A study shows that reading can lead to a longer life. With that in mind, it’s time to create the perfect space for elongating your life — your very own reading nook! Take a look at these tips on how to create a cozy reading nook at your home.

What is a reading nook?

A reading nook is any space you designate for reading. The essentials are as follows: comfortable seating, a space to store your favorite books or just the one you are currently reading, table space for a cup of tea or a glass of wine, quality lighting to protect your eyes, and personal touches that reflect your style and make you love the space and want to spend time in it. Read on for how to create the perfect reading nook in your home—one that has everyone in the house clamoring for “just one more chapter!”

Why should we read?

Do you love curling up with a worn copy of Pride and Prejudice? Or do you prefer hiding out with a Stieg Larsson thriller? Even if you’re not a big reader, you should think about becoming one. A new study in Social Science & Medicine has tied reading to achieving a longer life.

The study followed almost 4,000 people over 12 years. It found that book readers live an average of almost two years longer than those who did not read at all. The survival advantage remained even with factoring in wealth, education, and cognitive ability—all of which can impact projected lifespan. So now that you have plenty of reasons to read, where should you do it?

How to Create a Reading Nook

To get started, find a place away from any distractions such as a television. This may be a corner of your bedroom, a sunny spot in an oversized walk-in closet, or a bay window that could benefit from a few cushions and a blanket.

You’ll also want to avoid the biggest distraction — clutter. If your space is cluttered, it’ll be challenging to focus on reading and truly enjoy your book because you’ll be adding things to a growing to-do list. Read our advice on how to declutter your space to make it ready for a makeover into a cozy reading nook!

In addition to creating a clutter-free space, make sure it’s clean. You want to be in a spot that smells good and where you feel free to linger and lounge while enjoying a good book. Think about adding items that won’t contribute to clutter, but will help foster a sense of calm. Think treasured vacation moments or plants. There are a wide array of plants that can help purify your indoor air–a great reason to them bring in–but did you know that some plants can even help with anxiety? Incorporate lavender or roses into your space to provide a pop of color and to soothe your nerves.

Encourage Kids to Create a Space for Reading, Too

Just like exercising and making healthy food choices, reading is a good habit to instil in your children. Whether you’re reading to your kids or they’re old enough to read on their own, encourage a love of books by creating a special space to help their imagination run wild.

Does your child like to read about space exploration? Section off a small corner of his or her bedroom and hang white lights in a cluster to remind them of the night sky. Does your child get a kick out of spooky stories? Build a book nook (though “fort” may be more applicable) out of old sheets and chairs and let them read with a flashlight.

Don’t worry that reading in the dark will “ruin their eyes.” According to the New York Times, while reading in the dark may give you a headache, there’s not a lot of evidence it will cause lasting damage. So if that adds an extra fun element for your kids, you can probably let it slide. The same goes for sneaking in a few extra pages under the covers at bedtime!

 How to Create a cozy Reading Nook at home
Creating a Cozy Reading Nook at home will inspire children to read more

Get Some Fresh Air

And yes, this article is about setting up a reading nook in your home, but adjacent counts, too, right? If you have a patio, deck, garden, or even a favorite tree in your yard that provides the perfect amount of shade in the summer, it might make the perfect space for your reading nook.

Being outdoors can help increase your ability to concentrate, making it easier to tackle some of those tougher reads. Plus, just 10-15 minutes spent outside can give you a super dose of Vitamin D, necessary for bone and cell growth, helpful in reducing inflammation, and vital to enhancing your neuromuscular and immune function—just another way that reading can improve health!

Danielle Hegedus is an Atlanta based writer. She regularly contributes to Modernize, as well as to a variety of lifestyle and home design websites. Danielle recently finished her first cookbook, in collaboration with Chef Kamal Grant for Atlanta’s beloved Sublime Doughnuts.