Let's Add a Den!
A den addition to your home can be a terrific investment of both time and money. Not only will it increase the value of your home, it will also create a wonderful cozy family gathering place you can enjoy for many years to come.
There are many ways to add a den to your home. One way to add a den is to claim attic space. The use of attic space offers a number of fascinating possibilities ranging from a secluded and cozy retreat to a loft that overlooks the kitchen or great room. A second way to add a den is to consider the basement. Unused space in the basement of your home can also be converted into a very nice den. A third way, which offers unlimited possibilities, is to build an addition to your home for a cozy den.
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A den will probably be relatively small (as compared to a family room or great room. You will want to make it cozy and comfortable for your family to use for TV or movie viewing, reading, enjoying music, or just gathering for an evening chat. Creating a feeling of warmth and comfort is generally the goal of den design.
The first questions you will need to answer in deciding where you will add your den and what size the room should be are these:
- Will you convert an existing room?
- Will you renovate your attic?
- Will you finish a space in your basement?
- Will you den be an addition to your existing home?
- If the den will be an addition, where will it join the existing structure?
- What will be the size of the room?
The next set of questions to answer concern access and connection to the rest of the house.
- How will you have access to your new den? Will you be able to use an existing stairway (to attic or basement)? Will you need to add and construct a new stairway?
- How will you connect your new den addition to the existing structure? Will you need to create a doorway or hallway from the existing structure into the new den? Will you remove a wall from your house to connect with the new den?
One very popular approach to den additions is to remove an exterior kitchen wall, allowing the new den to connect with the end of the kitchen. This approach can create a very warm, comfortable and cizy living space for your family. If you choose this option, you will need to decide whether to remove the entire section of wall or to create either a doorway or an arched opening into the den. The use of a smaller doorway to the den will have minimal effect on the look and feel of the kitchen. Building a den addition that is completely open to the kitchen will affect the look and feel of both den and kitchen. This very popular approach to den addition, however, will require careful planning and design.
There was a time when a den was simply a small room that might have built-in bookcases and was probably paneled in wood (Generally knotty pine). Families, builders and contractors have become far more creative in recent years, designing spaces that are far more interesting and functional. Here are some room-design ideas you might want to consider in planning your den.
- If you are remodeling an attic space, consider creating an open staircase from the floor below and leaving the area that connects with the rest of the house open. Either a half-wall or a wood or wrought iron rail can prevent accidents and create a feeling of more space in both rooms.
- If you are remodeling a basement space, consider ways you can create the same effect of openness in the way you provide access to your basement den.
- If you are adding to your home, consider something more creative than a simple doorway to join the den to the existing structure. You might consider placing a see-through fireplace between the kitchen and the den with open space on each side for access. You can connect your den to other rooms in the same way.
- If you are adding a den that connects with your kitchen, consider using a "breakfast bar" to delineate space. Or, just allow the kitchen and den to flow together.
- You can create the feeling of warmth in a den through color choices for paint, wallpaper and furniture. Flooring materials can also create very exciting effects. Rather than paneling, you might consider adding the warmth of wood with hardwood floors and open-beam rafters in the den.
If your new den will be an addition to the house, you will need to think carefully about the grade of the land, the appropriate type of foundation, and the external appearance of the new addition. The external materials will certainly need to match or blend with the exterior of the existing house. The line of the new roof will need to be consonant with the existing roof line, and the shingles should match. You can, however, consider some options that will make your home more energy efficient, such as installation of solar energy panels or a skylight. A fireplace could provide alternative heating as well as creating a feeling of warmth in the room. With so many styles of fireplace available, you will certainly be able to find and include a fireplace that accents your den and other rooms with which it connects.
Whether you choose to remodel existing space or to add to your home, you will need to attend to heat and air conditioning in the new den, as well as electricity. This, as well as the need to construct a foundation and exterior walls, may help you decide whether this is a do-it-yourself project or you need to call in professionals for all or part of the work. Many localities require electrical and heat/air work to be done by licensed professionals. If you are building a fireplace, proper ventilation will be critical. You may want to have a professional do these types of work, leaving the paneling or drywall and decorating for you to do.
Whether you choose a simple plan or a very creative and exciting room design, you can create a marvelous living space for your family by adding a den to your existing home. The project will be great fun to plan and build, and you will have a renovation that will improve your lifestyle and increase the value of your home.
If this article was helpful, you might also want to read:
Successful Remodeling: Ten Tips for Keeping Your Sanity
Waterproof Your Basement, Increase Your Living Space
When Finishing Your Attic Is The Best Choice, And When It Isn't