Get cheap and easy outdoor reading nook ideas you can copy right now for your own cozy book time in the fresh air.
These outdoor reading area ideas are inspired by my own outdoor space, and they are meant for adults to use under a deck. That being said, if you are browsing for a kids’ DIY reading corner or an outdoor living space that’s NOT under a deck, you can still copy these ideas for reading outdoors. I spent a lot of time researching them AND trying to stay under budget, so I think you will love them!
My outdoor reading nook was easily the ugliest space in our home for two full years after moved in. It was an overgrown space under our deck with random stones mixed in, as well as an old Chiminea I certainly didn’t want to use that close to the home and deck.
For two years I stared at it, just dreaming of a cute and cozy outdoor reading space (like Clark Griswold envisioned a pool outside his window in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation), but alas, bigger house projects took the front burner for a LONG time.
Finally, I decided I wasn’t going to spend another Summer working and reading inside because it was too hot and sunny on the desk, and that finishing the shaded area under the deck was an upgrade worth my money.
First, I did have professional landscapers install a flagstone patio. This was a costly project for sure, but I will also say that my 70+ year old father with bad knees, back, shoulders, etc., was able to do a similar project on his own, if you are up for a do-it-yourself challenge. We were not!
Since I didn’t DIY the patio, you will not find a patio tutorial here.
What I did do is spend my entire Memorial Day weekend scouring the internet for reading nook furniture and garden accessories. So that’s exactly what you will find here, with some tips and lessons I learned along the way.
Planning Your Outdoor Reading Nook
How do I make an outdoor reading area?
- Consider your location.
- Consider weatherproofing issues.
- Set a budget.
- Shop for furniture and accessories, including chairs, tables, a swing, flowers, greenery, lighting, and more!
- Put it all together.
Let’s dig a little deeper into these steps based on my experience, which will, hopefully, help you in turn.
The area I was planning for was under our deck, which is about 20′ x 10′. But, the actual sitting area was actually much smaller than that, so I first threw out my initial idea of luxurious chaise lounge chairs. Instead, I ONLY searched for chairs with ottomans, so we could either lounge or sit without taking up as much space.
I also knew that a lot of rain would be streaming through the deck, so I wanted true outdoor furniture that could withstand the weather. This meant I immediately decided against things like those pretty outdoor couches with cushions and pillows.
Further, this is not our “forever home,” and it’s also pretty open, so I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on things that won’t be useful to us in a few years or that could potentially be stolen. I decided that $1,000.00 was about the maximum I was willing to spend (in addition to the already expensive landscaping costs). (I ended up spending about $750.00.)
A few more things I considered were that I didn’t want florals I needed to constantly manage, so I would be shopping for faux flowers. I will note, though, that we do already have some real halcyon hostas in the space and they completely manage themselves, if you are interested in real plants for shady areas that still get some rain.
Outdoor Reading Nook Ideas
Below are my cheap and easy outdoor reading nook ideas for you to copy and enjoy in your own home based on exactly what I chose for mine.
Outdoor Reading Swing
When we moved into our home, there was already a (very old and ratty) rope swing hung under the deck and, from day one, I envisioned a pretty, traditional white wood swing in its place. These are pretty easy to source and inexpensive to buy, but I did have to spend some time finding the exact right size for the hooks that were already installed, so that’s really the only caveat I note for you.
I’m very happy with this particular white wood swing. It seats two people well, and it was easy to put together.
I do recommend you consider this component highly. After all, is there anything more relaxing than reading while swinging?!
Outdoor Reading Chair
As mentioned above, I, unfortunately, had to decide against a luxurious, oversized reading chair for this outdoor reading corner due to a few constraints, including space and the infiltration of rainwater.
Since this reading nook is under a fairly small deck, I thought it would be most effective overall to purchase a set of two chairs with ottomans and a little side table as my outdoor reading furniture. This way, we could lounge to read or sit to eat. And, we could use the side table and ottomans for multiple purposes, including storing our food and beverages, or even as extra seating.
I settled on this specific 5 piece set of strap chairs, ottomans and glass top side coffee table from Target because it was cost-effective, weatherproof, and had great reviews. I definitely think it looks more expensive, and it was fairly easy to put together. Everything was labeled really well which isn’t always the case.
Outdoor Reading Nook Accessories
Onto the fun part — accessories that create ambiance!
First, I really wanted to add some colorful flowers to my space. I also knew that I did NOT want to water them and maintain them. And, honestly, if you do it the right way, NO ONE will know they aren’t real. A few tips I have are using “fakes” in places that are far away from the human eye, mixing them in with “real” plants or flowers, and keeping them simple and imperfect, so they appear more realistic.
In my research, I discovered Nearly Natural, which sells realistic faux florals. You can also buy certain options in a UV-resistant material that combats fading in the sun. And, they have great reviews. I purchased two silk bougainvillea hanging baskets (also comes in geranium), and I definitely think they are both high quality and realistic looking.
I also knew I wanted some ambient outdoor string lights to set the mood for reading and relaxing. Before purchasing, I measured the exact lengths I needed and made sure to purchase lights that were specifically for outdoor use and that got good reviews. I am really happy with the quality of these outdoor string lights, as they seem more substantial than indoor lights.
Last but not least, I had a little extra space in my hosta bed, and I thought it would be so cute to add a little garden statue for some added charm. I found the cutest little garden statue of a cat reading for a price that couldn’t be beaten.
Recommended Books for Your Outdoor Reading Nook
What’s an outdoor reading nook without books?! If you’re looking for some good books to devour in the fresh air, check out:
I hope you can copy these outdoor reading nook ideas to create your own space to relax, unwind, and escape into your favorite book.