An interior design blog with furniture reviews, interior decorating tips, DIY projects, and home furniture guides.

Posts Tagged ‘den’

One, Two, Three, Three Rooms in One!

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Fairmont Designs Caprice Boca Wood Sofa Table DeskWhether you live in a two-story home or an apartment, finding extra space to make room for guests can pose a decorating challenge. Do you decorate a room dedicated just for guests that will be largely unused throughout the majority of the year? Or do you make do with the convertible sofa in the family for whenever someone plans to stay over? Or do you sacrifice your home office/den in order to have guest bedroom? What if there is a way have a den, home office and guest bedroom all in one? The trick to designing a functional, multipurpose room that serves all of your needs is to plan ahead; with some creative furniture ideas such as using pieces that can do double duty, like a filing cabinet that can stand in as a night table or a day bed or sofa bed that serves as a couch, you can make room for guests without having to “waste” space.

Start with a Computer Armoire

A den is typically a “nesting” room – the nature of a den is relaxation, downtime, kicking back. Today many people opt for a home office instead of a den because in terms of space it is more practical. While a home office is for working and a den or a bedroom are for relaxing, the nature of these two rooms appear diametrically opposed. When blending a bedroom, den and home office together, a computer armoire is key. Computer armoires are designed as an all-in-one work station, which will allow you to work at your computer, file away important papers and then shut the doors on your work area. When used as a guest room or a den, once the armoire doors are closed, the room’s ambiance reverts back to a place to relax.

Pick a Bed that’s not a Bed

Of course, the main purpose of a guest room is to have somewhere for your visitors to sleep. Include some type of sofa in your multipurpose room interior design. There are several types of dual-purpose sofas available, such as the futon, the sleeper sofa and the convertible sofa. A futon with storage drawers or some other kind of hidden storage will be ideal for a home office/guest bedroom/den that is on the small size.

Adding those Extras

Bookshelves are an excellent choice when decorating a multipurpose room. When guests are over, shelves can be converted to personalized storage by placing baskets or storage trays in a section of the bookcase or shelving unit to use for items they would like to keep close at hand.

If your computer armoire doesn’t include file drawers, select a filing cabinet that is stylish enough to be used as a nightstand or end table.

A multipurpose living space is a great way to get the most mileage out of rooms that might not otherwise be used regularly year-round. Careful planning will help you create a room that is an ideal work environment as well as being a comfortable place for both you to relax and for guests whenever they come to stay.

Planning a Den: Putting Down-Time into your Interior Design

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

My favorite place to sit and veg is in an armchair that is actually directly across the room from the main living room window. But it’s far enough away that there’s not too much glare; it has a view of the ocean and often, especially now that the days are getting longer, I can sit and watch the sunset. When I sit in that chair, with that view, all bets are off – emails, meal prep and other miscellaneous tasks can wait. It’s my “me time” space. While I don’t have a specific room just for down-time, some homes do include a den – a personal oasis that one can call their own. To create a space that is inviting, uncluttered and conducive to shutting out the world in style, decorating a den requires special thought and consideration.

Not to be confused with a home office, the den should be a place where you can recharge, regroup and relax. If there are children in the home, it should ideally be an “adult” space. It’s your personal getaway and for it to be meaningful to you, start designing your den by selecting a central theme or favorite hobby like listening to music, reading or journaling.

Whatever color palette you choose, it should be soothing, either soft neutrals or less intense earth tones. If the room is small in size select a lighter color to make it appear larger; choose darker shades to give the space an intimate or cozy feeling.

For a down-time room, arrange furniture into a conversational grouping around a focal point such as a wall library or an electric fireplace. Plan on keeping the number of electronic gadgets to a minimum.

Corners are made for rooms like dens. Fill one corner of your den with a leather recliner, the ultimate symbol of relaxing in den lingo. Pair it with an accent chest or side table and a lamp, and you’ll have a really comfortable place to relax after a busy day.

Make the most of the natural light in the room. Place a chair or a loveseat as close to the window as possible. Ensure that overhead lighting is soothing yet bright enough to be useful. Including table lamps and wall sconces or some kind of task lighting will guarantee that light will be evenly distributed around the room.

Pile on the pillows! Accent pillows and decorative cushions in a variety of shapes, fabrics and sizes will add texture to the den’s décor. It will also transform any sofa or armchair from just a place to sit into a really comfy way to kick back.

Please not Elvis’ Jungle Room?

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

The story of Elvis Presley’s rags-to-riches story is well-documented and the home he made for himself at Graceland became the embodiment of his amazing success. It surprised me to find out that Elvis made many of the interior design decisions himself – I don’t know; it just seemed incongruous to me that the King of Rock n Roll would concern himself with color palettes, matching window treatments and accessorizing. But it makes sense, with all the craziness that surrounded a music icon like Elvis, for him to be a secret nester at heart; to want to create a place where he could be himself and one that he could share with close friends.

Princeton Leather Recliner

Rumor has it that the Jungle Room was Elvis’ favorite room of the house. The interior design inspiration was Elvis’ travels in Hawaii and his love of the Hawaiian Islands. Sofas and chairs were upholstered in faux fur; floor and ceiling (yes, you read that correctly, even the ceiling) was covered in green shag carpet; and the entire room was furnished in Witco, a type of furniture created by William Westenhaver that gained popularity in the early 1960s. It was blocky, flamboyantly carved and had an overall appearance probably most politely described as tacky. Again in keeping with the Hawaiian theme, the entire end wall of the room itself was outfitted with a waterfall – somewhat of a disappointment to Elvis as in constantly kept flooding. It even boasted a Tiki home bar complete with matching stools. 

There is a deep seated fear amongst interior designers and interior decorators that at some point in their careers they will be asked to decorate a “jungle room” for one of their clients. But why not? Maybe the Jungle Room isn’t to everyone’s taste, but the whole point of decorating a room, whether you’ve hired someone else to do it for you or you are doing it yourself, is to create a space that is pleasing and comfortable to you. It has also been noted that Elvis himself never called it the “Jungle Room” but rather referred to it as the den and it was obviously the place he felt comfortable and relaxed. 

Walnut Column Fireplace

During the 1800s, a den was traditionally a male retreat, where the men of the household withdrew after dinner with their guests for brandy and cigars, while the women held court in the parlor. Over the years, the den evolved into a place where everyone in the family could relax. It differs again from the family room, which is typically larger in size than a den. Some real estate experts have noted that the den seems to be gradually disappearing from floor plans of the contemporary home, in preference to the home office. But for many people, the den is the perfect place to unwind, read a book or watch a favorite TV program. Often, it is reserved just for adults; a much-needed kid-free zone separate (in mood anyway) from the rest of the household. 

To create a room that is inviting, uncluttered and conducive to lounging in style, here are some things to consider:

  • De-tech the room by keeping gadgets to a minimum. If you’re going to have a television in the room, select a TV armoire or a plasma lift TV stand to hide it from view when it’s not in use.
  • Arrange furniture in conversational groupings.
  • Choose a really comfy armchair with an ottoman or a leather recliner to fill a corner of the room, preferably near an electric fireplace, if you have one.
  • Lighting should be even distributed around the room with the use of table lamps or other forms of task lighting to make the room well-lit while appearing low-key and warm.
  • Don’t forget lots of pillows. Plumping up the couch and occasional chairs with plenty of accent pillows makes seating much more comfortable. 

While some people term Elvis’ Jungle Room décor “atrocious,” he did get the color palette somewhat correct. Because it’s supposed to be a place to relax, colors should be warm. Select ones like moss greens, warm tans, wine shades, earth tones or even deeper yellows such as sunflower gold. Deeper palettes have a tendency to make the room feel more intimate. 

Wall Bookcase in Distressed Finish

Instead of an artificial waterfall built of cut fieldstone that never worked properly, for you den choose a more practical focal point. A fireplace adds warmth and ambience to a room; an open invitation to come curl up on the leather sofa. If a fireplace is not an option, consider using a barrister bookcase or library wall. Bookcases aren’t just for books; they’re an excellent way to display collectibles, trophies or family pictures. 

You don’t have to have Elvis’ taste for snake carving armrests. The way to go about decorating a den can be best described as a type of cocooning. The emphasis is on relaxation, tranquility and your favorite way to kick back and unwind.

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