The Only 3 Essentials Needed for a Compact and Cozy Reading Nook 

A reading nook can be a corner of a room, an entire room in the home, or a garden room (she-shed). Where you decide to have yours may be limited by your available space. A reading nook only needs three things. 

  1. A reading chair
  2. A side table
  3. A reading light

That is the perfect trio for a reading nook

Style Choices for Reading Nook Essentials

Reading Chair Styles

Papasan chairs 

These are often rattan style with a plump cushion. 

Slipper chair 

These sit low to the floor with a high back. (The name comes from its intended use – for women to sit low to the floor to put their slippers easily). 

Barrel chair 

These are in the shape of a rounded barrel with a section cut out to provide seating with a rounded backrest. 

Club chairs 

These are traditional leather armchairs designed for lounging on. 

Wingback chair 

This is another traditional style for a more formal reading nook. 

Chaise Lounge

These are longer than a chair, but shorter than a sofa, yet still provide enough room to rest your legs on the chair. 

Rocking chair 

Modern variations of the rocking chair (or gliders) can be good options for a reading nook in a nursery providing a soothing experience for parents and baby. 

Accent chairs 

These are available in multiple designs with some being for occasional use that focus more on style than comfort. Accent chairs for comfortable reading regularly are best with a higher back and armrests. 

Armchairs and footstools 

In this category, there are a range of armchair styles that have matching footstools. 

Hot tip: Pair a comfy reading chair with a stylish ottoman to read with your feet up. Ottomans give you storage for books and double-up as a footrest. 

Choosing the Best Side Table for a Reading Nook

The C Table

A C table or C-shaped table is the perfect choice for small spaces. The base slides under your seat transforming it into a tray. For seats with a solid base,  you can use it as a compact end table. Some have adjustable heights to cater to the different styles of chairs. 

Nesting tables 

Nesting tables are the ideal choice for leisurely rooms that will be used for more than reading. For example, when designing a reading nook in a games room or crafting room, you could use one as a side table when you’re using the reading chair, and for hosting a games night, the individual tables can be used as serving stations for snack bowls and beverages. 

Nesting tables are a good choice for small a craft room without a large table as the three tables can provide more space for organizing materials, such as when assembling a book nook kit, you might have one table with the parts you’re assembling, another covered for painting, and another side table to place parts while the glue or paint dries. When completed, they stack neatly away making them perfect for multiple hobby activities in small spaces.

Pedestal side tables

These have a central support and a rounded top. When not in use, they’re great spots for a vase of flowers or similar decor pieces. As a reading table, look for lightweight tables that will be easy to move to your reading chair from wherever you have it at other times of the day. 

Console tables 

These are similar to side tables but are longer and taller. They’re often used as accent pieces, yet, they also make terrific dividers. If your sitting room is large enough to partially partition off a section to use as a dedicated reading nook, console tables can be placed behind a sofa, in which case, it acts as a room divider. 

Some console tables have shelving, some have drawers, and some have both. These can be the ideal table option to place beside a reading chair with your books within easy reach, either on shelves, on the table, and with your reading knick-knacks like glasses, stationery, or a collapsible reading rest conveniently stored in the drawers until you need them. 

Perfecting the Lighting for Functionality and Style

Swing arm floor lamps

Swing arm floor lamps make ideal reading lights as you can move the lamp with the arm without having to move the entire floor lamp. These are best for armchair readers. 

Desk lamps

Desk lamps are a good option for tabletop lighting. If you plan to use a C-shaped table as a tray, these can perch nicely on the table, taking up little space and since most are flexible, you can direct the light onto the page, rather than illuminating the entire table.  

Clip-on lights

Clip-on lights are the best choice for compact spaces, such as a reading nook without the space to accommodate a desk or a floor lamp. Some are designed with different sizes of clips. A headboard clip-on light could be attached to the wing of a wingback chair, whereas a smaller clip-on light would only clip onto the book. 

LED neck reading lights

As the name suggests, these are wearables, worn around your neck, usually with a LED light on either side. Some are dimmable, making them good options for those who like to read a little in bed.