Foster a love of reading in your child and they’ll be reaping the rewards for the rest of their life. Although a born bookworm won’t need much encouragement to bury their head in a book, others might need to be enticed. A cozy, comfortable reading space can do just that, providing the perfect spot for kids to get swept away in the world of books. If you need some inspiration, here’s our guide to creating the ideal reading space.
Match the Reading Space to the Child
No two kids are the same, and what each one wants from their reading space will be unique to them. As My Little Book Case advises, take time to watch your child when they’re reading. Do they prefer to cuddle up or stretch out? Do they like to retreat to a quiet corner or stay close by? Soon enough, you should start noticing a pattern. Once you know what kind of reading environment they prefer, you can start customizing the space to suit them perfectly.
Don’t Spare on the Decorations
You want the reading space to invite your child in, so don’t forget to add some little cute decor. A few posters or art pieces, framed book illustrations, book-inspired prints, some inspirational quotes or lines from their favorite book, plenty of bright colors… ultimately, how you decorate is up to you, but be sure to keep it as appealing and welcoming as you can.
Add Plenty of Shelving
Whichever way you decorate the reading space, make sure there’s plenty of room for books. Try to match the shelving units to the space, and don’t forget that books can look beautiful: a few front-facing shelves across an empty wall makes both a great storage solution and an attractive way of turning your child’s favorite books into a display.
Involve Your Kids
Creating a reading space comes with a risk – your kid might not use it. Decorate it as cutely and as comfortably as you like, but kids (being the contrary little creatures they are) are just as likely to find their own spot as use the one you’ve created especially for them. One of the easiest ways to avoid the problem is to get your kids involved in the project. Brainstorm some ideas about the where’s, what’s, and why’s of the reading space with them, before getting them involved in creating the finished article. If they feel some kind of ownership over the space, they’re far more likely to use it.
Make it Personal
If you can make the reading space personal to your child, the chances of them loving it are almost guaranteed. Add plenty of their favorite teddies (young kids will have fun reading aloud to a willing audience) and other personal treasures. You could even do as Childhood 101 suggests by creating some bunting inspired by the pages of their favorite book.
Keep Things Bright
Make sure the reading space is well served by plenty of light sources. It doesn’t necessarily need to be flooded with natural light (some kids actually prefer their reading corners to be in dark little crannies) but make sure there’s at least a table or floor lamp they can use for when they’re reading long into the wee hours.
Consider the Position
Deciding on the best position for a reading corner isn’t just a matter of considering the available space. Every child is unique, with some preferring to keep close to the heart of the action, and others preferring to retreat well away from any distractions. If yours like to keep close by, cornering off a little area of the living room might be the best. If they prefer things to be a little quieter, look for somewhere that offers just the right amount of seclusion and privacy.
Make it Comfortable
The number one priority for creating a reading space is to make it comfortable. If it’s not the kind of place a kid feels they can stretch out and relax in, they’ll vote with their feet and find somewhere else to do their reading. Key to success is creating as many comfortable seating spots as possible: consider a soft mat or interlinking foam flooring they can flop down on, a cushy bean bag or floor cushion they can hunker down in, or even, if space allows, a small sofa. Add a few throws and cushions for them to snuggle up with , and voila – a comfortable little nook they’ll struggle to resist.
Keep it Warm
If you set up a reading corner in a cold, draughty area of the house, don’t be surprised if it never gets used. Although kids react to stuffy, too-hot environments in much the same way we do, the reading space should still be in a warm enough spot to stop them from getting the chills.
As you’re figuring out the perfect spot to create your reading space, be creative in how you look at the available space. Not everything will scream “ideal reading space” at first sight, but a little creativity and clever design could be all that’s needed to transform it into just that. As The Spruce notes, a storage/attic space can be transformed with a lick of paint and some reorganizing; a built-in area in a hallway is a great way of utilizing unused space; a nook under a staircase can be easily converted into a cozy hideaway, and a cornered off alcove dressed with some drawback curtains and shelving makes the perfect little retreat.
Make Enough Room for Two
Depending on the age of your child, there’s probably going to be times when you or a grandparent joins them in the reading corner for a story or two. Make sure the space you chose is large enough to accommodate a few adult-sized additions, and that there are enough suitable seating options to ensure grandma doesn’t have to sit on the floor.