Reading nook
a reading nook in the stairs - use the steps themselves for storage

5 ways to create a cosy reading nook

Clever little reading nooks to inspire your own mini-library project

By Charlotte Luxford & Abi Grogan |

A reading nook is a great way to make the most of an awkward corner, landing or hallway. Create it in the autumn and it will be the perfect spot to surround yourself with books and while away a cold winter’s afternoon.

Take a look at some real-life examples of clever little reading nooks to inspire your own project.

A pocket library

In this pocket-sized library by Simon Gill Architects, honey-hued wooden shelves give a warm, cosy feel, while a skylight and small window provide ample illumination for reading. Tucked away in a side return, this compact zone proves you can create a refuge pretty much anywhere; you could also reclaim a recessed spot under the stairs, or install a window seat with built-in shelving on a landing.

Create your own reading nook in a hallway

Photo: James Britain

A cosy corner

Small wonder Sometimes it’s the tiniest spaces that can bring joy to the home; this little light-filled reading nook, in David and Michelle Parsons’ property in Essex, makes good use of the bay inside the projecting oriel window. It’s also a handy seat for guests when entertaining, as it’s right next to the couple’s open-plan kitchen.

a reading nook in a window with yellow seat cushions

Photo: Darren Chung

A bookshelf-staircase

A set of wide steps connect living spaces just screams out for built-in storage. This clever bookshelf-staircase, designed by Zminkowska De Boise Architects, connect the two halves of a split-level living room inside a renovated London flat. The steps can used as an informal seating area, while nooks on either side of the stairs offer cosy spaces for reading.

a bookshelf staircase in a London flat with split-level living areas

Photo: Tom Cronin

An attic alcove

Give a new lease of life to a corner you’ve previously overlooked, like this cosy nook in a New York loft by architect David Hotson. We love the way Hotson has tapped into the potential of an unused attic alcove by placing a daybed directly beneath a large picture window, creating a perfect space in which to curl up and savour the long summer evenings. A block of tranquil mint-green paint zones off the space and transforms it into a peaceful retreat.

reading nook in an attic alcove with daybed and pale green walls

Photo: David Hotson

Loft library

Loft Library by Arboreal Architecture, as featured in House Goals by Ruth Slavid (RIBA Books) responds to the client’s brief to provide 40 linear meters of book storage for a two-storey end of terrace house in Walthamstow, East London. Diagonal truss members in the small loft space were replaced with plywood arches that were ideal to tuck bookshelves into. There is a small study space at one end and staircase at the other, both also made of plywood.

Dream Home by Arboreal-Architecture. Photo: Agnese Sanvito

Loft Library by Arboreal Architecture. Photo: Agnese Sanvito