By Jo McCarthy - Interiors Editor

“So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
Then fill the shelves with lots of books.”

Roald Dahl, Charlie & The Chocolate Factory

As I hope you can tell, we adore books. We support the wonderful libraries in London, we promote World Book Day and we have some great suggestions for encouraging your child to develop a love of reading.

Here we have some practical, creative ideas for upgrading your reading nooks at home  - you don't need a lot of space or a big budget, and these chilly months are the perfect time to snuggle up together as a family. 


Mother of three Huma lives in North London with her beautiful book-loving family - the most special part of her day inspired the name behind her enchanting online store  our story time. "Books are a huge part of our family life. As well as creating Our Story Time, I published a book of award-winning short stories two years ago, called In Spite of Oceans; I constantly read to my children even as babies and I'm delighted that they too have also fallen in love with reading." 

Squeezing in space for books can be a challenge. Huma explains: "Much as I would love to have a dedicated room stacked high full of books, we just don't have the space! I like our home to be tidy and uncluttered, and in  a relatively small space this means we constantly edit our belongings.  We have more children's books than grown up books! And there are children's books everywhere.

In our open plan living space, we have a little nook filled with picture ledges where we keep all the hardback books. I love children's picture books and the illustrations are like artwork so it's a pleasure to have them on display as well as making it easy for the boys to choose what they want. I keep their bedroom a relatively calm space, and that's where all their paperbacks are kept.

And in the baby's room, we have baskets of the younger, baby books which have been loved and shared by his older brothers." 


  • Hang this lovely Alphabet Banner in the reading corner for a Scandi touch. £10 from our story time.

  • Huma's home isn't childproof, it's child friendly: decorate with fun artworks like this Apple Papple print from Little Baby Company, £27.95.

  • String shelving can make a small room look airy and allow a display of books to really shine. John Lewis has some nice options, and this DIY is a great budget option (you'll need to translate from Swedish!).

  • Mixing adult and children's books together in the home will encourage reading: grabbing a book to read won't be a chore if children see the adults around them doing it too!

  • Huma used baskets to store books. Maybe each child could have their own (and even be encouraged to pack their own books away at the end of the day? Dreams can come true!)


Story time should be relaxing and calming for everyone. Scandi designs, soft colours and an uncluttered space will help the children to unwind. 

Choose fun cushions that will make the kids want to snuggle up with you! They can be changed easily as the children get bigger and allow them to stretch out instead of being stuck at a table. 


  • These woodland animals will encourage storytelling. Sold as a set of 3 for £74.50 from typpl.

  • Beanbags and floor cushions are a great, cheap option for a reading nook. These from Made.com for £59 are a durable option.

  • For extra cosiness, grab a sheepskin rug from Made.com, £59.



It might feel impossible to sneak a reading nook into a small family home, but using wall stickers can designate a space in the main family areas. Keep the shelving low and don't over clutter the space. Maybe a one-book-in-one-out policy will help! 


  • Wall stickers are a low-commitment option and the kids can help you decorate their space. These polka dots are from Mirror In from £9.95. Perfect for renters too!

  • Storage baskets are a practical solution to overflowing books. I love these black and white alphabet bags from Alice AccessoriesX

  • The LEGO storage boxes are really fun. Find them on Amazon priced at around £22.99.

  • If you are really tight on space, one of these shopping baskets from Blue Ticking is a good solution. The reading nook can move around your home!


This Queen's Park home was featured in Apartment Therapy; artwork, toys and books are stashed away neatly on an IKEA EXPEDIT (now the KALLAX) and the reading nook is created by a fantastic teepee. 


  • A little music can add to the fun of reading time! The mini guitar from John Lewis, £15, is very similar to this one.

  • Make reading a proper chill-out time in a fun teepee. You could make your own - there is an easy DIY on Chalk Kids you could try. Have a look at Etsy as well; I love this one from Bangarang Baby for £39.90.

Have you created a reading nook in your home? What are your tips for making good use of your space? We'd love to hear from you in the comments!