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A reading room is a place usually found in a library where students can study without being disturbed by people coming and going in the main room. For many people when you imagine your dream house it will include a personal library and somewhere created for you to read in, your very own reading room. Even with a move from paper books to electronic devices there is nothing like having a room designed for one purpose – to be the utmost in comfort and design to read in. If reading is one of your favorite hobbies but finding the time, space and comfort to really dive into a great book is difficult in your house, then designing your own reading room is the answer. So if you have the extra space here are some things to think about before you start.

If you are looking to purchase a house that comes with a library and reading room, or are building something, you will realize that such a luxury does seem to come at a price. But really it is easy enough to re-decorate and purpose a room in your home with a few changes and some planning, on a smaller budget if you need to. Whatever your budget if it is a reading room you want, it is a reading room you shall have! First of all you need to think about what you want in the room. Is it going to act as a media room, library, or study as well as a reading room? If it is you will need to think about shelving, internet access, a desk, as well as some comfortable seating and very importantly, good lighting.

lovely-reading-area Small yet cozy reading room

Choosing a room

If there are several options to choose from think about light and sound. Choose a room that gets a lot of natural light but also is either soundproofed or far away from bustle outside and inside the house. Somewhere like an attic or loft area would be great. If the budget allows for it add some sound proofing to the room in the form of wall insulation and put in some big windows or a skylight. You also need to decide what part of the modern life you need to have access to. If you will be using the space as an office than you will need phone access too, but if this is a room solely for reading in then skip all the technology that interrupts you. Do not put in a television in the room.

reading-spot Reading spot with plenty of natural light

Decorating the room

If you want a library feel to the room you may want to go with traditional wood in the furniture, wooden paneling perhaps on the walls, a neutral color carpet and neutral walls. However if you want something more personal you could bring a theme you have used elsewhere in the house to this room. Paint the walls in a color scheme that relaxes you, avoid busy wallpaper that distracts you. Appropriate options might be sage, soft blue, white or a pale yellow.  Think soft hues and create a tranquil room to escape to. You could include favorite author quotes as decorative touches, have a plant or two in the room too, something like a spider plant would help keep the air fresh.

home-library-reading-room Well stocked with books

For the floor this is really quite a personal choice. Many people prefer the look of hardwood or ceramic tiles, which are also easy to keep clean. However some prefer carpeting as this gives you something soft to walk on, adds warmth and color to the room and insulates some of the noise from below. If you like the former option you can always put a rug or two down to sink your toes into while you read.

Furniture choices

If you are creating a space to study in and work in as well as read in, you will need a desk and perhaps another couple of smaller tables if there are several people that might be using the room at the same time. Make sure the chairs at the desk are comfortable but encourage good posture. But most importantly you need somewhere you can read in comfort. Put in a sofa or a large plush armchair, add in cushions, pillows and throws so you can get comfortable. Have a loveseat at the window, perhaps some bean bags for the children to use. Add a small table next to where you will read for a lamp and your cup of coffee, or a notepad and pen if you are making notes. If you need storage space in here for manuscripts, paperwork and so on, add a filing cabinet or two. Make sure the book shelves you select are the right height and width for the types of books you have. If you are varnishing or staining them do it elsewhere and let it dry before moving them so that that smell does not hang around for a long time making reading difficult.

traditional-library Traditional style reading room with library feel to it


If you have several tables or desks each one should ideally have access to a lamp or desk light, over head lighting will not suffice and you do not want to over tire your eyes reading in poor lighting. Allow as much natural light into the room as possible. If you will be reading the mornings consider having a reading room that faces east, if you are an afternoon person, have one facing west.

reading-room-bright Big windows for a bright reading area

Arranging and cataloging your books

If you want to create private areas in the room and it is large enough you could consider having shelving in the center of the room as well as or instead of on the walls. This will create private pockets in one room where several family members can work quietly without disturbing each other, but close to research material. If your book collection is on the small side and you are looking to expand you can easily find books at second hand stores, backyard sales, thrift shops and so on for much better prices than buying new.

bookshelf Get a book shelf for proper storage of books

If it is a large collection a great idea is definitely to adopt the decimal Dewey system used in libraries. If there are children in the house it will teach them how to use a public library and it will keep things organized. You can create a catalogue electronically too using one of several softwares available. Arrange your fiction alphabetically.

Protecting your books

First of all let’s think about the hardbacks and paperbacks you have. If you have a collection of books, manuals, comics, documents that you want to look after because of monetary value or personal value you may want to think about creating a space that is temperature controlled. You need to prevent situations that can lead to mold, damp, or brittleness. Avoid having books sitting in direct sunlight as this can cause damage. Make sure the windows have coverings that are adequate. Dust regularly and consider having a humidifier in the room.

dreamy-reading-room Perfect reading room with seating by the window for day dreaming

For those that love to read there is nothing better than curling up with your favorite book in a quiet relaxing space. No interruptions, annoyances, electronics, or pets or kids. Just you, a comfy chair, a snack and drink and total escape. If that sounds like something you want for yourself at the end of a hard day start designing your own reading room right away!