A Chair of My Own

Ten years ago my only son moved away, leaving behind an extremely bereft pair of parents.

However, he also left behind an empty room.  After a few weeks of moping, it occurred to me that creating a reading room of my own could be very helpful in easing the pain of an empty nest.

With a fresh coat of pain, a lovely floral patterned comforter with coordinating window treatments, a couple of small lamps to shed a warm glow on the page,  a small stereo to play chamber music, and my own little desk from college (which had been gathering dust in our basement), this “reading room of my own” was nearly complete.  And it was far enough away from our family room that the television was (almost!) inaudible.

All I needed was The Reading Chair.

Chairs are all important for the reader, aren’t they?  I like to sit sideways when I read -literally curled up with my feet on the chair beside me.  So my reading chair needed to be fairly wide across the seat.  In this position, I prop my book on the arm of the chair, which must also be of decent breadth to support some of the weightier tomes I take up.  A high back is also a must, for sometimes my neck tires and my head will need to rest against a cushion.  And, just in case I need to stretch out a bit, a matching ottoman, which doubles as the perfect resting spot for one or two small dogs.

So began the hunt for the perfect chair.  Feeling more and more like Goldilocks, I traversed the furniture stores, book in hand, trying out chair after chair.  Too soft, too hard, too low or too high, arms too narrow, seat too shallow…it appeared the perfect chair had not been created.

Finally I found it. Every characteristic exactly what I needed.  It conformed to my body shape perfectly, allowed me to sink into in just deeply enough, my head to relax against the soft back at just the proper angle, my book resting comfortably on the solid arm.  A matching ottoman was available, one plenty wide enough to allow a small dog to cuddle against each of my feet.


For nearly ten years now, I’ve been curling up in my Reading Chair.  On days like today, when midsummer humidity keeps me indoors, the ceiling fan overhead cools me with a gentle breeze as I read.  In the dead of winter, I pull down the shades and cocoon myself with a soft pink blanket, shutting out the snow and ice swirling around outside. 

A small table stands beside me, a place to set my coffee mug in the morning, an iced tea in the afternoon, or a glass of wine in the evening. Usually a stack of books is perched there as well, with a notebook and pen in case some snippet cries out to be recorded.

There’s also a photograph of a small boy wearing a red sweater and a blue baseball cap, smiling sweetly and keeping his mom company in her reading room.

Now tell me, do you have a special place to read?


14 thoughts on “A Chair of My Own

  1. The chair sounds idyllic! Post a photo???

    I read best when horizontal with just my head propped up on a pillow. Bed is good, and we also have a great couch. It’s unusually deep and great for lying on, plus it has flat wooden arms that are the perfect place to put a cup of tea.

  2. I do not have a special place to read! One day, when we are in a house and not shoehorned into our apartment, I would love an overstuffed denim chair tucked away in some corner, with a cozy thrown draped over the back where I could hang out and read my life away. 🙂 Currently, I usually read on the couch, with a cat or two curled up by me, but I always have at least one book with me wherever I go!

  3. What a beautifully written testament to your space.

    I used to have just such a chair – a wingbacked beauty that my mom picked up for me at a barn sale. It has since been given away for reasons I cannot fully recall now – but it makes me sad to miss it now. . .

    When I have a place that feels more my own, I will follow your inspiration and make my own room. Here’s to Virginia Woolf.

  4. I read anywhere really, but love my room (yes, there is definitely an advantage to having an empty nest as I can now claim a whole room, including a lovely little sofa). I like reading on sofa’s, in bed, a comfortable chair, it often depends on the mood.

  5. What a lovely place to be! I don’t have one specific chair, but I do like the armchairs in our sitting room, which are wide (I like to sit cross-wise too) and very comfortable. But I also lie on the small sofa in the back study where I work, and sit upright in the leather club chairs in the main study. But peace and quiet and cosiness are the other main ingredients, I agree. And I love the little photo you have beside you – how sweet.

  6. Yes, we need a pic! Your chair and reading room sound like the perfect hideaway for a bookworm. I wish I had a perfect chair and a reading room (right now it’s just wherever – mainly the sofa) but hopefully next time we move I’ll get that 🙂

  7. Your chair and reading room sound great, but I’m sorry to say the more comfortable the chair, the faster I’ll fall asleep unless a book has really gripped my attention.

  8. I can see your comfy reading spot; what a delightful description. This community of people who know just how I feel about reading is wonderful!
    I like to read in bed – any time of day. A tall cushioned headboard with pillows propping me up, table with lamp and stack of books, and a place to put a cuppa, I am set. There is also plenty of room for the pup to stretch out, because she has to be next to me at all times.
    I love the reference to your son. I have a picture of a little boy next to me, too.

  9. Oh, yes, I would love to see pictures! This sounds heavenly – I don’t have a good spot to read, in fact, sad to say, I do a lot of reading walking on the treadmill which isn’t recommended but very convenient. (ps You have me terribly confused how old you must be…)

  10. I was just imagining your reading room as I read your beautiful description, and then you came to the last sentence, and I almost started to cry. I know it sounds stupid, but I’m at that point now. We send our last one off in less than a month, and I already miss him. The bright side — that gives me two rooms in which to make special — maybe a reading room and the other a craft room?

  11. Sounds perfect – and I really like the way you turned you son’s moving out into a positive opportunity.

    As for me, I’m a definite in-bed-reader (and writer, for that matter!). One of the advantages of sleeping alone in a double bed is that I can scatter books all over the other side of the bed. Great company, and they never snore!

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