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Home - Posted September 22, 2017 8:50 a.m.
Photos by Shannon Richardson

Nooks for Books

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Most book-loving adults have a favorite place to curl up with a good book. It might be a cozy corner in a home office, or a special chair in the living room. It might be beneath a special blanket in bed. (And, let’s be honest, it might also be a beach. Any beach. Anywhere.)

But regardless of the location or the age of the reader, there’s something about getting comfortable before diving into the magic of a book. Kids may even be more susceptible to this impulse. Plus, they love fun spaces. More than anything else, creating an inviting place that’s dedicated to reading creates an important incentive. When technology tries to pull a child away from the written word, having a special, appealing, place to read can be a huge encouragement.

Here’s a step-by-step look at how to create a relaxing, kid-friendly reading nook.

1. First and foremost, source two of the most important things. These are a comfy chair and a lamp that provides good reading light. Here, I selected a lovely vintage armchair and quirky vintage lamp.

Remember, antiques aren’t just for adults. I’m absolutely crazy about the original upholstery on the chair shown here. What little girl doesn’t love something soft and pink? The lamp is also a fun choice. The lower portion serves as a nightlight, while the upper section provides the perfect amount of reading light.

2. What good is a reading nook if it doesn’t have space to hold books? Your next step is to select shelving that will hold your child’s favorite reads. If you don’t have a built-in, then you’ll need to purchase a bookcase. There are two important considerations as you begin your search. First, make sure the bookcase is small enough that your child can access the books without having to climb on anything. Whether it’s anchored to the wall or not, book shelves are made for storage, not for climbing. My suggestion is to look for a case that is longer than it is high.

Second, think about the number of books you have already – or the number of books you’re willing to purchase – because you’re going to have to fill those shelves. The bigger the case, the more books and accessories you’ll need.

3. This is the fun part. Fill the space! While we’re used to seeing books displayed vertically at the library or bookstore, don’t hesitate to stack books both directions. Interior designers do this often because, well, it looks nice. Stacking books vertically and horizontally creates a sense of movement on the shelves, making them more inviting. I suggest placing your child’s favorite reads vertically for easy access, then use the horizontal ones to showcase tiny trinkets and accessories.

As for those small accessories, you’ll definitely want to add in a few to fill up any blank spaces. Be creative! This is a great opportunity to showcase your child’s artwork, special toys, family heirlooms, or collectibles. I’ve selected unique ceramics – the white horse and squirrel glow at night – along with instruments and a vintage globe to add structural contrast.

4. Finally, nothing suggests relaxation like a place to prop up your feet. A matching ottoman works great, but adding a textured pouf will work just as well. You might also add a few additional items like a cherished throw or a playful pillow. Don’t forget a beloved stuffed animal, because every little reader loves having a reading buddy.

No one can force a child to read, of course. But an important element of raising young readers is making the act of reading itself seem fun. Nothing is more fun for a kid than a hidden little place of their own – especially a place where they can get away from the world and escape to Narnia or Hogwarts or wherever their imagination takes them.

Instilling a Love for Reading

It’s a question on the lips of every parent: How can I make sure my child loves to read? Introducing a child to the world of books and reading can be a gift that lasts a lifetime. We asked Casey Shufelt, the Children’s Department lead at Amarillo’s Barnes & Noble location, for her ideas about creating in children a passion for books.

• Read aloud to your child every night, especially while they are learning to read on their own. With simple picture books, encourage them to try to follow along.
• Once they learn to read, have them read aloud to you. Make sure these books are at or below their reading level, Shufelt says, so a child doesn’t become frustrated.
• As they begin to cultivate their personal interests, buy books on those subjects and themes. (For younger children, Shufelt suggests not worrying about culturally relevant books. Children don’t relate well to these early on.)
• Choose books that will encourage imagination. “Animals are very relatable to most children,” says Shufelt. “Fantasy- or magic-themed books are always great, too.”
• Finally, be a good role model. Kids are always watching Mom and Dad, and will be much more interested in books when they see their parents modeling a love for the written word.

Shop the look:

Kanmar Living $71.50, The Nat Antiques on Route 66

Primitives by Kathy pillow $29, Two Loons Warehouse

Vintage lamp with nightlight base $85, The Nat Antiques on Route 66

Little Unicorn muslin quilt $50, Peppered Prickly Pear

Jelly Cat stuffed animal $23; matching “Puppy Makes Mischief” book $13, Et Cetera

Babylit Little Master Homer “The Odyssey” $10, Et Cetera

“Dear Hank Williams” $7.99, Barnes & Noble

“The Armadillo from Amarillo” $7.99, Barnes & Noble

by Kasey Tam

Kasey owns and operates The Nat Antiques on Route 66. She graduated from the Art Institute of Dallas in 2008. Kasey combines her retail experience with her passion for interior design for her residential and commercial clients.
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