Our cozy and inviting reading areas for fall (plus an Arhaus giveaway)

Our cozy and inviting reading areas for fall (plus an Arhaus giveaway)

This post is sponsored by Arhaus.

Last week the weather around here finally changed, and it’s starting to finally feel like fall. I’ve been dreaming for months of curling up to read under layers of cozy blankets with a cup of hot tea, with candles burning and maybe a fire going, and that time is finally here.

We moved into a new-to-us old house last February. Late winter and early spring were unseasonably warm, so this is the first real opportunity we’ve had to get cozy around here. When Arhaus invited me to choose a few items to create inviting reading areas in our home I couldn’t say yes fast enough. I’m a longtime fan of their unique, high quality, well-designed home furniture and decor. Today I’m sharing some personal favorites and giving away a $500 Arhaus gift card to one lucky reader. (Update: Giveaway has ended.)

grey and ivory melange throw | silk velvet aqua Istanbul square pillow

This decorating thing doesn’t come naturally to me; I wasn’t born with the gene that lets me instinctively know how to make my home inviting. But I’m not as hopeless as I used to be. I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks along the way, and today I’m sharing them.

It’s not hard, if you know what to pay attention to. And readers have an advantage, because establishing a dedicated reading area is one of the best ways I know to cozy up your home for fall. Want to set up your own? These are the 7 things I’ve learned to pay attention to.

1. Pick the right spot.

Maybe for you this means a sequestered corner or room; maybe it means the middle of the action. Pick what works for you. We fall into the latter category around here. Two favorite places for reading are right at the front of the house, in rooms we all spend a lot of time in: the living room, and the adjacent library.

faux fur luxe oversized throw | Toluca square basket with leather handles

2. Establish your foundation.

A substantial sofa, a plush wingback chair, an upholstered bench—these are the bones of your reading area.

If you love your foundation pieces, fantastic: it’s easier to build on a beautiful foundation. But back when I first moved out on my own, I loved the colder months because they were so forgiving to my furniture, which had seen better dayswhich had seen better days—especially our hand-me-down leather sofa that literally had giant gaping gashes in the cushions. In the summer, this was unfortunate, but in the winter we just layered on a few blankets and it looked beautiful and curl-up-able, gashes and all.

Bookshelves also create the bones of your living areas. Ours (shown) are custom; Arhaus has similar options here and here.

Kamala handwoven pouf

3. Make yourself comfortable. 

Once your foundation is in place, add the elements you need to enjoy your reading area. Do you have someplace to set your cup of tea, or set down your book when it’s time to get a refill? Is the lighting good, or do you need to add a lamp?

At my house, we like versatile pieces that can be easily moved around as needed—a variety of small tables that can hold a glass of wine or propped-up feet or a tower of possible reading selections. I’m especially fond of this handwoven pouf that serves as a step stool to the higher library shelves, a comfy seat (especially for a kid), or a table for a handy tray, depending on the day.

Clarence table lamp in antiqued brassfaux fur luxe oversized throw | Toluca square basket with leather handles

4. Add interesting texture.

A variety of textures look inviting and feel cozy. The easiest ways to bring in texture for the cooler months are to choose accents that contrast with your foundation pieces, like this faux fur throw that looks like it’s begging to be touched draped on a shiny leather sofa, and pillows in a variety of textures and fabrics. Sometimes when a room feels “off,” thinking about the balance of matte versus shiny helps me right things.

5. Add a pop of color.

Some people love the look of a monotone palette, and I’m one of them—but I wouldn’t want to live with it everyday. I feel most at home when there’s a nice punch of color in every room, whether it’s a pretty vase, a pillow, a big bunch of flowers, or a great piece of art.

As a reader, I’ve always left books lying around for practical purposes, but I finally realized I could strategically use them to pretty up my home space as well. Whether you choose a single title or a big stack, those books add visual interest, a pop of color, and—if you choose them right—will make you happy every time you look at them.

Toluca round basket with leather handles

6. A little (or a lot) of storage. 

Choose smart storage that fits the needs of your space. Maybe that means a tall bookcase to store lots of books, or an end table with a shelf that can hold a few books-in-progress, or a concealed ottoman that can hold extra blankets and pillows.

I added a few durable baskets to our favorite reading areas this fall, and I love the way a simple basket full of books or blankets cozies up the space. The square living room basket holds books I want to read next; this round basket holds folded blankets, ready to be cuddled up with. The big library basket holds books in limbo—ones that I’ve pulled off the shelf (to loan to a friend, to talk about with one of my kids, to donate to the Little Free Library down the street) and ones I’ve previously pulled down that need to be re-shelved. The living room baskets have leather handles, and all are handwoven from Mexican palm leaves; they’re functional plus add great texture to the room. It’s a little thing, these baskets, but they make the room feel a little more friendly and a whole lot neater.

Kerensa small black lantern | details on our home library

7. Signs of life.

Homes feel cozy and inviting when it looks like people actually live there, so work some signs of life into your decor—fresh flowers, houseplants, a poky little puppy. (We don’t actually think of Daisy as home decor, a dog curled up at my feet while I read sure does make me feel cozy.)

Light the candles. Don’t be afraid to leave a book lying on the coffee table; it’s evidence that there’s a human being somewhere nearby, and that’s a good thing.

Another good way to show signs of life is to live with the things you love, whether that’s a carefully selected stack of books, a funky succulent, a meaningful photo, or a pretty piece of pottery. Fill your home with things you love, and it will feel—and look—like home.

I loved perusing the Arhaus site and store, and wanted to share a few more favorites that I couldn’t squeeze into my home. Arhaus utilizes sustainable materials including recycled natural resources such as copper and stone. Additionally, Arhaus has held a long standing commitment to never use wood from endangered rain forests. Many of their pieces include functional elements like hidden table leaves, washable slipcovers, and construction made to last for generations.

I shared a few more of my Arhaus favorites on Pinterest: click here to see my inspiration board.

fall reading area

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

UPDATE: The giveaway has ended and the winner has been notified.  Today Arhaus is giving one lucky reader a $500 gift card to Arhaus to cozy up their home for fall. To enter to win, visit Arhaus here and comment back on this post with the link to one item you’d love to have. Giveaway ends Thursday, October 26, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time. (Must be 18 to enter; Arhaus employees and their family members are not eligible.)

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604 comments | Comment


Leave A Comment
    • Lisa Johns says:

      I love the colors in the pouf. They remind me of the colorful characters, the places I have traveled with the flick of a page, the settings that stayed in my mind of the sun rising over the tops of pine trees and the yellows of the sun reflecting on the ocean. Every time I read, I could prop my feet up and remember the joy that comes from every page turned.

  1. Pathom says:

    Love Arhaus! Headquartered right here in Northeast Ohio, too! I long for one of the copper-topped kitchen tables (copper-60-inch-rectangle-table-with-weldon-base).

  2. Rachel Freeny says:

    My little apartment could use this coffee table. Love the simple copper—https://www.arhaus.com/furniture/living-room-furniture/coffee-tables-and-trunks/sanskrit-40-inch-copper-coffee-table/

  3. bobbi hatton says:

    SKU: 658003D0756

    love this basket – good for books, more books, and yarn!

  4. Jimi says:

    I think the Celtic throw you posted is beautiful. And so is the flax Limoges fringe throw. Everything on their site is gorgeous.

  5. Marie Leonard says:


    We just got married last month (WOOOO HOOOOO!!!) and now blending families – I have step-daughters who love to lounge and read (vs. my boy who plays video games) so cozy chair options are important.
    And if we have no space for additional chairs (b/c now there are 5 of us!!) some of the cozy details could help cozify the space we have.

  6. Janice says:

    Wow! All of these are stunning! I am getting major inspiration to update my humble reading nook. The most inspiring piece is the Athens Library, I would soooo play the scene of Belle in the bookshop all of the time with that! 🙂

  7. Christianne says:

    I would absolutely love two Tremont Brass Wall Sconces, my husband and I live in a tiny apartment and nightstand space is at a premium! It would be great to free up more space 🙂

  8. Sarah says:

    I have had my eye on the Morroco Print Duvet for a couple of months now! I have also started to learn to decorate with the things that I love, and I’m loving my house so much more since I’ve started applying that theory. I’m working on making my bedroom into a retreat where I’m surrounded by things I find beautiful, so one of these days I’m going to finally purchase this duvet and a pile of pillows to go with it!

  9. Audrey Bretz says:

    I’d love a couple of those chunky knit throws so we don’t have to share! And a good reading lamp like the Kellen floor lamp. Everything is gorgeous at Arhaus.

  10. Beth says:

    Great post Anne. I love cozy. The cozier the better. There are so many good choices at that website, but the 42″ Three Tier Storage Basket caught my eye. I’ve been thinking of something like this for my craft room forever.

  11. Holly says:

    Loved this post! Thanks for the wonderful tips! This is the first time I’ve heard of Arhaus and enjoyed perusing their website. I would love this puff for starters! We just moved into a new home and it is so dark and brown, I’ve been wanting to add pops of color and this puff is perfect!


  12. Kresta Brown says:

    I would love the ROCKWAY 157″ 4 PIECE UPHOLSTERED SECTIONAL IN NOTION IRONSIDE. We have a lot of people in this house and this would be perfect for our living room!

  13. Nancy says:

    My wish list would include the Clarence or Arc floor lamp. The couch in the living rooms is where I often curl up with a book and there’s an underutilized corner area next to it that would be perfect for additional reading lighting.
    P.S. Love your library!

  14. Virginia says:

    I would love the Martin Antique Brass Trunk coffee table!
    P.S. Your comment about balancing the shiny with the matte reminds me of Rebecca Atwood’s book, Living with Pattern. Before, I always thought of decorating in terms of shape and color, and her book brought to life the value of considering pattern and texture, balancing the bold with the subtle. I highly recommend it for anyone who isn’t sure where to start with decorating! She is also coming out with a new book on color… can.not.wait. #colornerd

  15. RA says:

    There is a corner of our sectional that is GREAT for reading but needs a reading lamp! I love the Antoine brass floor lamp for that spot! Thanks for the giveaway!

  16. Mary says:

    I’ve been in the market for a new bed and I love the Langley bed! It’s hard to just pick one thing because everything is so beautiful!

  17. Shannon Malik Jarmusz says:

    I would be thrilled to have Arhaus’ Brentwood Leather Recliner in Matador Walnut as as my special reading chair! My husband and I also recently bought a new to us home and will be furnishing it slowly, as finances permit. Winning this contest would give us a jump start on making our house a home! Here is a picture of this beautiful piece if anyone else would like to take a peek and picture themselves curled up with a great fall read and a cup of tea!

  18. Jennifer says:

    I’ve been looking at rugs for a while, and am taken by the Yumi rug in blue, but I may also just go for a whole bunch of baskets–they have great options!

  19. Arhaus carries a trove of comfortable, easy-to-live-with pieces that wear well (says this satisfied customer). The Old West Vintage leather wing chair in this post could have stepped out of a book – and is perfect for reading. It would be a terrific upgrade for my husband’s go-to chair. I would love to add it to my home.

  20. Kate says:

    This mirrored beside table would be fabulous with a vase of flowers and a stack of books!!
    Isla 32″ Mirrored Side Table
    SKU: 45ISLA32NT2

  21. Danielle Edwards says:

    Oh my goodness. The ATHENS LIBRARY IN FRENCH WHITE is perfect perfect perfect! Even though I currently don’t “have” a spot for it, I have the perfect spot for it in the dining room/library of my dreams. I will prevail to convince my husband that we must have a dining room/library!

  22. Victoria says:

    I have been thinking about purchasing a new bed set and came across the Fresco Metal Duvet Cover on Arhaus’ website. I absolutely love this duvet cover, especially with the fact that it is reversible. I am a person who loves to mix things up throughout the year depending on my mood or the change of the seasons, so I like how this cover has a darker, pretty pattern (for fall season colors) and a lighter side (that can be paired with colors for a summer/spring feel). Thank you for this opportunity! I love your blog and all your down-to-earth posts about reading and life in general!


  23. Deborah McGilvray says:

    I have so few pillows on my sofas, but I do love the SILK VELVET AQUA ISTANBUL SQUARE PILLOW— it would match perfectly!

  24. Heather says:

    I would love to have the ARTURO 48″ BELL’ARTE HUTCH AND BUFFET IN BIANCO!! It is gorgeous and would be perfect in my kitchen!

  25. Whitney Bak says:

    I can’t believe I haven’t heard of this company before! Love their commitment to using the right kind of materials. After only a minute of browsing their website, I think I’ve found the PERFECT writing desk. My husband is an artist, and he’s been looking for something that he could spread out papers on and do some drawing. I’VE been looking for something that wouldn’t kill the vibe of our library. I think this is the perfect, rustic, beautiful compromise:


  26. Jodi Gradolph says:

    I’d love a new couch. DUNE 95″ UPHOLSTERED TWO PIECE SECTIONAL IN THEATER GUNSMOKE would be perfect for my living room!

  27. Rose says:

    I’m inn love with the fizzy blanket here: /blankets-and-throws/faux-fur-chinchilla-bed-blanket/

    I’m a lover of art and love to learn new needs

  28. Mia White says:

    Mercy, what an outstanding giveaway! I especially love their home office line– namely the drafting table/desk and the Wordsmith chair (obvi), plus also the bicycle lamp. Coveting your library!

  29. Courtney says:

    I got married last month and my husband and I recently moved into his grandparent’s 100-year old home. We are looking to update the home while still preserving the aspects that define it as an older home! We have been looking for a rug for our living room and love the natural look of this one: https://www.arhaus.com/furniture/area-rugs-and-drapery/natural-fiber-rugs/solana-8-foot-x-10-foot-hand-woven-rug-in-ivory/

    I haven’t heard of Arhaus before but this looks like a great site for us to consider as we decorate our new home. Thank you for sharing!

  30. That Kamala handwoven puff is gorgeous, as is everything you’ve picked out. Is our taste the same? Will definitely be putting Arhaus on our list when it comes to decorating the house (starting to look to buy now).

  31. Barb B in BC says:

    Thank you for sharing this great furniture company with us. It will be really fun scrolling through all their products. My must have right now is a floor lamp and the Carson lamp is just the thing.

  32. OH! That Barrister Tufted Bed is made for readers. Oh, that headboard is built for me to lean against it and read for as long as I possibly can. I want it so badly. 😉
    I don’t know if it’s in any forseeable budget but a girl can dream.

  33. Katherine says:

    The Cotton Velvet quilt! We still use the same cover that I had on my bed growing up, about three decades ago:) While that says a lot about the quality of that particular cover, it is pretty threadbare in parts and it is time for something new.

  34. Lyn says:

    Hi, we are emigrating from the UK to Phoenix next month, to be living near our daughters and grandchildren. I’m very lucky and very excited to be picking out new funrniture for our new home and the furniture on the Arhaus website is just stunningly fabulous…there are many things I would love to own, however, the leather chesterfield, would be my dream choice…what a beauty! I’m just visualising myself sitting on the chesterfield enjoying a margherita and checking my books over after they’ve been shipped across the Atlantic and delivered to their home-thankyou! https://www.arhaus.com/furniture/living-room-furniture/sofas/wessex-109-inch-leather-tufted-sofa-in-bronco-whiskey/

  35. Jenn Anderson says:

    Here are some favorites of mine:
    The Evelyn Bedside table in French Black
    The Reina Pouf in Ivory Moss
    Palmer Round Nesting Coffee Table
    There are so many beautiful things!

  36. Casey says:

    Someone gave me a cocktail shaker for my 21st birthday…. it has green plastic on the outside and it leaks ever time I use it but for some reason I’ve never bothered to replace it with something more “grown up” (and that I can use without making a mess!). I’d love to have something like this:
    Also, I have no actual need for new flatware but I’ve always like the flat black look like this:

  37. Rachelle says:

    I love your library….simple, elegant, comfortable and it shows the beauty of books! My library is painted “museum blue” with dark brown bookcases and a brown leather couch and I could easily see using Arthaus items in it. Thanks for your post and sharing a little of your world with us!

  38. Kristi Clark says:

    We have yet to get a nice, “real” couch in our nearly five years of marriage. So I’m drooling over the Channing and the Paxton sofas!

  39. Juli Henderson says:

    I love it all, but if I have to pick just one, would love this chair,
    Pennie 33″ Upholstered Chair in Rigoletto Crush
    SKU: 3327PENNIE

  40. Julie A says:

    I love the Alpaca Border throws. Of course, I can’t decide on which color, but they are beautiful. I would love a new reading blanket just for me:-)

  41. Kristin says:

    I do most of my reading in bed before I go to sleep, but my favorite spot is on my patio. Now that winter is coming I would love to set up a cozy spot in one of my rooms. Arhaus has some great pieces! A new bookcase like the Alderson would look amazing in said room. 😉 Love your site SO much. Thank you for all of your work to bring it to us!

  42. Cynthia says:

    I’ve been looking for the perfect basket for cozy throws and blankets in our living room. The Hidalgo Tall Blue Floor Basket would be perfect.

  43. Natalie Gunderson says:

    It’s pretty hard to pick one thing from their website, but I LOVE, the Curiosity ascending bookshelf/wall unit! I love the baskets and cushions too. This website is new to me, so thanks for giving me a new addiction 🙂

  44. tara says:

    omygoodness! hard to decide but probably a small arm chair of some sort – need another one in our tiny apartment! or possibly a settee or duvet cover.

    thanks for this!

  45. debbi Faust says:

    Well, I love all of it. But I would love to have the same baskets you have, Anne, and I like GATHERING BASKET too. I have a small home and some of these baskets would be great for extra storage.

  46. Cortney says:

    I love the Audrey Tufted Chaise! It would make a great piece of furniture to add to my reading nook. $500 off would make it more in my price range. Thanks for the opportunity!

  47. Jen says:

    Prior to this post, I had not heard of this company! You always open my eyes to more than just books which I why I enjoy your blog so much! Anyway,I LOVE blankets and being cozy, so I am drooling over the Cotton Weave Ivory Blue Throw. Cotton weave blankets have weight and are also warm and soft, and this would pair perfectly with the tones of my newly painted living room. https://www.arhaus.com/furniture/decor/all-pillows-and-throws/cotton-weave-ivory-blue-throw/

  48. Kim says:

    I need a comfy reading chair, so I would be all over the Portsmouth Upholstered Chair – it’s a cozy looking wingback in a gorgeous fabric.

  49. Amanda says:

    Well I can come up with a lot more than one thing that I’d like to have, but that square woven basket looks lovely. So does the knit throw. And their windowpane mirror. Etc.

  50. Sheryl Maurer says:

    I would love to have the Audrey tufted upholstered chaise! I’ve always wanted a chaise lounge chair and that neutral color would be perfect to throw multi colored throws on!

  51. Adie says:

    The Martin bookcase would look perfect in our living room. Now if only my kids wouldn’t think I bought them a new thing to climb on…

  52. Lisa White says:

    I really like the Botanical prints; especially the fern, burr, and wheat. And the Kamala pouf in blue is just the most fabulous blend of color and comfort!

  53. Carol says:

    I’d get two of the Casey Task Table Lamps for my guest room! And probably some pillows. You can never have too many pillows!

  54. shelly says:

    I Love…Love…Love Everything!, but my favorite thing is
    the Toluca Square basket. It just the perfect thing to fill
    with wonderful books.

  55. Angela says:

    The Alpaca Dark Grey Border Throw is just what I need for my recliner! I sit here and read or work on the computer, and I’m starting to get a little chilly!

  56. Jill Lombardi says:

    Any of their outdoor sofas and poufs!!! <3 (Outside, at least in the spring and summer, is my favorite reading place!)

  57. Clara says:

    I’ve been looking for just the right ottoman and I think I’ve found it on Arhaus… The Kamala 22″ Round Pouf in Ivory is just the right “surprise” element for a neutral room. Love!

  58. Lila says:

    The Audrey Chaise! I’ve had my eye on it for years, but our budget just hasn’t been able to stretch enough for it. Couldn’t you just imagine curling up on this with a delicious book and a lovely handknit afghan by a fire during a chilly day??!!

  59. Nicki Bishop says:

    Thanks for the post! I think I’m going to start small and put together a book basket today. ? Really enjoyed the ideas as well as the Arhaus site. One of my favorite things was the Platinum Accent chair in Medina Pewter. I also liked the blue glass vase on your pin board. Thanks for the giveaway!

  60. Marcie Millard says:

    I’m looking forward to creating my first reading nook this winter! This chair would certainly be a step in the right direction, don’t you think??

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