The Nosy Parker family has been getting creative to maximize space after a recent downsize to a smaller home. One of our first major in-home projects was installing floor-to-ceiling shelving, drawers and more to better organize our tiny bedroom closets. We did it on the cheap with IKEA… here’s the blog post about that project.
Next up was the office closet. We didn’t want to fill it with junk or overflow storage, but instead make it more usable space. So we came up with the idea of a reading nook with a comfortable place to sit and plenty of room for books. We love books. Though we now mostly read e-books and we donated loads of books before moving, we still have a lot of books. Here’s our inspiration from Pinterest.
None of our closets came with doors. First I unscrewed the closet pole and removed it (see the before shot below). Then I taped over the trim and wood floors before painting the inside of the closet a beautiful bright turquoise. We painted two coats on all of the inside walls, the ceiling and the built-in shelf. Next we painted the trim around the closet opening a metallic gold to glam it up and give it a picture frame feel.
Shelves and more shelves
Once the painting was complete, it was time to install shelving. I mounted IKEA’s ALGOT shelves to both the inside right and left walls of the closet. I left in place the one shelf already built into the closet, but I installed more of the same IKEA ALGOT shelving above that shelf into the top of the closet. We ended up having to install a small shelf in the center as a safety measure so we painted it turquoise to make it blend.
A place to lounge
Finding a comfortable seat for two that would fit inside the tiny closet opening was one of the most challenging steps to creating our reading nook. After much research, we finally discovered Home Reserve’s Armless Loveseat. It fits in the narrow 46″ closet opening, is comfortable with room for two, and features hidden storage. Our loveseat and ottoman are covered in a pet-safe washable fabric and were easy to assemble (they’ve got videos on their site).
Lighting is key
In addition to the closet light, which nicely illuminates the books in the top half of the nook, we installed an IKEA LED light strip under the bottom shelf behind us. We also added a small turquoise flexible reading light on each side.
We installed a grab bar so Mama has an easier time getting in and out of the nook (peened finish to minimize slipperiness). Next we hung two small sketches by Venetian artist Kishi — his impromptu sketch of our little dog Abby and a Venice canal. Then we stocked each side with kleenex, coasters, tiny trash cans, USB chargers, and small baskets to hide little necessities (like pencils and reading glasses). We added a throw pillow and a few blankets to up the comfort factor further. And lastly, we added a little fun surprise… we dotted the ceiling with glow-in-the-dark stars. And ta-da, it’s a starry starry nook!
Next Up for Nosy Parker: Though we’re still unpacking boxes in the garage (and setting up our craft studio in the garage!), this reading nook closet conversion was our last big project inside the house. Next we’ll be focusing on building a courtyard garden featuring a handicap ramp (over the two front steps) integrated into the design. Check back for updates on our fun outdoor living projects, which we hope to finish in time for summer!