Cozy Lighting for the Perfect Reading Nook

It’s the time of year where nature motivates you to stay inside and curl up with a good book or twenty until the ground stops being coated in ice. This is where a good reading nook comes in, a secluded space all your own that is comfy, filled with books on your to-read list, and well lit enough to see the words but not so bright that you get a fluorescent lighting headache. Here are some options for lights in all kinds of reading spaces, from secluded to open area to fit all kinds of readers.

A converted pantry or half-bath can become a hideaway in your home with some careful planning and recessed lighting. (By Susan Jay Design)

If you prefer a small space tucked away for reading, you’re going to want lighting that isn’t in the way or crowding the area. Recessed niche lights are unobtrusive, good for small spaces and low ceilings. If your reading nook is about the size of a pantry or has slanted ceilings that can’t hold protruding light sources, going into the surface of your nook is usually your best bet. Sometimes the best lighting is the kind that’s so out of your way it’s forgettable, at least until the sun sets and you’re suddenly in the dark and wonder who turned the lights off.

Wall sconces work both as a light source for reading and turning a shelf into an impromptu display cabinet. (By P. Shea Design)

Wall sconces are elegant and extend outward from your walls, but with flair. Once mounted, these lights won’t budge and become a reliable beam for some afternoon reading. These are very good if you put two opposite of your reading nook to cover both ends, with the middle being a dimmer zone if you don’t want to be too close to any one light. If you opt for dimmer bulbs, accompanying sconces with some natural light from a window is a good idea so that you don’t strain your eyes.

A small chandelier combined with a window will absolutely light up your reading area. (By 2 Design Group)

Chandeliers are truly elegant, and their many bulbs keep an area well-lit without the lighting being too intense in any one spot. It is functional day lighting with an aesthetic component, and if you hang it on a low enough ceiling, it can be easy to clean and change the bulbs out too, which tends to be the major drawback of chandeliers. You can also combine this one well with natural lighting, as a lot of chandeliers are designed to reflect any sunlight they receive into dazzling patterns against your walls or floor.

Adding a swing-arm to your lighting source suddenly adds a lot of options to how you want to curl up in a reading nook. (By Priester’s Custom Contracting, LLC)

Say you need more room for your light to move than most wall-mounted lights can provide. Swing-arm lighting is adjustable, so if you get cramped while reading you can switch positions without losing your light source. They come in multiple sizes, so with some measuring tape you can find what length of the arm you need for your light to reach all the important spaces in your reading nook. Depending on the brand, the actual lamp head can also swivel to an extent for perfect angling once you’re cozied up in a spot.

Standing lights allow for a more open reading area if you feel cramped by the other nook options. (By Alia Bengana architecte)

Standing lamps are great if you have an outlet next to your reading nook. You can just plug in a nice, tall lamp and get all the benefits of an overhead light or sconce with extra maneuverability of a desk lamp and a swing-arm. That said, it’s easy to not have enough outlet space to plug one or two lamps in for ideal lighting on top of all the other electronics in the room. For best results, I’d recommend combining two of your lighting options so that every angle of your space is properly lit and comfortable for several chapters in a row.