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Love to read outside? Here, you’ll get cheap and easy outdoor reading nook ideas you can copy and enjoy. You’ll breathe in the fresh air as you turn the pages during your cozy relaxation time. Check out the recommended items below.

after outdoor reading area under deck

How do I make an outdoor reading area?

  1. Consider your location.
  2. Consider weatherproofing issues.
  3. Set a budget.
  4. Shop for furniture and accessories, including chairs, tables, a swing, flowers, greenery, lighting, and more!
  5. Put it all together.

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.

My outdoor reading nook was an overgrown space under our deck with random stones mixed in, as well as an old Chiminea. 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).

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.

First, note that 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. Since I didn’t DIY the patio, you will not find a patio tutorial here.

What I did do is scour 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.

Further, 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.)

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.

before and after: outdoor reading area
outdoor reading area ideas collage

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 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

I, unfortunately, had to decide against a luxurious, oversized reading chair or couches 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 when you buy furniture online.

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 grabbed a few geraniums from Nearly Natural and a handcrafted ceramic planter at Lowe’s to decorate the tabletop while not taking up much space.

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 decor for book lovers, a little garden statue of a cat reading, for a price that couldn’t be beaten.

What’s an outdoor reading nook without books?! If you’re looking for some good books to devour in the fresh air, check out:


These outdoor reading nook ideas are considerate of space, cost, and weather issues. Copy these bookish lifestyle tips and tricks to create your own space to relax, unwind, and escape into your favorite book.

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