I think every little girl who saw Beauty and the Beast dreamed of being Belle in a library full of books, am I right? While this mini library and sitting area doesn’t have quite the same romantic appeal, it will still work great for an escape whether you’re reading, knitting, or napping. Read on for our tips for creating a relaxing reading room, in any corner of your home.(image via Better Homes and Gardens)
6 Steps to Creating a Relaxing Reading Room
1. Make the books a home
You can’t have a reading nook without bookshelves. (Well, I suppose you could if you only ever purchased for your Kindle library, but where’s the fun in that?!?) You can turn any nook, cranny, or corner into your own personal library with our built-in bookshelves tutorials. Read here for the start-to-finish instruction on building a traditional bookshelf, or go here to build a corner bookshelf.
2. Curate a beautiful collection
I’ve confessed before: decorating bookshelves is not really in my comfort zone. Building them, sure! But decorating a bookcase?…. not my strongest talent. Thankfully, there are plenty of people in the world who DO have that talent. Check out these decorating tips + 5 things every bookcase needs over at Thistlewood Farm, plus some basic tips for styling a home library that we’ve picked up and then some rules of bookshelf aesthetics to get you started.
If you’re lamenting that your books are not magazine-pretty, don’t feel like you have to give up hope or throw out your library: make the colors work for you like Megan did, or you can cover the books with paper, fabric, lace, etc. Worried about finding the right book when you need it? Just follow this tutorial to print the book titles on the paper covers for a classy look that also makes it easy to find what you’re looking for!
3. Decorate with more than just books
One of the hardest part about decorating a bookshelf is making it beautiful and balanced, not just stuffed chock full of books. Using baskets on a shelf or two creates clean lines and lets you hide magazines, craft supplies, snacks — whatever! — without making the shelf look cluttered. Woven baskets never really go out of style, but if you’re looking for something more than traditional wicker, try a basket made of seagrass, rattan, or water hyacinth and maize to add both storage and natural texture. Or if you prefer the book look, use this tutorial from Shannon at Sewing Barefoot to make a hidden book storage area!
4. Make it inviting
Add a comfy chair in your style of choice, a throw blanket, and maybe a pillow or two to ensure that your reading room is as ready for a nap as it is for a deep study session. A simple slipper chair, like pictured, is comfortable without being too bulky.
5. Tie up loose ends
Keep your book and snacks close at hand with a simple end table. The simple two-tier one pictured is perfect for displaying books on the bottom tier while leaving the top tier open for use. Here’s a similar inexpensive option, or you could refinish one you already have, use a furniture hack to make the perfect table for you, or build one (like this Moroccan-inspired side table or these modern end tables).
6. Remember: colors make the room
For your special relaxing space, decorate in colors that you love. Generally, lighter tones are considered more relaxing, but if you love bright and bold, don’t let someone stop you from decorating that way! This is YOUR space and it needs to fit what you want. Don’t know what you want? Start collecting images of rooms you really love (this is what Pinterest was built for!) and focus on the feel and mood that you want the room to have, and then start creating your own mood board to guide your color and decor choices. Go here to learn more about using inspiration images to create your home’s best look.
PS: I also love the painted door. I finally finished painting all of mine and I am so in love!
More lovely reading rooms to inspire you:
Need more home inspiration? Try these other Get This Look articles:
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