A Design Guide to Restoring Your Reading Culture.
The year is 2022. The attention span of the average human being has dwindled down to an Instagram caption; Even long tweets only get half-read. Frustrated business pages have to keep replying to messages with information that they so generously included in their description, which of course, some followers missed. Is it safe to say we need HELP? If long captions are a pain, how can we possibly restore any form of reading culture in this distracted generation?
I vividly remember in my younger years, rushing for the newspaper after my dad was done with it just so I could skip through the "boring" section to the entertainment part which was always in the middle. While flipping past those pages, sometimes I'd find intriguing headlines and end up reading random news about war, finance or politics. This would find me curled up in a comfortable chair, or at the dining table.
Fast forward to 2022, I mostly read news on my phone and can therefore do it from anywhere - even in bed at 3am. This means I'm only limited to information I choose to consume and unlike with the newspaper, I'm less likely to get educated against my will. All of a sudden, I miss the discipline we had before all these gadgets! We almost always had to find a "spot" to read. Light bulb anyone? It's a hard YES for us because we are going to guide you to create your very own reading spot!
Yeah, it's not the most exciting thing in the world but in our world design can solve just about any problem! So buckle up and let's all get into reading again. Yes, you whose handwriting is barely legible because you've only been typing and scrolling for the last decade.
REIGNITING THE READING FLAME
The past two years had a whole lot of us creating make-shift work spaces in our homes due to isolation and quarantine. This made me realize that the trick to focus and in turn productivity, lies in our environment. Considering that most of us need this kind of escape within our distracting homes, we'll be posting a series based on work spaces, starting with the most basic - a simple reading space that anybody can create.
In order to recultivate that reading culture, you will need to create an encouraging environment. The perfect reading space requires great lighting, comfortable seating and some kind of privacy. You want to trick your mind into focus by tweaking your space to transport you into another world. Again, design to the rescue!
CHOOSING A SPOT
Now that we have an idea of what we require to create our spot, we need to choose a space. Believe it or not, you have the space. I don't care how cramped your house is, there is always room for good design. When creating your spot, you need to consider a few factors and to me the most important is lighting. Are you working with natural light, will you be using a spot under existing artificial lighting or shall we be purchasing a floor/desk lamp?
This is the easiest option! Find a window and you've got yourself a spot! The traditional route would be simply placing a desk and chair under a window but let me sell y'all onto one of my favourite design features EVER - the window seat!
The window seat works best for large windows or windows with a view, but even a normal window can have a comfortable bench placed underneath with cushions. Building around a window is also a great design opportunity for your space. You can get creative with these options and work with what you have.
An even simpler approach to natural lighting is simply creating your spot outside! If you have a patio or verandah, you don't have to do much other than place a comfortable seat there. The natural lighting will do the rest of the work.
If you neither have a window or outdoor option, looks like we'll have to find a spot within your indoor space. As usual, minimalists come first. All you'll need is a comfortable chair and a cushion. Place them next to or under an existing light.
Now if you are more for the clean but modern look, you may want to look into more sophisticated fabric choices for your chair, for example leather and go for a futuristic looking light. This is also a great option for gents who would rather skip the decor drama. Ladies, if you have a bookworm for a partner, here's a surprise idea that will earn you several points. You're welcome.
AROUND THE CORNER
For those looking for a wow factor, corners are a great place to start! They offer a chance to add an element of surprise to any room. A throw blanket and decorative items around your chair will also add that extra oomph to your reading space. You can play around with potted plants, decorative vases or even place a mirror or picture frame along the adjacent wall.
Don't forget to do a seat test before taking your reading chair home. Sleep in it, change positions and slump yourself into it if you have to. The health of your spine depends on it!
For extreme comfort enthusiasts, you might want to put all your money into a comfortable chair. Large bean bags are amazing options as well as chaise lounge chairs which usually have a pleasant provision for your feet. If you have a smaller chair you can also find a footrest that matches your aesthetic and add it as a separate feature to your space.
FROM THE WINDOW TO THE WALL
At this point if you haven't yet got an idea for your reading space, you probably have no sufficient window or corner space to work with. To the wall we go! Unless you live in the open air, you definitely have a wall in your living space. The trick with using walls is keeping everything clean, airy, and minimal so as to avoid interfering with the circulation space around them.
Pick inspiration from the area around the wall. It could be your curtain texture, your existing furniture or the wall colour. Whichever it is, let it inspire your choices for your wall reading space.
For the typical bibliophile, a cute little reading space won't cut it because they probably have a large collection of books and they may want to show it off. If you're in this category, creating a mini-library will give you so much joy. All you need to do find a suitable bookshelf depending on the preferred size of your book collection and you're good to go!
I hope this week's article has helped you consider having your very own reading space. I also hope this week's clients, the books, feel well represented. Please share your thoughts and preferences in the comment section below and we'll catch you on our next design case!