As the number of eReaders continue to skyrocket – more than doubling since 2010 – a new wave of scientific and psychological study is taking place, evaluating how digital reading differs from paper-based reading. From slower and more methodical reading to interruptions of our circadian rhythm, there are pro-and-con arguments for both mediums.

As architects, we’re interested in how the advent of small, digital reading boxes will affect the idea of the reading room – a special space designated for books, reading and contemplation. Here are some of the ways we see the modern reading room evolving as eReading becomes more prevalent.

Less space. Since your eReader, tablet or smartphone can hold hundreds, if not thousands, of books, the need for an entire room will probably disappear. One of the main reasons there were reading rooms was that one required square footage to accommodate bookshelves – the more books, the larger the space. Without the need for book storage, reading rooms and spaces for contemplation can be much smaller.

Box bay window bench

Box bay window bench. Designed by LS&A Architecture and Interiors


Tech-oriented. As books fade into the background, other technologically-oriented features will not. Perhaps the space will still be quiet, to accommodate study time, but it will also have a large screen and good sound equipment to augment a more multi-media lifestyle. Digital reading material often includes audio and video examples.

Winkeller-After picture-cabinet

Private home. Designed by LS&A Architecture and Interiors


Quiet escape. While the way people read may change, we still think most individuals will feel a need for private spaces to escape, read, and think about what they have read regardless of the medium.

Newton House Library_Reading room

Newton House Library/Reading room. Designed by LS&A Architecture and Interiors


Would you like to re-think the reading or study spaces in your private home or academic design? Contact Leslie Saul & Associates Architecture and Interiors to get started.