Some of our best childhood memories are the memories that we have of creating dens. Whether we invited others into our worlds or kept them to ourselves, we understood that a den was our private space – somewhere to relax and to get away from it all. That appealed even when we were young, creating forts and pitching play tents in the garden, but as we grew we found that we had less time to build dens as life, work and day-to-day responsibilities got in the way.
Somehow, as our world became somewhere that we more often needed to escape, we stopped escaping from it. Play tents were stored in the cupboard under the stairs, the sofa stopped becoming a fort and we no longer propped a duvet up in the air so that we could hide underneath it with a battery-powered torch. We lost our childhood escape.
Now, why not create a den again? Why not find some space in your house to let your inner child out? Find a room that isn’t being used for anything important, or use room dividers to create a separate space, and take yourself back to those carefree days when you really knew how to relax.
Chairs are boring! When you were a kid, what could beat flopping down on a big beanbag or sinking into a pile of large cushions? Soft furnishings are the key to a good adult den. A nice duvet to relax under, coupled with a pile or cushions or pillows, will ensure that you can enter your den and experience instant comfort rather than spending time trying to adjust your position on a chair or sofa. Cover the floor – go crazy!
Your iPad, connected to your office email, doesn’t count. Your den needs to be a place where you can get away from it all. A TV is fine, but don’t take your phone or tablet into the room. Add a small bookshelf, and consider stacking a few board games in the corner. Make your den the place that you play your guitar, listen to music, paint or knit but, whatever you do, don’t let the outside world in.
Don’t be afraid to go a little wild with your decorations, either. When was the last time you had posters on your wall? You might make sure that your decorations and furnishings complement each other throughout the rest of your home, but your den can be a place where nothing matches and you can let all sides of your personality out at the same time. If you love cartoon superheroes and cute cuddly kittens, put the two side by side. What could possibly feel better than snuggling down for a nap with those glowing plastic stars lighting a ‘sky’ on the ceiling?
Your home should be your sanctuary, but as our commitments encroach on our personal space we’re losing the ability to relax after a long day in the office or an afternoon caring for an elderly relative. People are constantly worrying, and the stress can get too much. Instead of thinking about artistic interior design for one of the more public rooms in your house, stop for a while and create somewhere that you really want to spend time.
What would you have in your den? Have you already created one? What are your favourite memories of your childhood den? We’d love to hear your thoughts.