Page-turning interior design tips ~ Create the perfect reading room

Knocking down walls to create open plan living has been a big interiors trend for some time now and while still popular, many are reinventing the wheel when it comes to interiors to create snug and quiet spaces they can retreat to. Open plan has many merits, but secluded spaces aren’t one of them.

The reading room is now firmly back in favour as a place in the home strictly reserved for a bit of privacy and relaxation. Come on, who doesn’t enjoy some peace and quiet with the latest must-reads? A reading room is the perfect antithesis for our always-on culture and our open plan homes.


Even a hallway, landing or mezzanine, if large enough, can incorporate a comfy chair and some book shelves to create a reading zone. Obviously, this won’t work in a busy main thoroughfare, but a quiet landing with a view of the garden could make a peaceful spot for a read.

So, do you want to know what it is that makes a perfect reading room? Read on. In this article I’ll be exploring page-turning design tips for the dream reading room.

Play clever with interior design trends


Hot interior design trends can certainly lift a home and turn it into a modern oasis, but as time goes by, trends inevitably change. Creating a reading room that is sumptuously retro and filled with large floral prints will certainly get nods of approval right now, but fast-forward to 2020 and you could regret your kitschy interior strategy.

Susie Pfeiffer, Founder and Director of Pfeiffer Design, says that getting interior design right is all about personal requirements (not trends). The key is to create beautiful spaces that are genuinely life enhancing.

With regard to design trends she says,

 “It’s advisable to take all published trend lists with a pinch of salt, incorporating only those that really excite you. By keeping the more permanent aspects of your project timeless and classic, incorporating selected trends in small, manageable ways, you’ll end up with a final design that not only stands the test of time, but always feels fresh and on-trend as well.”

The key is to incorporate trends in small inexpensive ways. Paint colour, cushions and lighting can be changed relatively easily, so if you must bring interior trends into your reading room design, keep new trend hits to the things that are fairly easy to change.

Get seating spot on


If you dream of spending hours of quiet time in your reading room, especially if you are about to tackle Tolstoy’s War and Peace, then you will definitely need a comfortable seat. I rather like Sarah Ullery’s observation in her article for Book Riot (link above) that a reading room should have a chair that is “so big you look like you’re sitting in a giant’s chair. A chair that’s so cushioned you feel like you’re getting a hug.”

The chair (or sofa) you choose for your reading room is an essential ingredient. Comfort factor should not be overlooked. This is absolutely key, and as Sarah quite rightly points out, is essential for taking long leisurely naps between chapters.

Get lighting right


The great joy of reading is that it happens at all times of day and night, from lazy Sunday afternoon fictional indulgencies to late night serious study and sleep-inducing reads through bouts of insomnia. Whenever you feel the need to escape the digital trappings of modern life, your reading room is the perfect place to retreat to.

You will need to plan for adequate lighting for both daytime and evening reading. And remember, on bright sunny days you may wish to draw the curtains while you indulge yourself in the next chapter of one of the best thrillers of all time!


Lighting plays a huge role in creating ambience. In a reading room, poor lighting will not only spoil the visual appeal of your escapist den, it will play havoc with your eyes if you don’t get it right.

Natural light is obviously preferable when reading, but bright sunlight streaming through your reading room window could have you squinting more than you would like, and that really isn’t good for the health of your eyes.


Consider curtains or blinds that will block out harsh sunlight. As well as appropriate ceiling lighting, consider a floor lamp and a reading lamp for more focused lighting. And of course, don’t forget to take breaks to rest your eyes. Marathon reading sessions aren’t a good idea. Besides, you have such a comfy chair, you’ll be able to take a nap!

guest-authorAuthor: Annie Button, a regular Fine Home Lamps contributor

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