Get Your Kids To Read By Making a Cool Book Nook

04/09/2013 at 06:00 PM ET

Apartment Therapy Reading Nook
Courtesy Apartment Therapy

How do you get them to put down the iPad and pick up a book?

Sure, kids can read pretty much anywhere—in the car, on the couch or at the kitchen table.

But according to design expert Maxwell Ryan of, like the much-loved fort or tent, a cozy nook can help make snuggling up to their favorite book more of a fun activity.

And it doesn’t have to be difficult. Just a few comfortable floor cushions, a big squishy beanbag chair or a tepee are all easy ways to instantly create a fun space for fairy tales, adventure stories and novels.

Here are a few of his cool ideas:

Away Is Good Try to create a space that’s far away from the busy center of your home. For example, give new life to a previously “dead” part of your home including odd jobs in the walls (above), alcoves, squeezed spaces between furniture and storage spaces — they can make great get-away reading nooks.

Make It Roomy Your mini library should be cozy for one but big enough for your child to curl up and read with a friend. Add more than one pillow or place two chairs on opposite sides of the table facing one another for a more interactive experience.

Apartment Therapy Reading Nook
Courtesy Apartment Therapy

Let There Be Light Nooks are usually closed off and darker by nature, so be sure to put a reading light in it to allow for easy reading. Better yet, place your nook next to a window that brings in bright natural light.

Just a Corner Will Do When you don’t have a sizable nook, a corner will do just fine. Just add a few pillows (or a sheepskin rug), a bookcase and a lamp (a mini chandelier is a great idea!) and you’re off to the races.


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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms
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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

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