How can you create a cozy reading area under the stairs?

In any home, making the most of available space is a design necessity. One often overlooked area is the space under the stairs, a hidden gem that offers untold potential for creating a unique, cozy corner. A perfect idea to utilize this space is by designing a reading nook. Not only does it provide a functional utility, it also adds a unique aesthetic charm to your living space. But how can you transform the underutilized space under your stairs into an inviting reading area? Here’s how…

Finding space and Designing your layout

Before you start, it’s important to evaluate the space you have under your stairs. Is it wide enough to accommodate a cozy chair or a small bench? Can you fit in a bookshelf or two? The answers to these questions will determine the design and layout of your reading nook.

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Begin with a vision. Imagine how you want your reading nook to look. Do you prefer a minimalistic design or a more elaborate setup complete with a reading lamp, shelves full of books, and perhaps a tiny table for your coffee mug?

Once you have a clear idea of your design, you can continue to the next step: measuring your available space. Knowing the exact dimensions will help you choose the furniture and decor that fit perfectly. Remember, the goal is to create a cozy nook, not a cramped one.

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Storage and Shelving Ideas

When creating a reading nook under the stairs, storage is an important consideration. You need a place to store your favorite books. Built-in shelves are an excellent solution. They make good use of the wall space, creating room for your books without making the area feel cluttered.

You could opt for open shelves, which not only store your books but also function as decor. Alternatively, you could choose closed cabinets if you prefer a cleaner, uncluttered look.

Another innovative storage idea is to have a bench with a hinged seat that opens to reveal storage space. This could be your secret book stash or a place to store reading accessories like bookmarks, glasses, or even a snugly blanket for those colder days.

In designing your shelves and storage, make sure to keep them within easy reach. After all, a critical part of the reading nook’s charm is the ability to grab a book and settle down without having to move far.

Lighting and Wall Decor

No reading area is complete without good lighting. When it comes to choosing lighting for your nook under the stairs, consider a mix of natural and artificial lighting. If your stairs are near a window, try to design your reading nook to take advantage of the natural light coming in. For the evenings, add a warm, cozy lamp that gives off enough light to read by without being too harsh.

Wall decor is another significant element in your reading nook. Since it’s in a small space, you need to be mindful of the decor you choose. Too much decor could make the area feel cluttered. Choose pieces that are meaningful to you and that inspire a sense of calm and tranquility. Literary art prints, a small clock, or simple planters are great options.

Choosing the Right Furniture

Choosing the right furniture is essential in creating a comfortable reading nook. Look for a cozy chair or a bench that fits well in the space. Consider adding a small side table for placing a cup of tea or coffee. Keep the size of your furniture proportional to the space. Oversized furniture can make your reading nook feel cramped and uncomfortable.

When selecting your chair, comfort should be your top priority. After all, you’ll be spending hours immersed in the world of your books, and you don’t want to be distracted by an uncomfortable sitting spot. Choose a chair with good back support and a comfortable cushion. If the space allows, you might even want to consider a chaise lounge or a small sofa.

Adding the Final Touches

Once you’ve chosen your furniture, shelves, and lighting, it’s time to add those final touches that will make your reading nook uniquely yours. This could be a plush rug, a couple of cozy pillows, a throw blanket, or a small side table for your coffee mug.

Another element to consider is color. Depending on your personal preference, you could go for a monochromatic color scheme or add pops of color to make the area stand out. A well-chosen color palette can make your reading nook even more inviting.

Remember, while the above suggestions will help you create your dream reading nook, the most important thing is to make it a space where you feel comfortable and relaxed, a place that invites you to escape into the pages of a good book.

Utilizing Natural Light and Selecting Throw Pillows

A well-lit reading spot is critical to avoid straining your eyes. If your under-stair area is near a window, make sure to utilize this natural light. Position your chair or bench in a way that the light falls over your shoulder onto your book. In addition to natural light, install a reading lamp with a warm glow. This ensures that you can continue reading well into the evening without any discomfort.

The choice of throw pillows can significantly enhance the comfort and aesthetics of your reading corner. Look for pillows that match the color scheme of your nook. They should be soft and comfortable, allowing you to snuggle in and lose yourself in the world of literature. If you have chosen a bench instead of a chair, pillows can provide additional back support, making your reading experience more enjoyable.

For a customized touch, consider choosing throw pillows with literary quotes or images of your favorite authors. They can act as conversation starters when you have guests over. Moreover, they reflect your love for books and reading, making the space truly personal.

Creating a Cozy Powder Room-Style Reading Nook

If you’re willing to take a unique approach, why not design the reading nook like a powder room? Transform the space under the stairs into a cozy, intimate area that’s not just for reading but also for relaxation and reflection.

Start by applying a warm and inviting color on the walls to create a cozy ambiance. Add a plush chair or a window seat if there’s a window nearby. The seat should be comfortable enough for you to spend long hours reading your favorite books. You can enhance its comfort by adding a couple of plush throw pillows.

Next, add built-in bookshelves to store and display your book collection. A small, well-placed side table can hold your coffee mug and reading glasses.

Adding a powder room-style mirror can create a sense of space making the area appear larger and brighter. Accentuate the area with a stylish rug that complements the overall decor. A floor-to-ceiling curtain can add a sense of privacy and coziness to the space.

A cozy reading nook under the stairs is not just a space to read. It’s a place where you can unwind, away from the hustle and bustle of your living room. And, with a powder room-style design, it can be your secret hideaway, a place where you can retreat for some quiet time.


It’s incredible how the often neglected space under the stairs can be transformed into a cozy reading nook. Whether you prefer a minimalistic design or a powder room-inspired look, your reading corner under the stairs can be a place of solace and comfort.

Remember, the goal is to create a space that reflects your personality and reading habits. So, don’t shy away from experimenting with different layouts, furniture, lighting, and decor items. Whether it’s a side table to hold your coffee mug, built bookshelves for your favorite novels, or throw pillows for added comfort, every element should contribute to making your reading nook a space you love.

So, pull out your measuring tape, visualize your dream reading corner, and start creating. The under stair space is waiting to be transformed into your personal reading haven!