An underused corner landing off a stairway becomes a cozy and functional reading room with the addition of comfy furnishings, smart storage and creative accents.



After a recent move, these homeowners were excited to take on the task of designing new rooms—with one exception: an open, narrow landing off the stairway. Two chairs and a couple of landscapes filled the space but did little to command attention. It felt disconnected from the rest of the house and became a catchall for items that had made the move but hadn’t found a place in the new home.



However, that jumbled mix of books, furniture and art ultimately provided the inspiration for the perplexing space’s new purpose: a reading nook.



The landing had great natural light and an airy feel; it just needed some character. The homeowners took advantage of the high ceilings and constructed a tall bookcase painted to blend in with the walls.



That and another deep bookcase running the length of the long wall delivered architectural interest as well as room to house books, photos, mementos and art.



A framed French advertisement introduced a splash of bright red that repeats in a folk art caboose and reupholstered antique chairs.



Now the focal point of the room—the vintage 1920s advertising poster from Paris—injects whimsical character.



Although the new bookshelves took up precious floor space, the landing actually appears larger because of the depth and color of the art and books. A sense of purpose helps, too!



The shorter bookshelf was deepened to accommodate the red folk art caboose—a cherished flea market find that reflects a family history with the railroad industry.



Styling your bookshelves makes them more than just book storage units. Try this easy tips to give your shelves a lift.


Displaying books this way not only creates visual appeal but also makes a cluttered shelf look more organized.




Line the shelves with upright books balanced by horizontal stacks. Vary the heights of the stacks and use them as risers to display a photograph, potted plant or sculptural bowl. Leave some negative space on the shelves to let items shine.




Use decorative items and collectibles as bookends. Look around your home or visit flea markets to find interesting objects that can anchor your books. They’ll need to have some weight if you’re propping up heavy tomes or large coffee-table volumes.



Give a small space filled with favorite things some cohesion by using a limited palette and introducing themes such as the animal motifs seen here on shelves, tables and in fabric prints.



Character-rich flea market finds such as a cranberry crate and chest turned into storage elements.



The vintage cranberry crate from Maine keeps extra books and magazines corralled. Added casters make it a snap to move around the landing as needed.



A cowhide grounds the area, bringing texture and warmth to the narrow floor space. The antique chest-turned-accent-table stands ready to hold a cup of tea or glass of wine.



The pair of antique chairs gets a lift with a new animal-print fabric from Duralee. The resulting makeover is a bright and happy room, the ideal place to enjoy a good book.

Design by Carla Sayklay, Vintage Chic Trading Co.


© Caruth Studio

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