This summer, after months of wrangling picture books from all over the house, I decided to create a home for all of our literary material: a reading nook! It seemed like a truly elegant solution, and I hoped my girls would love it as much as mom bloggers on Instagram said they would. I immediately cleared an out-of-the-way corner of their playroom, removing all toys and electronic distractions, and collected the coziest textiles I could find. I spent a lovely Saturday afternoon putting together the sweetest little reading spot on our entire block.
If you’re interested in corralling a monstrous library of your own, encouraging book-love in a reluctant reader, or starting off your nursery on the right foot, I highly recommend you give this project a try! Using fantastic children’s decor items and a beautiful literary vision, I made a library-like, inviting, and cozy kids reading nook that my girls have already fallen in love with.
My first priority when designing this reading space for my girls was to make our unassuming corner as soft, snug, and warm as humanly possible. I started by selecting a plush shag rug to spread over our carpet. This adds instant definition to the space and visually separates our reading nook from the larger playroom.
Next, I piled up two bean bag chairs and five kid-friendly throw pillows on the rug in a welcoming arrangement. Obviously, these items get shuffled around throughout the day, and I knew my girls would feel comfortable rearranging the space according to their fancy each day. We use pillows like these around the house for sitting and playing on the floor, so I knew they would catch on quickly.
I then installed five floating gutter-style shelves to display some of our favorite picture books. I also left a small basket of our most-loved board books on the floor, easily within reach for my youngest. I also repurposed a 3-ft. x 2-ft. cube shelving unit against the wall, to be used for more book and stuffed animal storage.
Finally, it was time for the finishing touches! I found a couple darling Sherpa blankets that feature whimsical animal designs and are just perfect for snuggling—those got draped on the floor next to the bean bag chairs. I set up a woodland-themed lamp on top of the bookshelf for some mood lighting. I tossed in a couple of my girls’ stuffed toys and considered myself done with the decor part of this project!
But what about the books??
Of course, you’ll want to move all your kids’ board books and picture books into this space—and if your family is anything like mine, you have a plethora of stories to choose from when you feel like reading together. Objectively, we don’t need any more books ... however, I simply could not create a brand new reading nook without also including some new reading material!
Your collection likely already has the basics—Are You My Mother?, Harold and the Purple Crayon, and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom have been read so much in our house that our copies are literally falling apart. Why not pique your child’s interest with some deeper dives into children’s lit? When I was looking for new stories to add to our collection, I sought out books that are just as enriching but not as well-known. If you’re looking for a good place to start, here are a few of my family’s uncommon must-have children’s books:
This gorgeously-illustrated board book takes your young one through a colorful fantasy world full of dragons and mermaids, all while riding aboard an iconic paper boat.
My absolute favorite Seuss book encourages young readers to persevere through the hard days. My girls also love listening to the song adaptation of this book from Seussical the Musical!
These incredible laser-cut fairy tales are colorful and absolutely engrossing. I purchased every single one Usborne offers, but Cinderella is our family favorite.
This poem encourages children to develop compassion for our planet and the creatures we live here with—all illustrated sensitively by Alexandra Ball. We have a print of her Picnic Under the Tree artwork hanging in the playroom nearby.
For even more fun, you can throw in a couple of activity or coloring books into the space as well—just make sure your little ones are able to correctly determine which books get colored on and which ones don’t!
Filled with a worthy collection of books and the coziest decor items on the market, our little reading nook was a weekend project success. The greatest moment of the entire process came hours after I’d shown the girls their new space. When it was time for bed, I found my younger daughter curled up in the corner with The Very Hungry Caterpillar, pretend-reading to her favorite lovie, Mr. Bear. She asked if we could read our bedtime story there, in the reading nook, and my heart felt big enough to burst.
Give this project a try this weekend, and feel free to follow my process to help you create the cozy reading space you’ve always wanted for your children. With engaging decor, a comfy setting, and a fantastic collection of imaginative fodder, your kids are bound to love their space as much as ours do! You might even find them sneaking off to read quietly to themselves one day—and if you’ve been looking to encourage more reading in your children’s lives, that’s the most rewarding moment of all.
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