You must have built a den when you were a kid. Maybe something grandiose out of all the cushions on the settee or maybe just a blanket (or candlewick bedspread in my case if you were a child of the 70’s and remember those) slung across two chairs or even better draped off a wall in the back yard. The only problem with the latter is that in my case it was usually held up with a row of bricks along the top to keep it in place and I wish I’d had a £1 (note) for every time those bricks smacked down on my head as a result of some over exuberant bedspread mauling. Copious amounts of brick dropping on my head might actually explain a lot!
As a grown-up I don’t take to being creative with throws around the house made into make-shift dens, where I hide away to read or spend time with my dog, but I do something similar. When we bought our house nearly 4 years ago it came with a tiny conservatory, the smallest conservatory in fact I’ve ever seen. Turns out the previous occupants were planning officers and it was the largest size of conservatory that could be built without planning permission. I’d always thought we’d flatten it,
build a ‘proper’ one right across the back of the house, oooh maybe with bi-folding doors and then rip out the kitchen and make it an all open-plan-living-dining-socialising-type-space. However, as the years have gone on I’ve gotten to quite love my tiny
conservatory, in fact, it has become my den. “Man caves” seems perfectly acceptable so why can’t I have a den?
The problem with conservatories is that they’re always too hot in Summer and too cold in Winter so for at least the first couple of years of living in our house I didn’t really use it. I furnished it and on the odd nice day would sit in there, often with the door open, on a rather hard and uncomfortable (cheap) settee reading or contemplating the universe. Once Winter time came around again I’d escape back to the living room, much to the chagrin of my PS4 loving husband who was making great headway on turning that particular part of the house into his very own man cave.
Being a lover of the sunshine on the back of the house all day I decided that the best way to make the conservatory more comfortable was to invest in a proper, comfy settee and so I purchased an L shaped affair. It’s jumbo cord, it’s full of massive cushions, it screams comfort. Next came a huge rug to cover the cold tile floor with. A coat rack made sense because I tend to use the back door to come and go. A couple of shelving units came next and I filled them with my CD’s, DVD’s, books and nick-nacks. Winter came and I’d read a book about Hygge (pronounced hoo-ga) – a Danish concept which describes the warm, fuzzy feeling you get with a sense of well-being, good company and good food. It’s something the Danish use to get themselves through the Winters because they’re so long and cold. One thing Hygge encourages is candles – I’d always loved a good candle and so the conservatory took on the feel of a house with no electricity or a church at the very least. I loved it. Then we decided to invest in a new TV for the living room (PS4 man was very happy at this point) and moved the ‘old’ 42” screen into the conservatory on a special wall bracket which I fitted myself after only a couple of failed attempts with the hammer drill getting the holes in the right place. Now I had a cinema room! The temperature was still a problem and after a light-bulb moment I bought the best thing I’ve ever invested in – a gas heater. Now, I officially had a den.
This tiny space has become my favourite room in the whole house. It’s where I spend the majority of my time (much to PS4 man’s delight), where I relax, where I watch films, read, think, stream from my tablet with Chromecast to the TV that’s far too big for the room, lounge on the big soft L shaped sofa, light my candles and pretty much nod off next to my sleeping dog most nights in the warmth of the gas fire under a snuggly blanket.
Now, who said dens were just for kids?