DIY Furniture / Projects

Reading Nook with Wood Plank Wall

We made over an empty nook in our living room into a reading nook with a wood plank wall.

Reading Nook with Wood Plank Wall

When we moved into our house there was one thing about our living room that bugged me (besides the tile). It was the inset in the wall next to the fireplace. Our guess is the home builder intended the TV to go into this space because there is an outlet for the cable and a plug on the wall but for some reason I was just not feeling it.

I knew how I wanted the room to “flow” and I found it really awkward to have the TV off center and next to the fireplace. So we set up the living room how I wanted it with the TV on the long wall and left that space empty.

When Christmas came it became the perfect spot to put our Christmas tree but we were perplexed with what to do with the space the other eleven months of the year.

Reading Nook with Wood Plank Wall

After a lot of brainstorming Brent and I came up with a great idea for the space. We decided to turn it into a reading nook! I love reading so I was super pumped about a cozy little spot to curl up and read. It also provides extra seating that we were lacking in the living room. We wanted to try and make a pallet wall somewhere and thought since this wall is fairly small it would be the perfect place to try it. It also adds a focal point to the large area.

We had some pallets left over from our sodding adventure in the spring but quickly learned pallets are gross. They have bugs, are dirty and fall apart easily. We didn’t really want to deal with having to clean them up. Brent suggested we use the same wood that pallets are made of but to cut, rough up and stain the wood ourselves so we could control exactly how they looked and we wouldn’t have to worry about sticking bugs to our wall. So we headed out to buy various sizes of wood to start our wood wall project.

How We Built Our Reading Nook

Reading Nook with Wood Plank Wall
1. First, we purchased all the wood we needed to create the weathered wood wall.

Reading Nook with Wood Plank Wall
2. It took us two days but we got in a good rhythm of working on the wood wall. Brent would cut the wood, then I would hammer nails into it to make it look used and then he would rough it up and I would stain it.

We created a pattern varying the size of the boards and the color of the boards to make it look like organized randomness. It was fun but time consuming. The hardest part was definitely the top of the arch and cutting the boards to fit the shape.

Reading Nook with Wood Plank Wall
3. After the wall was finished, we hung this really cool light fixture since the space did not originally have lighting in that area.

Brent had to drill a hole to add the light switch, climb in the attic and connect the wires and all that other electrician type stuff installing a brand new light source includes.

Reading Nook with Wood Plank Wall
4. The next step was to start building the custom bench. I’ll admit, I had nothing to do with this part. I just sat on the couch while Brent built it and said, “looks good!” Brent built it so the top opens up to a secret compartment in the back that is hidden behind the bookshelf.

Reading Nook with Wood Plank Wall
5. Next, it was time to make it comfy and cozy! We had a hard time finding a cushion to fit the exact size of the bench since it was custom made to be the exact size of the inset.

So we went and bought brown fabric to match our furniture and foam (we learned from that trip that foam is expensive) and made a custom cushion.

Our last purchase was to buy the pillows. We got a variety of sizes in the same color family to keep it simple and cohesive. Finally, we added a few books and decorations to the shelf to complete the look of the reading nook.

Reading Nook with Wood Plank Wall
Reading Nook with Wood Plank Wall

So what do you think? Big improvement to the space? We both love it. I can’t wait to spend many of winter nights curled up with a cup of coffee reading in my little reading nook.

We still have a ways to go in the living room to get it to where we want it. I am hoping to tackle that fireplace soon. Tan tile and white mantel, yikes! But we think this helps get the room a step in the right direction.

You can download our free plans for our reading nook bench with a bookshelf if you are interested in building your own and check out our video tutorial for creating wood with a weathered look like we did for our nook wall.


Reading Nook with Wood Plank Wall

  1. Love small spaces and this one’s a winner! Brilliant ideas–especially the weathered look you created for the nook wall.

  2. I came across your blog from Apartment Therapy’s feature of this reading nook – brilliant! I love what you’re doing (especially the design of the Our Home tab!) and will stay posted.

  3. I TOO have one of these empty nooks! I’ve wondered what to do with it. This idea would be great because it runs with the theme of rest of the living area. Great job! And, thanks for sharing it!

  4. I absolutely LOVE how that turned out. I have a wall in my entry that would look great with similar planks & bench. Thank you for the inspiration!!

  5. Saw the post on House Beatiful…totally guessed that you had to be in TX…because we have the same nook in our home! Our daughters would love that for reading! Just yesterday I slid a piece of furniture into it and thought…there has to be something better to do with this space…thank you!

    You two are such a cute couple…love the ideas you hav posted!

    Bye from North Texas!!

    • Thanks so much for the kind words! We know the feeling, we slid a lot of different pieces of furniture in that spot until we finally settled on building our own. I guess these TV nooks are a popular Texas thing. 😉

  6. This is beautiful! You two are very creative! Any chance he will put up the plans of the bench? I would love one with a hidden back side!

  7. Looks Great! How did you attach the board to the wall (Nails, screws, glue, etc.) ? I have a similar space in my house and thinking of doing the same.

  8. Oh my! That clunk you just heard was my jaw hitting the floor and my ears steaming with jealousy! 😉 What a wonderful use of the space!!!!

    • An unused futon mattress is a great idea! We are all for reusing things things that are already around the house.

  9. Hi! As all the comments above LOVE this idea! Is there a name for the type of wood that the pallets are made from? And it looks like you got different sizes or did you just cut them different sizes yourself?

  10. This is beautiful!! We have to exact same alcove and it’s awful right now… Going to steal this idea from you! Any way you could tell me how you did the arch part of cutting the wood?? That’s the most intimidating to us…

    • The arch stumped us at first. The solution that worked for us was to trace the arch shape on paper and then transfer that shape to the top boards. Finally, we used a jigsaw to cut the top boards to match the arch curve.

  11. Hi! Can you tell me how thick the wood planks are that you used on your wall and what did you use to attach them? I have a wall I want to do this too but it is just drywall attached to studs. These look too heavy to just nail them into dry wall. Thanks so much!

    • Hi Debbie! We used pine furring strips that are all 3/4’s of an inch thick. All the boards we used were over 16 inches long so we were able to secure each board into at least one wall stud. We also used foam mounting tape to hold the boards in place, once level, while we hammered the nails in. If you are planning to use lots of small pieces of wood that might not fall over a wall stud you might consider lining the wall with plywood secured to the studs and covering the plywood with the wood planks. The plywood will provide a secure hold no matter where the nails fall.
      Hope this helps,

  12. I’m looking to do exactly this with an alcove and totally admire the transformation you’ve achieved! My problem is a huge floor to ceiling mirror on the back wall of the alcove, which we can’t remove, so I’d appreciate any suggestions you have for including (or hiding) such a beast as part of the nook? 🙂

    • Hi Kat, Thanks for the kind words and letting us know about your interest in the project. We are a big fans of heavy duty mounting tape. If you can’t take down the mirror to the nail the boards into the studs, mounting tape should hold the boards sturdy to the glass. Potential issues we can imagine is that the mirror could pull loose if it is not well attached to the wall or the boards might be difficult to remove from the mirror once attached. Good luck!
      -Courtney and Brent

  13. Love what you did A LOT!! Quick tip about foam: *never* buy it from the fabric store. They will charge you 4 times more than if you buy it from a store like Fred Meyer. 3-inch dense foam sheets are sold with the camping equipment. You can get a bed-roll size for 20 bucks.

  14. Thanks so much for the share! It’s a great idea and one that I intend to mirror in the condo my fiancée and I are purchasing. Any chance that Brent will post the plans for the bench? That’s the only thing I’m not so clear on. Thanks!

  15. Love this… Im currently in the process of building our new home & I would love to add a cove like this for my kids to enjoy. Can you share the dimensions of the actual cove?

  16. This is beautiful. I want the same wall in my nook. I see in the other post you used kona stain. What are the sizes boards you used? looks like 1×3, 1×4 and 1×6’s.

    • Hi Emily! Those are the correct sizes. The two smaller boards are labeled as “Pine Furring Strips” and have rounded/beveled edges. The 1×6’s are kiln dried pine boards with straight/square edges. We love how these boards look together and the different edges of the board provide some added interest. -Brent

  17. I did this in my front bathroom behind my sink. I ,however, got my wood from a wood flooring installer. You can go and ask for extra pieces or go thru the trash bin. I liked this wood because I got a lot of wood that did not match in size or color. After staining it the wall was beautiful.

  18. We’ve got a lot of reclaimed wood for our home we are building in McCall, ID. I’m going to use this idea downstairs next to my desk and yoga studio. Where did you find the pillows?

  19. Great project!! I have the exact same space to fill, arched and everything but it is in the entryway. I had a question… found a beautiful bench to fit the space lengthwise, depthwise, it comes out about 10inches into the hallway. Is that a design no no? It’s expensive piece of furniture, so I want to make sure I’m not making a major design blunder here!

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