If you like to read as much as I do, then you deserve a dream reading nook. Nooks are not just for children; treat yourself to a sanctuary where you can explore your life’s big visions, transport yourself to another world between the pages, and savor a sacred space where you can nourish yourself.
Everyone’s dream reading nook might look different, but here are 10 ideas to get you started on what yours might be.
1. Find someplace quiet
In the book Eastern Mind, Western Body, the author makes a suggestion that perhaps one of the greatest threats to our health in today’s society is noise. I agree. If you can find a place for your nook that is free from unnecessary noise (I’m looking at you, TV), you’ll find spending time there such a great relief.
2. Get something comfy to sit on
It seems like stating the obvious, but it’s important to think about a setup where it’s comfortable for reading. I don’t know about you, but getting comfortable while holding up a book and juggling a mug of tea, etc. is not that easy. I like to have a futon or mattress with a reading wedge pillow for maximum comfort.
3. Relax with your favorite blanket
Research shows that blankets can reduce anxiety as well mitigate other mental health disorders. Even dentists and physicians are now using heavy blankets to help calm and relax patients during visits. So make sure you have a favorite blanket in your nook for reading calm.
4. Add a touch of visual inspiration
I like to have some visual motivation/inspiration in my nook, just to remind me that this is a positive space and negative thoughts and worries can walk themselves right out that door. Two artists that I really like are Jessica Swift and Jen Lashua. Find a print and a message that you like, and hang it with hope.
5. Choose some reading tea
We’re getting there! Now, time for a spot of tea – the perfect drink for a reading nook. I actually made a tea for reading, called Reading Nook (a balance of a vanilla black tea with calming rose, lavender, and chamomile). Herbal teas are also nice for reading time. I suggest making a medium-sized pot with a tealight candle warmer, which adds ambience and keeps the tea piping hot.
6. Keep a journal or “Wisdom Book”
I keep a journal that I call a “Wisdom Book, ” which contains quotes and lessons I’ve learned from the books I’ve read. I find it helps integrate the lessons learned from the books (and at times, serves as a to-do list for creative ideas and reminders that come to me during the relaxed state while reading). Any size and color journal can work for this, just find one and dedicate it to your reading nook.
7. Select a “mood” book or two (instant inspiration)
Every reading nook requires books – of course! Get it started off on the right foot with a mood book; that is a book that you can open up any time and get instant inspiration. This is great if you just want to go relax in your nook for a few minutes, or having a rough day and need something to calm you down before you get into reading mode. Two that I suggest for this is Oprah’s What I Know for Sure and Eleanor Roosevelt’s You Learn By Living.
8. Make sure you have proper lighting
My mom always said that not having good light while reading was terrible for your vision. Turns out that the research is inconclusive, but I think good lighting is a must anyhow.
9. Add a touch of Mother Nature
Reading nooks are wonderful with touches of Mother Nature to set the vibe. A green plant is, of course, wonderful but there are other options. I like dried flowers, succulents, or even a nice quartz crystal or some tumbled stones can really make things feel comforting.
10. Give it time
Last but not least, now that you’ve spent so much intentional effort improving your dream reading nook, give it the time that it deserves. We make time for the things that are important to us, so whether it’s just 15 minutes before bed, or a Sunday afternoon ritual, make friends with your reading nook. It wants to support you!
Photo by Eugene Kim, Creative Commons license via Flickr. Post by Andy Hayes. Based in Portland, Oregon, Andy is the founder and creator of Plum Deluxe, the website and tea company that helps you create moments that matter.
Editor’s note: one of our Poetry Baristas, Sandra Heska King, wrote a poem about tea and reading nooks after enjoying a gift of Plum Deluxe tea as a part of our current Joy of Poetry Workshop. We’re sharing it here as added inspiration for your own nook, with Sandra’s permission.
right after I brew a cup of tea.
— Sandra Heska King
Megan Willome’s The Joy of Poetry—part memoir, part poetry reflections, part anthology—takes readers on a journey to discovering poetry’s purpose, which is, delightfully, nothing. “Why poetry?” Willome asks. “You might as well ask, why chocolate?” Poetry reflects nothing more and nothing less than the pure joy of living, loving, and being, in all of its confusion and wonder. Willome’s book will gently guide you to read, write, and be a little more human through language’s mystery and joy.
—Tania Runyan, author of How to Read a Poem: Based on the Billy Collins Poem “Introduction to Poetry”