After spending a year—and counting—at home, a den has been bumped up to the very top of our real-estate wish lists. What is a den? We're happy you asked. Typically, smaller and less formal than an entertainment-centric living room and family room, a den is a chill place where you can do everything from taking an important Zoom call to curling up with a juicy book. In fact, many people used to call them a study back in the day.
What Is a Den?
A den is a secluded room designed to provide a quiet, comfortable, and informal atmosphere for conversations, reading, studying, and working.
But, since dens might be a relatively new factor in our homes, decorating them can be uncharted territory. So, how do you do it? Don't worry, help is on the way.
We found a handful of beautiful dens and amazing tips from the designers who created them. It doesn't matter if your style skews more minimalist or eclectic, one thing's for sure: there's a gorgeous den idea here for everyone.
Take a Seat
A den should be a place where you can kick back, relax, and enjoy your space. So, why offer enough seating to do so? This den by M. Lavender Interiors is decked out with a sectional, ottoman, and two matching armchairs. That way, there's plenty of room for the entire family.
Experiment With Textures
If you want to prioritize your den's comfort, take a cue from Montana Labelle. The Toronto-based designer deftly juxtaposed a pristine marble hearth with two distressed, leather armchairs. Though this combination is a bit unexpected, it does wonders for the den's relaxed aesthetic.
"The pair of super comfortable vintage leather club chairs are a great way to add both functionality and a unique element to the space," she explains.
Trade in the Television
Let's be real: it's easy to feel like we're always connected to the latest gadget. But, while we love our smart home as much as the next design enthusiast, we give you full permission to revert your den to the good 'ol, analog days. In this space, Cathie Hong traded in the television for a slick, black fireplace and statement art.
Layer Your Lights
No den is complete without some mood lighting. Don't believe us? Just take a look at this beautiful space from bi-coastal firm Ike Kligerman Barkley. With a set of sconces, statement pendant, and large hearth, this den is definitely easy on the eyes.
Pack on a Personal Touch
Ultimately, your home should be a reflection of your taste, lifestyle, and experiences — and your den is no exception. For designer Isabel Ladd, a den is a perfect place to flaunt those small, personal touches.
"Take items that tell your story, and group them together," she explains. "In this case, silver trophies from Thoroughbred Horse racing were hung together on a wall, and silver cups were arranged in groupings on the mantle."
Ladd adds that your collections will pack a punch when styled together.
Wow With Wallpaper
Just because dens are usually less formal than living or family rooms doesn't mean they have to be boring.
"When I think of a den, I think of a warm, enveloping space; mainly one I would want to use at night for watching a favorite movie or reading a great book," William Cullum, the senior designer at Jayne Design Studio, says. "To channel this look, I recommend covering the walls as well as the ceiling in a printed wallpaper."
Cullum continues that in this den, he chose green wallpaper sprinkled with metallic gold flowers which reflects the light all around. "It was a risk, but certainly one that paid off," he notes. "If wallpaper isn’t in your budget, you could certainly emulate the idea with paint."
Build a Man Cave
If you want to design your den for the special guy in your life—or yourself—take a cue from Emilie Munroe of Studio Munroe. Here, the designer added sporty touches like an old stadium seat, wall-mounted basketball hoop, and a football helmet. We couldn't imagine a better place to stream the big game.
As this den from Jeff Andrews proves, using one color in your space doesn't have to be boring. The Los Angeles-based designer reinvented the traditional tan hue with wood-paneled walls, striped armchairs, and perforated light pendants. The gallery wall and collection of bud vases round out the room, creating a den that's both personable and peaceful.
Pack on the Plushness
Increase your den's cozy factor by pumping up the plushness a la Ajai of True Home. With a shag striped rug, faux fur blanket, and knit throw pillows, this room juxtaposes Scandinavian sleek with coastal cool. The result? A den that makes you want to kick back, relax, and hang out for a while.
Embrace the Art
Just because your den is more casual than a typical living room doesn't mean it should play second fiddle. For a den that's both laidback and aesthetically pleasing, design firm Gray Space Interiors flanked the walls with colorful art that just happens to match the furniture seen here. It's a smart way to fill up empty wall space that can also act as a conversation starter.
Opt for a Dark Hue
As this den Velinda Hellen decorated for Emily Henderson Design proves, the dark side isn't as bad as it's cracked up to be. It's easy to think that painting your room in a darker color will make the space appear small and sad, but truth is, the results are the exact opposite. With a light rug, white shades on the sconces, and some greenery, this den is dramatic and anything but drab.
Add Some Dramatic Drapes
If you want your den to double as that place where you can score some peace and quiet, consider adding a set of thick drapes. In this space, Canadian designer Reena Sotropa added a set of hefty curtains to the den to block out some sunlight when the moment strikes.
Plus, the drape's deep blue hue matches the rest of the room, allowing them to blend in with the rest of the walls.
Transform It Into a Home Office
One of the best parts of any den is its versatility. While many people like to make their dens a screen-free zone to unwind, you can also transform yours into a home office. With a desk, retro chairs, and gorgeous built-ins, this space from Laura U Design Collective would receive Don Draper's seal of approval.
Stack on the Storage
When it comes to decorating your den, you can never go wrong with stylish storage. Here, Melissa Lee of Bespoke Only covered this narrow space in floor-to-ceiling bookends. Pretty and practical in equal measure, this design trick offers a perfect place to stash books and objects.
Liven It Up With Layers
For a den with a more lived-in feel, swath your space in a bunch of layers. Here, California-based designer Katie Hodges not only piled on the throw pillows, but she also layered two area rugs. Easy, breezy west coast vibes in a snap.
Style With Symmetry
A symmetrical room is the design equivalent to ASMR. But, just because this design trick emphasizes order and organization doesn't mean it has to be boring. In this den, designer Lindsey Brooke created symmetry with two armchairs and matching sconces. However, the lone end table and potted plant break up the symmetry to offer some visual interest.
Pant Your Ceiling
If you want to make your den feel more intimate, consider painting your ceilings the same color as your walls. Designer Mary Patton covered this den in a gorgeous, verdant hue, creating the look and feel of a cozy, livable cocoon.
Get Creative With Your Closet
When it comes to maximizing your den, every square foot offers endless design potential—you just need to get a little creative. Case in point: this den, created by Michelle Boudreau.
Instead of allowing the closet to eat up some precious space, Boudreau removed the door, applied some cactus-printed wallpaper, and added a few shelves. The result? A storage system that makes a statement.
Play Up the Patterns
If you're looking for a low-maintenance way to make a big statement, pile on the patterns. In this sunroom-slash-den, Stephanie of Casa Watkins living juxtaposed an ikat rug with printed throw pillows. The blogger stuck with a similar color palette to make the clashing patterns feel intentional.
Not pictured? The painted mural on the opposite wall, which offers an extra dose of fun.
Add a Bar
For a den worth toasting to, add a home bar. In fact, it's one of the most common threads we saw when scrolling through well-appointed dens. Designer Michelle Berwick pulled out all the stops in this one by adding a wet bar, ample storage, and a wine fridge—cheers.