How to Brighten Up a Den

How to Brighten Up a Den
  • Opening Intro -

    Your home's den may be used as a private sanctuary, as a home office, a library or as a man or woman cave.

    Homes that include a den add value to the property, and are considered as a bonus room of sorts.


Dens typically do not have closets and therefore would not be considered a bedroom. Some dens offer a half-bath and even a separate entrance, making this an attractive room for working and welcoming clients.

Regardless of how you use your den, you can paint it in certain colors to enhance the room’s theme or to give it a fresh appeal.


– Dens tend to attract “stuff” and if your den has accumulated more furniture, fixtures and artwork than needed, then it is time to do some housekeeping. Evaluate this room for what is really needed. If you’re using it as an office, keep your desk, chair and related filing cabinets. Include a seating area, but do you really need two couches, two chairs, end tables and a coffee table? Reduce your office furniture to minimal levels, a step that will automatically open up the room.


– Is your den furniture a hodge-podge of cast-off pieces from around the home? Create uniformity by using furniture with the same wood tones throughout such as mahogany, oak, maple or cherry. Uniformity shows professionalism, while still offering an environment that is inviting and relaxing.


– A drab or plain den won’t present the professionalism you seek to convey if you’re welcoming clients. Consider dressing up the walls by adding wainscoting or chair rails to create a formal, but still relaxed look. You can purchase wainscoting with prepainted panels or paint it yourself to match the color of the wood in your room. Paint the remainder of the wall for a stunning, visual contrast.


– With a den, you have plenty of color options available. A “stunning visual contrast” may not be what you want, but your choices are many. If your den is small, but you want to make it seem larger, then choose a light, neutral color. For a feminine look, choose light yellow. For a masculine look, choose green or burgundy. You can also use one color on three walls and paint the fourth wall a different color for contrast.


– Once done with the painting, review what you had on the wall previously and the window treatments used. Replace those dark, heavy drapes with blinds or sheer window panels if you want to maximize natural light. The art on the wall should reflect your personal tastes. If you are a hobbyist, artwork that reflects your interest can be included. For example, if you fix historic cars, photos of your favorite vehicles are a conversation starter. Also, black and white family photos create visual interest too, offering a pleasant contrast to the room’s color.

You can add live plants to your den or, if you’re worried that you will neglect same, then go with silk plants. Limit your use of overhead lights, choosing soft lighting while eschewing harsh lighting.

See AlsoDen/Library Furniture

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Categories: Den/Library

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Auto Trends Magazine", an online publication. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and weblogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".