Reading Nooks – Making the most of a small space


By Christine Brun

Reading in a cozy chair is still desirable for a lot of people. Though you may be sitting with your Kindle instead of a bound text, the expression “curled up with a book” sounds so much more appealing than proclaiming that you are getting comfortable with your iPad. Right?

Let’s create areas in your home that are conducive to reading. I’m one of those people who must have total quiet in order to read and write. I read much better when I’m on holiday than when I’m involved with my normal routine. It has to do with clearing my mind and feeling relaxed. My husband reads best when on vacation, as well, and he spent one entire cruise in the lounge engrossed in his book.

Therefore, it seems appropriate to evaluate what the members of your household need to encourage reading or even working at home. In this sound bite-oriented culture, where flashes on our smartphones pass as communication, I feel passionately that reading substantive news is vital to an educated society. Where we get our information — from reliable sources rather than those evoking creative license — is nearly as important as the facts themselves. Plus, the classics of literature and poetry still have value and importance. You must read in order to learn about culture, history and current events. Well-known authors often say that if you wish to write, you must first read. A lot!

Your home may have nothing more than a stair landing, or maybe a screened-in front porch to capture as a mini library setting. That will work just fine. Go out and find the most comfortable chair that will fit the space. Don’t be afraid of seeking out a gently used lounge chair. The movement of a rocker or a glider can be relaxing and help dispel energy in the same way that rocking calms an infant. Next, provide a good reading lamp; one that is adjustable is best because each body type will require the light to fall in a different location. Generally, overhead lighting is not an effective task light.

Include a tiny table to hold a glass of wine or a cup of tea. Being comfortable requires that there is a place for everything; remember a spot to rest your eyeglasses or a box of tissues. If your chair is not a recliner or rocker, you might wish to consider an ottoman. A leather-covered ottoman can serve as both footrest and side table. The use of a laptop, e-reader or tablet means that a convenient electrical outlet is necessary. Remember the power of a power strip.

An extra-wide upstairs hallway can be your mini library. Sometimes there is room in an attic and the addition of a stairway makes it accessible. My home office used to be reached by a pull-down ladder, which was replaced with a proper staircase. Now I have a large room with venting dormer windows. It was worth reconfiguring the rooms below to hold the stairway. A walk-in closet in a guest bedroom could also be transformed into a nook. Sometimes older homes have a butler’s pantry that might continue to offer cabinet storage while also serving as a quiet reading place.

Christine Brun’s weekly column, “Small Spaces,” can be found at