REAL ESTATE - MELISSA RAYWORTH

A chair large enough to curl your legs up into is the ul­ti­mate comfy zone for read­ing.

We dec­o­rate our homes in or­der to en­joy them. For book lovers, adding a cosy and well-lit space ded­i­cated to read­ing can be the per­fect fin­ish­ing touch.

Most homes, of course, don’t have a spare room for use as a li­brary. But in­te­rior de­sign­ers of­ten carve out one sec­tion of a liv­ing room, sun­room or mas­ter bed­room as a ded­i­cated read­ing area, says de­signer Pamela Har­vey.

Har­vey says that where you put a read­ing space de­pends on your habits. Are you seek­ing a spot that’ s pri­vate and si­lent, or would you rather have an open, airy read­ing space to share with fam­ily mem­bers? Here, she and two other in­te­rior de­sign­ers — Kansas­based Ja­clyn Joslin, founder of Cov­eted Home, and Mary­land­based Kel­ley Prox­mire — sug­gest ways to cre­ate a per­fectly lux­u­ri­ous space, even on a bud­get.


Joslin has helped two clients turn un­used for­mal din­ing rooms into multi-use spa­ces. Al­though the rooms are used by the en­tire fam­ily, she says, “in both homes we added nice comfy chairs for the adults to sit in and read.”

Prox­mire added a read­ing space to a home of­fice for a woman who wanted her kids to cud­dle up and read while she worked.

She has also cre­atively re­pur­posed spare clos­ets, a trick that’s es­pe­cially use­ful in chil­dren’s bed­rooms. For one client, she re­moved closet doors, added a padded bench seat across the width of the closet, and then added a wall-mounted light fix­ture.

Built-in draw­ers un­der­neath the seat and shelf space above mean the closet still of­fers stor­age.

Add pil­lows to the padded seat and a cur­tain for pri­vacy, Prox­mire says, and you’ve got the per­fect place for a child to curl up and get lost in books.

And if your read­ing space must be in a com­mon area, you can still have a mea­sure of pri­vacy.

Try adding a dec­o­ra­tive screen or strate­gi­cally placed book­case that func­tions as a room di­vider. That’s “a great way to carve out a lit­tle space in a cor­ner of a room for a re­treat-like feel­ing,” Joslin says.


Build in “the flex­i­bil­ity to have dif­fer­ent lev­els of light” in your read­ing space, says Har­vey, who sug­gests a mix of ta­ble lamps, floor lamps and small read­ing lamps.

“Task lamps work re­ally well,” she says.

Joslin agrees: “I love floor lamps that are sleek and min­i­mal that can be tucked un­der or right next to the chair to pro­vide di­rect light for read­ing,” she says.

“Swing arm wall sconces are also a great op­tion for a read­ing nook.”

Along with plenty of spots to plug in all this light­ing, don’t for­get to have enough out­lets for charg­ers if you’ll be read­ing on a dig­i­tal de­vice, Har­vey says.


Read­ing chairs don’t have to be ex­pen­sive. But they must be com­fort­able. “A chair large enough to curl your legs up into is the ul­ti­mate comfy zone for read­ing,” Joslin says, “so choos­ing chairs with arms and styles that don’t skimp on seat space is key.”

And no mat­ter how com­fort­able and large your read­ing chair may be, all three de­sign­ers sug­gest in­clud­ing an ot­toman or foot­stool so your legs can be stretched out and el­e­vated.

“Drink ta­bles next to the chairs are also a pri­or­ity item, along with a few cosy throw blan­kets strewn about,” Joslin says.

Keep these items within arm’s reach so you won’t have to get up once you’ve set­tled in to read. You’ll also want to keep read­ing ma­te­rial eas­ily at hand.

“If you’re tight on floor space,” Joslin says, “try some wall-mounted shelv­ing to dis­play books or a very util­i­tar­ian yet still stylish ver­ti­cal book­case.”

Con­sider adding a small rolling bar cart or even a wet bar if your bud­get and space per­mit, Har­vey says. “Maybe you’ll want a glass of scotch or maybe it’s a cof­fee bar,” she says. What­ever your pref­er­ence, hav­ing these items in your read­ing space adds to the sense of lux­ury.


If you have enough space and love a tra­di­tional “li­brary” look, Joslin says, “go full tilt with a slid­ing lad­der, wing chairs in ei­ther leather or some tweed/wool type fab­ric and a chaise lounger if there is room.”

But Prox­mire says you don’t have to be limited to dark pan­elling and leather up­hol­stery. Have fun with soft or bold colours and cheer­ful prints if they’ll bring you joy.


An ot­toman helps turn a com­fort­able liv­ing room chair into the per­fect place for read­ing, ex­em­pli­fied by this home li­brary de­signed by Kel­ley Prox­mire.

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