do it yourself, my works

Have window ledge, will reading nook

I live in a four-storey townhouse, and being an impulsive decorator, I often find myself wanting to fix up every square-inch of empty space I see. Blame it on my obsessive pinning on Pinterest, and constantly scanning my design and decor books and magazines for ideas to apply at home.

Now there is this spot on our third floor stair landing that never fails to call my attention:

The window ledge on our third floor stair landing
The window ledge on our third floor stair landing

Ever since we moved in here, my husband and I have thought of turning this ledge into a reading nook. It’s got near-perfect conditions for one: It has a ledge for sitting on, and it receives great morning and afternoon light, great for reading.

I even thought of having an upholstered cushion made to fit the ledge, outfitting the spot with a reading lamp (and perhaps an electric fan somewhere to make it cooler), and putting up shelves on the columns of wall around the window (like this), to really make it a legit reading spot.

Alas, no budjey.

The ironic thing about this whole decorating obsession is that it often requires money. All those things I pin to my boards are things that I always think I will save up for or purchase as soon as I get my next windfall. But the truth is—and I’d like to think this applies to most of us—we don’t always have the moolah to buy new stuff. And from a design standpoint, buying new stuff doesn’t really equate to a beautiful house as much as it does to lots of clutter.

So what does an obsessed homemaker-decorator do? She gets resourceful. She hunts around the house for things she already has to make her dream a reality—or at the very least, get started to making it so.

The results of my hunting and gathering
The result of my hunting and gathering

If you look at a concrete window ledge like mine, it has plenty of straight lines and hard angles. It definitely needs to be softened up a bit, so I gathered lots of fluffy stuff to counter the edges.

A shag throw that is actually a pet blanket that I bought from Pioneer Centre Supermarket (one of my favorite places to shop in Metro Manila)
A shag throw that is actually a pet blanket that I bought years ago from Pioneer Centre Supermarket (one of my favorite places to shop and do groceries in Metro Manila)

Pillows are a must-have in reading nooks. The large 20×20 goose-down pillow is something I purchased a few years ago from this little “store” in Kapitolyo, Pasig, called Anuc Casa di Arredamento. Since it’s one of the biggest items in my pile and has plenty of colors in its palette—its got pink, green, yellow, blue, purple, brown, and cream—I used it as my color reference for the other stuff I gathered.

This is actually a great design trick I’ve learned from years of hoarding Real Living magazines and many other design books. Start with one accent piece that will help dictate the color palette of the space you wish to decorate or style.

Pillows are a must-have in reading nooks.

You can’t have too many blankets (okay, you can, but you can always have that one exception to the rule), so I added to my stash this striped Iloko blanket that was a pasalubong from a friend who’d come from Vigan.

A striped Iloko blanket that was a pasalubong from a friend who'd come from Vigan

I needed a surface to put my drink on (it’s not fun to read without the requisite drink, I always say), and since I don’t have a small side table that would fit the narrow space, I figured a basket turned upside down will do for the meantime.

I needed a surface to put my drink on (what's reading without the requisite drink?, I always say), and since I don't have a small side table that would fit the narrow space, I figured a basket turned upside down will do for the meantime.

A microfiber bathroom rug is small enough for the narrow space (it’s a stair landing, after all).

A microfiber bathroom rug is small enough for the narrow space (it's a stair landing, after all).

I hooked up this vintage-looking electric fan to an extension cord, since there’s no existing outlet on this landing.

I hooked up this vintage-looking electric fan to an extension cord, since there's no existing outlet on this landing.

Of course, what’s a reading nook without reading material? These are just some of my favorite books, which are incidentally some of my favorite films too.

Of course, what's a reading nook without reading material? These are just some of my favorite books, which are also some of my favorite films.

It took me only a few minutes to put these all together, and check out the satisfying (well, to me, it is!) results:

Ta-daa!
Ta-daa!
Love the way the afternoon light casts an ethereal glow on this spot. (Or maybe that's just the grainy quality from my iPhone camera...)
Love the way the afternoon light casts an ethereal glow on this spot. (Then again, that’s probably just the grainy quality from my iPhone camera…)
View from up a  few steps
View from up a few steps
(Would've been nicer if I had a view of a garden or park, though. But we can't have 'em all, can we?)
(Would’ve been nicer if I had a view of a garden or park, though. But we can’t have ’em all, can we?)
I admit, I stalled for quite a while when I opened this book. Would be nice to catch up with the Dashwood sisters once again.
I admit, I stalled for quite a while when I opened this book. Would be nice to catch up with the Dashwood sisters once again.
View of the other corner. I admit this isn't as inspired, but it's just the first phase of Project: Reading Nook. This can still be improved upon.
View of the other corner. I admit this isn’t as inspired, but it’s just the first phase of Project: Reading Nook. This can still be improved upon.
A cup of hazelnut coffee and a pile of next-in-line material
A cup of hazelnut coffee and a pile of next-in-line material

It’s just a quick-fix setup, and it did make me enjoy reading my book more immensely than if I was just sitting on the couch or in bed. I’ll install a lamp and fan in this space one of these days, and not forgetting those shelves, of course.

If there’s one other thing you should know (and one thing I should remind myself of every time I get impatient) is that decorating requires resources—money, time, and effort. I tell you, though, I will turn this spot into a legit reading nook some day. For now, I’m happy with the way my quick afternoon project has turned out.

Do you have your own quick-fix projects in your home? I’d love to see and hear all about them!

Share away!
Share away!
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