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How to create a reading nook, plus inspirational reads for 2022

Here are four simple ways to style an accent chair for a reading corner – perfect for enjoying writer and member Jason Okundaye’s book recommendations for the new year

By Megan Murray

In our Houses, we use accent chairs to ensure that every space offers a comfortable place to sit down, take the weight off, and read a book. In the bedrooms, for example, you'll see either a small sofa or set of chairs positioned at the end of a bed, or a big armchair under a window - because everyone needs a dedicated spot to gather their thoughts.

40 Greek Street member and upcoming author, Jason Okundaye, says that 180 House is one of his favourite places to enjoy a good book: 'I like the comfortable seating and ambient lighting at 180, but if I'm settling down at home, I'll use home fragrance and textiles to create a relaxing environment,' says Okundaye.

Here, Okundaye shares his reading recommendations for 2022, and we explore how to use the Garret Chair to create your own cosy reading nook.

Jason Okundaye’s reading list

Okundaye made his first foray into the world of writing just over a year ago, interviewing icons such as the late Virgil Abloh and often covering Black British culture. His interest in Black stories - particularly those of the LGBTQIA+ community - led to his first book deal, which will be published in 2024.

'[My book] Revolutionary Acts revolves around a group of six, gay Black men living in Brixton from the 1970s up until the early 2000s. It aims to paint a messy history of what it was, and is, to be a Black gay man in that area,' he explains.

Here, Okundaye shares the most inspiring books he's read to put on your list for 2022.

Misfits by Michaela Coel

'Michaela Coel's Misfits is a testament to individuality and non-conformity, exploring how freeing being an outsider can be. The stories that I bring to journalism often aren't typical and I've felt like an outsider in the past, but this book is incredibly inspiring and encouraged me to be unapologetically myself.

'For me, it was validation to follow my own path. If you're thinking about doing something new and unchartered this year, this could be the push you need. Plus, it's a short book, so it's an easy-to-read pick-me-up.'

Ways Of Seeing by John Berger

'This wonderful book from art critic John Berger is about the way one's background and social location informs how we interpret art, design, and all things visual. It taught me a lot about perspective, and that it's more than just looking at a thing - perspective is what moralises nakedness, and can reveal grand decorations of wealth and pomp to be quite heartless.

'Ways Of Seeing puts forward a social justice-oriented approach to looking at art, fashion, decoration, and beauty. It challenges the classed and racialised structures and biases that tell us something belongs or doesn't.'

The Lonely Londoners by Sam Selvon

'This book follows a group of migrants from the Caribbean in 1950s London and the life that they create for themselves in a hostile environment. That said, within the heart of the book is a lot of hope and perseverance, which is incredibly inspiring. Despite what they're faced with, these characters share laughter and fun together and, above all, an ideology of care. I'm always so inspired and awestruck by the resilience, power and love that people of colour and migrants in this country have for each other.'

How to create a reading corner

Lighting

Ambient lighting is key when designing a calming space and is best achieved with multiple light sources at different heights. Choose a floor lamp, such as the Arc or Amara, which can be positioned overhead. Place a smaller table lamp on a nearby side table and, if possible, keep a wall light at a low brightness.

Furniture

Complement your reading corner with some well-placed furniture. A side table, such as the Sebastien, is a must for keeping a cup of tea nearby. And a footstool not only looks great, but also takes comfort to a new level.

Textiles

Layers of soft furnishings will add to the sense of cosiness. In our bedrooms, we position a rug halfway underneath the bed to cushion that first step, and you can mimic this technique with your chair to create the same effect. Add a blanket or throw to the arm, and a square cushion for back support.

Home fragrance

Our home fragrances are designed to complement areas of the home, as well as the time of day; for an afternoon of reading, Blackcurrant & Cedar works well. Inspired by countryside breaks at Soho Farmhouse, it's infused with notes of Cedar, Amber, and Patchouli.