The Best Window Treatments for Reading and Natural Light

Woman by the window reading a book.

Natural light has a lot of effects on the way that our mood develops over the course of our day. When our bodies get light and darkness during the natural rhythms of the sun, they sync up with nature and we generally get better sleep and have more energy during the day. Whether you do a lot of reading, or you simply enjoy a few hours of uninterrupted bliss on the weekends, having a spot in your house that is optimized for natural light will give you benefits far beyond just the atmosphere. You won’t just have better vision for your favorite pages–it’ll bring positive energy and rhythms into your whole life.

In this post, we’re going to explore the right window treatments that can maximize the natural light you’ll get in your reading nook.

Types of Window Treatments for Reading

Drapes and Curtains

Drapes and curtains can easily slide along the curtain rods to bring more and less light into the room. If you’re planning on getting some nice reading done in the afternoon or late morning, when the sun is bright and high, drapes and curtains can perfectly limit the amount of light that you’ll receive. 

The other great part about drapes is that you can get sheer drapes, drapes that have some transparency to them. Drapes that have a little bit of transparency will allow a little bit of light to enter into the room without completely overwhelming you with sunlight.


Blinds can be a terrible choice for a reading area! Blinds can create streaks of sunlight which can be really distracting for the pages. The streaks of light and shadow can really interrupt your reading process. It’s usually far better to have some drapes with transparency than the simple blocks of light.

If you really do want to go with blinds, wood blinds, particularly bamboo, are a great choice. The darker colors of wood will prevent the light from scattering as much and will keep things soft on the inside of the room. Also, having the ability to tilt the individual panels on the blinds will help you get a great amount of natural light. If the sunlight isn’t going to come through the blinds directly onto the space where you read, blinds might be a great choice.

Venetian blinds can also be an excellent option for a reading space. These blinds are vertically drawn, and are much easier to position from left to right to control the precise amount of window exposure. 


Unlike blinds, which create odd patterns of light and shadow, shades give you the freedom to position them perfectly along the window. Whether you want direct sunlight on your book and face, or would rather have the light scatter around the room, shades give you a lot of options.

Roman shades are going to be particularly great. The soft fabric allows enough light to come through the window to brighten the room, but you can also avoid direct sunlight if you want to.

Honeycomb shades are also going to be an excellent choice for a reading space. The honeycomb geometric shape is going to allow the light to refract around the room, but the design also prevents the room from heating up too much in the summer. Keeping things cool is going to be essential for reading! If your nook gets too warm, it’s easy for reading time to turn into nap time. Use honeycomb to get a lot of light with smaller changes in the temperature.

Other Considerations for Reading-Friendly Spaces

Window Treatments that Are Great for Plants

There are lots of ways to build a space that inspires you to lose yourself in great books. But one thing that really sets the vibe is a great plant. If you want to have a number of plants scattered in your reading space, then you’ll need to pick window treatments that will allow visible light into the plants. A great way to do this is with drapes or shades that have some transparency to them. Even shades and drapes with a few percentage points of transparency may allow enough light for some plants to be happy and thrive. Look for plants that thrive in lower light conditions.

Privacy and Natural Light

Most people want window treatments that can balance the amount of privacy that you feel with the amount of natural light that you can receive in the room. Drapes and shades that have a bit of transparency might do the trick for a reading room.

Mirrors to Extend Light

If you want to get even more natural light out of a reading room, consider lining up the windows and window treatments that you have with a couple of mirrors. If you can get the angles right on the mirrors, you can actually illuminate an entire wall that would have been dark before. Mirrors can help open up a room that felt dark and closed off before.

Distraction-Free Spaces

Staying focused on a book when there are so many distractions available for us through technology can be really, really difficult. If you’re going to create window treatments that optimize for reading, you should also make sure that the rest of the space is optimized for reading as well! Accomplish this by committing to leave your phone in a basket, out of reach, while you’re reading. Make sure the space is beautiful so that you enjoy sitting in it. And also make sure that you’ve got a nice cup of coffee or tea for a bit of caffeine and simple enjoyment.

Save the Furniture from Direct Sunlight

There are a couple of reasons that people usually want window treatments. Aesthetics is a top priority. But window treatments can also prevent damaging rays of light from cutting short the lifespan of your favorite furniture. If you store books in your reading corner, also keep in mind that direct sunlight can fade the bindings and jackets. The UV rays and visible spectrum can make the pages brittle as well, making your collection more susceptible to tearing and damage.

Serving the St. Petersburg, Sarasota and Tampa Bay areas for all of your Window Treatment needs.

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