If you have an extra room in your house and love to read, you might want to turn back time and create a reading room. They were very popular for many centuries, often called by different names such as parlors and studies, though a quick online search of Victorian reading rooms will give you the right idea.
Today, many people might think of a home office as their reading room, but for the right vibe, we want something much cozier than that! Your reading room should be a place for peak relaxation while showcasing your favorite paperbacks or hardbound novels on shelves that reflect your inner calm.
That’s what we’re here to discuss: the perfect furniture for your reading room. Keep in mind, what’s ideal for my reading room might not be anything like yours visually, but the functionality remains the same. Let’s break it down!
Every reading room needs proper shelving, but don’t hold back on choosing the set of shelves that speak to you the most. You’ll build the rest of the room around the shelving style, so choose wisely. Personally, I’m quite fond of quirky bookshelves, like the kind reminiscent of a tree with branches, but basic bookshelves are acceptable. There’s only one hard rule when choosing shelves: you need to consider how many books you’ll be placing before purchasing. Having too much shelf space is fine, as you can fill it with baubles and trinkets you’ve collected over the years or leave portions bare for a minimalist look. Not enough shelving is the big issue, as you’ll end up with stacks of books and a disorganized reading room. Chaos can be wonderful, but stacks of books need a home.
While most people would expect the term “chair” to be next on the list, not everyone finds chairs relaxing. In fact, many people prefer papasans. Some folks prefer bean bags or a lovely feather-down chaise lounge. Even a hammock or classic wicker furniture can make an appropriate seating space if that’s your preference. This room is all about you and your love of literature, so don’t let expectations and society dictate what goes inside. Not every reading room needs an antique wingback. Just make sure to match the vibe to the shelves, so the room doesn’t feel disjointed. You may also want to acquire more than one sitting space, as bibliophiles tend to have a few introverted friends to read beside quietly.
For a well-kitted reading room, you want at least two tables: one small one next to your seating for a lamp, your water, a drink, or some snacks, and a larger table that can hold a centerpiece that sets the vibe of the room. If you’re going for a modern feel, a single asymmetrical sculpture can select the right tone. If you’re looking for something more traditional, a lovely set of candlesticks with tapered candles is an excellent choice, as is a desktop globe or a fresh bowl of organic fruit. This table isn’t just for decoration, however. Sometimes a rather large and beautiful book will strike your fancy, and this is the perfect surface to lovingly crack it open and turn the pages. Again, keep the theme you started with the bookshelves. If they’re deep and traditional mahogany, a low profile matching table will look gorgeous.
I’m all about subtle lighting in a quiet room, but not at the cost of eye strain and headaches. You want the perfect light that isn’t too harsh or too dim. The lamp on your side table is crucial, but you want one more lamp elsewhere in the room and soft white overhead light for when the room needs organizing and cleaning. Feel free to add fairy lights, Moroccan light fixtures, or even one of those neat LED corner lamps that fade through the color spectrum.
The last thing your reading room will need is a rug or some type of floor covering. Rugs and carpets muffle noise and tend to make a room feel cohesive and finished. Floor cloths come in a wide variety of materials, graphics, and colors, and selecting a non-skid backing is a good idea as well. Which type you choose is entirely up to you, but keep your theme and color scheme in mind.
Now, all that’s left to add are your books! Happy reading!