Desperate to try a reading retreat but not sure about the price? We love the idea of a holiday exclusively dedicated to reading. However, spending hundreds on a reading getaway isn’t always practical – especially when you’ll just be focused on your books! This is why we’ve planned an affordable and luxurious DIY reading retreat. Here is everything you need to know about creating a perfect reading experience from the comfort of your home. DIY Reading Retreat

Pick Your Books

When it comes down to picking books for a reading retreat you’ve got to plan ahead. No one wants a book hangover in the middle of a reading-fest! So here are some simple tips to help you curate your reading retreat reading list.

  • Start a series! Spend a couple days getting lost in a new world and ensnared by fascinating characters. Here’s a couple series we’ve been meaning to read:
  • Stick to an author. Reading the same writing style while still exploring different books can be a great way to keep your reading flow going.  You’ll have lots to choose from with these authors:
  • Select books with a common theme. Find books that examine similar topics, pick and mix books from the same genre – spend some time in a particular country, historical era, or maybe you want a romance weekend. These diary style books are a fun but intimate peek into someone else’s life:
  • Find completely unrelated books. Take this opportunity to read outside your comfort zone. Try something new and explore a few indie authors and publishers you’re not familiar with. Here are some of our favourite indie reads:

Create Your Reading Fort

Regardless of where you set up your reading spot, here are some general tips for a luxurious atmosphere.

  • Lighting and Scents
    • Candles, especially ones with relaxing scents, are a great way to set the reading mood. If you can’t have real candles, there are some very realistic imitations. You can even get ones that change colours. The ones that flicker and are set in real wax are particularly convincing. Get yourself some aromatherapy oils for that soothing scent and you’re good to go
    • Fairy lights are ideal if you want a cosy and warm atmosphere but make sure it’s not too dim for your eyes
  • Sounds
    • If you enjoy music while you read make yourself a playlist
    • It can be very relaxing to hear the sound of waves crashing against the shore, or the crackling of a fire. YouTube has a number of long calming sound videos. We recommend these: fireplace, sea waves, and rain

There are also a number of free apps for your phone or tablet.


  • Living Room:

Find your comfiest chair, your fluffiest blanket, and your most literary pillow and settle in a reading marathon. If you like to move around a lot, bean bags can be a better option as you can easily reposition them.

Don’t have a literary pillow? Etsy and Redbubble have a nice and affordable selection.

  • Bedroom:

You can’t beat reading in a comfy bed. Knitted mermaid-tail blankets are fun and warm, leaving your arms free for reading. A bed tray is very useful if you plan to eat and read in bed. If you want to go the extra mile, a net canopy can create the perfect secluded and extravagant feel.

  • Bathtub:

Reading in the bath is the best place to escape from the world and fall into another. Pick from bubble bath, bath salts or a bath bomb to give yourself a little reading spa. It might be worth investing in a bath pillow and it is certainly worth getting a bath caddy (a tray that goes across the bath to hold your book, tablet, and more). Of course, you can’t forget the rubber duck. You can buy the perfect literary rubber duck here, so you don’t have to read alone.

Plan Your Meals and Drinks

If your book is set in a particular country or time it can be fun to pair your meals and drinks. This might be a chance to branch out and try some new cuisine or exciting drinks.

  • Food:

You don’t want to have to set down your book to deal with cooking. Prepare your meals in advance and simply reheat them. Another option is to get take out delivered, which can be a nice treat. For hardcore readers, finger-food is perfect for eating and reading uninterrupted.

  • Drinks:

Stock up on hot drinks! Find some tantalising herbal teas or even flavoured coffees and hot chocolates. Don’t forget marshmallows and whipped cream if you have a sweet tooth. In the warmer months iced tea is a great alternative. For the evening you might want a nice glass of wine as you turn down the lights and relax with your book.

Manage Distractions

It’s impossible to eliminate distractions, especially if you have responsibilities or obligations that may pop up. However, there are ways to manage them so you’re only interrupted by urgent matters.

  • If you live alone – great! Otherwise you might need some planning to get the house to yourself. If you have flatmates you might just have to limit your reading haven to your room
  • Change your phone settings. If you’ve managed to seclude yourself you should probably still be contactable. However, you don’t want to be bothered by anything less than an emergency. You can switch your phone to Do Not Disturb and then only allow calls from your favourites or priority contacts. Tell those people they can reach you by calling but not to disturb you unless it’s important!


Have a reading retreat sleepover! Get a group of friends and some extra supplies for a great but quiet reading party. Bond in comfortable silence as you all explore your own worlds, or maybe even the same one. Then take a break for meals so you can gush about your books. Just remember, no spoilers!

Excited by the idea of your DIY reading retreat? So are we! Share your beautiful set ups and amazing reads with us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram @FairlightBooks.

Want more of a holiday based reading retreat? Check out our reading spots blog here.