HOME: Creating A Retro Reading Corner (Simple Tips For Styling And Decorating Spaces)

There once was a boring corner….so I transformed it into a cozy reading space!

I was using this area as a place for accumulating clothes I wanted to sell on DEPOP, then a filming place for outfit videos. But I knew this cute, little corner had further potential. The corner had cute, floral wallpaper, slanted ceilings, and a vintage skeleton key door, which leads to my room. It was such a cute corner, I just wasn’t sure how exactly to style it.

Last spring, our church had a room filled with rummage sale items. Needing comfy seats for people I met with to sit, I snagged a couple of the orange, retro chairs for my office. The chairs were considered outdated and came with the church when we bought it. When I moved out of my office at the church and into a new place, I had these retro orange chairs with no place to go, so I brought them home. That’s when the idea came for a reading corner!

I’m not much of a reader. I haven’t read a book for fun since before college, but I wanted to change that. I received a Kindle for my birthday and decided I needed a cozy place to read. I’m big into atmosphere. I can’t focus unless my surroundings are clean and cozy. I know, I’m weird!

Below are before photos:

Keep scrolling to see how I styled this corner and why it worked!

When styling a space, there are some things to consider like colors, patterns, themes, textures, personal tastes, purpose, and symmetry. I am no professional interior designer, but over the years, I’ve picked up on a few ideas. Below is how the corner turned out! I love that it is cozy and it now has a purpose!

Why it works (The thoughts behind the designing process)

If you have a corner or room you want to design yourself, here are some basic principles to consider. We all have our own style and preferences, so don’t let this information limit you, but inspire you! I’ll share some thoughts I had during my process in designing this cozy reading corner!


For my corner, I wanted the focus to be on my orange retro chair. I love warm colors, especially oranges and yellows! It so happened that my floral wallpaper was a pale blue, which is a complimentary color of orange! If you look at a color wheel, the color opposite of the chosen slice is its complementory color. My chosen color was the orange chair, so the blue wallpaper compliments the chair perfectly! Once you choose the main color you want to work with, it makes it easier to choose the surrounding colors to bring it to life!


Texture gives interest, depth, and adds to the experience of touch when using the space you are designing. In my corner, the cactus adds a rough, sharp appearance. The white, fluffy, throw pillow includes gold details sprinkled throughout it to add luxury and takes away the edginess the cactus brings to the scene. The knitted blanket invites you to sit and experience a coziness. Choosing a wooden table, a photo with a wooden frame, and a brown case, adds warmth to the area, while the green plants bring a cool color that give off a sign of life! The contrast of the smooth wallpaper and rough walls also contribute to creating a corner filled with texture!


This corner has many different patterns going on in subtle ways. Obviously, the wallpaper has the floral pattern, but if you look closer, you will see a striped pattern in the rug, cactus, and blanket. The carpet and chair have a circular geometric pattern woven into them. The wood grains in the frame match the accent table. The plants have another pattern going on as well and connect the room together! The longer you look, the more you find!


Some day, I want to visit the Joshua Tree National Park and love looking at cacti so I wanted this corner to reflect my dreams and loves. I decided to go with a retro, desert vibe covered with coziness. I wanted the area to be inviting enough for me to hear it calling me to sit down, read, and dream. It also had to be comfy, but structured enough so I wouldn’t fall asleep while reading, which defiantly happens a lot! I think I accomplished what I envisioned!

Personal Taste

Adding that personal touch makes a space your own! Everyone has their own unique style and I wanted to display that! A few ways I tapped into “taking it personal” was including a sign I can change with sayings or quotes! Also, the little trunk I can easily slide out to use as a footrest when using the corner. I love decor that is also functional! I use a thrifted vintage trunk as a coffee table in my living room so I have a thing for trunks, I guess!


Symmetry is about shapes and where you want the eye to focus. In this case, I want the eye to slide down to the chair, which is my chosen centerpiece. I set my pieces up for the eye to start at the photo on the wall, travel down the cactus, and onto the chair. The trailing blanket then makes it easy for you eye to glide down to the plant and rug. Altogether, the space forms a triangle, with the chair being in the middle. The plants guide the eye and surround the chair with life, but also geometry! I’m not much of a math person, but this kind of math, I can get into!


Everything in your design has a purpose, from the photo frames, to the rugs you chose for your spaces. Every space you design has a purpose. What will you do with the space you are transforming once it’s done? For my project, it was to design a place to read, reflect, rest, and dream! Every piece I picked for this area contributed to this goal. If you can’t use your space for anything and it isn’t functional, then you will end up being disappointed after putting time and effort into decorating. Less is more when it comes to decorating as well. The more you have to look at, the less your centerpieces will stand out and blend in. You will most likely not be able to enjoy a space if it is filled with clutter from too many decorations, even if they are trendy. When adding an item to your space, ask yourself, “What is the purpose this is adding to the overall look of the space? If my goal is to create a minimalistic style, is this an absolute need that I will use every time I use this area? If my goal is to create a cozy area, will this item be comfortable enough to sit in or give me relaxing feels? If my goal is to bring a farmhouse style to this room, does this item add to the vintage appeal this particular style has, or does it clash?” Of course, you can mix styles together, but just be purposeful so your theme shines through and you are able to actually use it for the purpose you were chasing after.

To watch me transform this area in a reel (video) tap HERE, or follow me on Instagram (@krystalsmindblog) by tapping HERE!

Do you have a space you would like to transform? Were any of these tips helpful? Would you like some suggestions or recommendations? Let me know!

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