Children’s books should be enjoyed in private. They should be read under the covers by torchlight after the grown-ups think you’ve gone to sleep; or hidden in treehouses with a supply of chocolate biscuits – anywhere where monsters, pirates and school chums can climb through the window.
Every child should have somewhere to fall into a book. A book nook, if you will. And it doesn’t take a lot of effort to create one.
As children’s book author and critic Imogen Russell Williams says: ‘The ideal kids’ reading nook requires three things: comfort, secrecy, and convenient storage for an array of books and snacks.
Reading space: A simple small chaise longue can create a comfortable spot for young ones to enjoy books
‘Enclosed, cosy and full of soft, warm light, the best reading dens provide the perfect launchpad for a child’s imagination.’
Here are some suggestions.
Swathed in cotton
You can go Princess And The Pea by curtaining off a little cranny with a swirling, regal canopy from The Handmade Scandi Company. These come in pink, white, lavender or ‘cloud’ and cost £56.
For added twinkle, string fairy lights around and switch off the main light. Hey presto: stars in a night sky.
Looking for a canopy in bolder colours? The Rainforest Reading Corner Canopy from TTS Group will brighten up the reading corner (£71.99).
Inhabit an alcove
Find an existing little cranny and put it to good use. Throw in a few cushions, put up some bookshelves and string a curtain across so the mini-reader can shut him or herself away.
The Kura bed curtain from Ikea comes with windows so your offspring can pop their head out from time to time (£25).
In their own world: Clambering into a tepee in the corner of the bedroom feels like an adventure in itself
Clambering into a tepee in the corner of the bedroom feels like an adventure in itself. And the little reader can fall asleep among the pages.
Argos sells a lovely bear-themed tepee made by Chad for £40. Or if you want to build a tepee together, just six bamboo poles and bedsheets held in place with clothes pegs will do the trick.
Natural light is great, especially for picture books. If you have a big window and can construct some seating around it, it makes a fab place to read of derring-do while staring out to imagine the action. If the window isn’t low down, a ladder up to the seat will add to the fun.
What goes inside
Make furniture comfy and a bit flexible. Your offspring may want to read sitting up or lying down, so some kind of small chaise longue should work well.
The Handmade Sofa Company’s child-size chaise range is from £425.
Or if you prefer something that looks like a miniature armchair and pouffe, John Lewis’s £72 Stardust bean bag chair and footstool will look stylish.
Add a desk, and encourage the child to respond to the book — writing their own sequel starring themselves. Ikea’s Micke costs £50.
To kit it all out in matching style, The Great Little Trading Company has a series of themed book storage boxes, display racks, rugs and bean bags.
Or, if space is limited, you can buy ready-made seat/storage combos, such as the Children’s Bookcase from Little Helper for £97.
Savings of the week! Throws
Snug: Oliver Bonas’s Ena Blue Hand Woven Throw is reduced from £45 to £27
You can call a throw a rug or a blanket — which takes its name from a weave first made by Thomas Blanket (Blanquette), a Flemish weaver who lived in Bristol in the 14th century.
But, whichever you choose, you are sure to be snug in bed, or on your sofa if you select one of the reduced price options in cosy fabrics.
The Cotswold Company has a moss grey, chunky-knit blanket reduced from £55 to £40.
Wayfair’s wide range includes the Christy Oslo throw in the same chunky grey knit, down from £80 to £66.99.
Made.com has a faux fur throw in a rich cinnamon shade down from £62 to £40. Oliver Bonas’s Ena Blue Hand Woven Throw is also reduced from £45 to £27, a cut of 40 per cent.
Faux fur is set to be hugely popular this winter. But if you don’t feel the cold, but want to add colour to a room, Habitat’s Paloma knitted cotton throw comes in cobalt blue and saffron yellow. Its price is £17.50, a saving of £20 (argos.co.uk).