Why House Dens Are Popular Again & Why You Need One

We love large family spaces, open sight-lines, and the feeling of airiness that makes open-concept architectural design so appealing. But what do you do when you want a place of your own, where you can go and shut the door? Try your house’s den.

What Is A Den In A House?

In the ‘70s, people began calling their family room the den. Dens, however, are traditionally small rooms devoted to non-work activities, not formal occasions.

Often, dens are pass-throughs to other places, making them forgotten spaces.

Reclaim yours. Arrange your furniture so that it floats, directing traffic to the edges of your space. Then add an octagonal ottoman for more seating and to help all those doors and corners make visual sense.

open living space

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How To Make A Den In Your House

Dens are ideal for small gatherings and entertainment. We often find ourselves pursuing privacy in these isolated spaces (think: studies or man caves).

It is essential to optimize your square footage in the den to ensure you get the most of the limited space you have. Building shelves up and over furniture is a creative solution to use wall space.

Dismiss the notion that small living rooms have to be painted white. PPG’s Improbable can make the room feel taller because they lead the eye up to the white ceiling.

dark gray accent wall sitting - house den

Made for meditation, dreaming, and list-making, dens are the perfect space to escape from the world. Enhance the feeling of den-as-sanctuary by painting your room a soothing color, like Debonaire.

different shades of blue living room - house den

A den should feel like it evolved rather than being designed. To get that look, pull pieces from other places in the house and layer colors, patterns, and favorite accessories. Dark, glossy walls in a deep blue are a great option.

blue accent living room old tv - house den

In the last decade or so, builders put an extra room in the foyer, usually across from the dining room. Meant to be offices, they usually end up being junk rooms. To compound matters, these rooms typically have French doors, meaning everyone sees the clutter first thing when they walk in.

If this rings a bell, take heart. Your space probably doesn’t need a complete overhaul — just some space planning, fresh paint, and a new reason for being.

Could it become a music room? Library? Kids’ tv room? Art gallery? A writer’s room? Find its purpose, and the room design will almost magically take shape.

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Kelley Rebori

Kelley Rebori has written for national brands like Paintzen, HGTV, the DIY Network and Trulia for more than a decade. She loves home renovation projects, chocolate icing and small poodles. She and her husband split the year between their homes in Tennessee and Italy.