Tuesday , June 18 2024
What Is A Den

What Is A Den? And Ways To Make Your Own Den

The word den is usually associated with animal hideouts, where they rest and raise their pubs. However, people are using the word den to describe their houses. People seem to casually use the term ‘den’ for their house, which may make many people unsure about what a den is.

In housing, a den may refer to a small private room where people can pursue activities. A den is usually separated from the living room and large enough to serve a functional purpose. It has furniture to perform its intended role. A den may or may not have natural lighting, and is usually not openly accessible.

This article discusses what a den is and tries to give a clearer picture of what it is. It also explores how a den differs from other house rooms, such as the living and bedroom. It also explores common questions about dens, such as what you can put inside a den.

What Is A Den?

A den may refer to a small private room where people can pursue activities. The word den may have come from the German word ‘Denk,’ which means to think. A den usually becomes an office, tv room, playroom, or man cave. The den owner may not easily allow others to enter it.

In general, the word den can be hard to define. This is because many people use it casually to describe their space, so it may be hard to define it. It could not be easy to define a den in a way that covers most casual use yet is specific enough to have any value.

However, you can describe a den as a modest, versatile area used for personal activities in a home. A den is typically tucked away from the common living space where most family members live. 

A den may be defined by its size, dimensions, design, and features. This space is typically smaller than a bedroom and may not have windows. Still, since there is no specific definition of a den in real estate, you could encounter rooms with windows classified as dens.

As a result, a den typically is a room that can accommodate the furniture and equipment suitable to its original function. For example, if the den is created to be a man cave, it may have a TV, gaming console, single couch, fridges to store beer, or more.

Commonly, a den could be created to function as an office, home theatre, game room, play area, and many more types of spaces. 

The den may also not be accessible to many people. Usually, guests are not allowed in, and some family members are also not allowed in. Some dens can be very private; only the owner can access them.

In fact, at times, dens can be so private that people hide their dens by building false walls or creating one underground or in the attic.

What Is The Purpose Of A Den?

A den is created to allow a person to conduct activities in private. It also ensures the owner can control who can go into the space and who cannot. A den also helps the owner to place all the furniture and equipment needed to conduct the activities desired.

Before we look at how dens are used today, it is a good idea to look at how the term came about in the first place.

The word ‘Den’ comes from the German word ‘Denk,’ which means “to think.” At this point, the word is just a verb, and not related to a space. It took the French philosopher Rene Descartes to finally turn the word into space when he encouraged everyone to go alone into their den to think. 

Thus, the word den is not a space for people to think alone. Eventually, the term slowly becomes a space for someone to do activities alone.

As such, a den is not just an empty, small room but has furniture, tools, and equipment to allow the owner to do things in private.

If the den is an office, you should expect to see a desk, computers, a whiteboard, and other office equipment. If the den is a LEGO workshop, you should see a desk, lighting, LEGO bricks, and many finished sets.

Another reason to have a den is that aside from privacy, you also control who can access it. Dens can be very private. Sometimes nobody is allowed to go in.

Den vs. Living Room vs. Bedroom

A den may differ from a living or bedroom in its purpose, size, ventilation, accessibility, location, and furnishing. In general, a den may be the most private, secure, purpose-specific, and hidden room of all the other rooms.

Aspect Den Living Room Bedroom
Purpose Private activities Center space for family activities To sleep and rest in private
Size Small Larger Small
Window May not have windows Usually have windows Usually have windows
Access Very private Usually open Private
Location Usually not connected to the living room Central to the house Connected to the living room
Furnishing Specific to purpose Couch, coffee table, TV, etc. Bed, dresser, bedside table, desk, etc.

Another way to paint a clearer picture of the function and characteristics of a den is by comparing it against other common rooms a house has. For example, a living room and a bedroom.


Each room has its own purpose, but a den is usually the most versatile of the three. A living room is generally for family-based activities, such as watching TV, playing board games, etc. A bedroom is generally for sleeping, personal grooming, and resting.

A den may be a private space to conduct any activities the owner wishes. It could be an office, workshop, TV room, game room, man cave, and many more.


Generally, you may assume that a den may be the smallest compared to other rooms. The living room should be the largest in common cases, with the bedroom second. The den should be the smallest.


The living and bedroom are almost always well-ventilated, with wide windows. Aside from ventilating the space, the wide windows also introduce sunlight to illuminate the space. A property with a windowless bedroom or living room may not sell well.

The same could not be said about a den. A den could be so tucked away that it has no window, and hence no natural ventilation and lighting. A windowless space may be because the owner wants a high degree of privacy. However, a den with windows is common as well.


A den is commonly created as a private space, which means accessibility tends to be very limited. In fact, some dens can be so private, nobody is allowed to enter them. Some den owners even went as far as hiding the room’s access door.

This is contrasting to living and bedroom. The bedroom may be a little more private, but guests may still be allowed in with consent from the owner. The living room is the most open, with all family members and guests usually allowed to be in it.


A den is usually the most obscure space in the house, with its position rather unpredictable. A den could be constructed in the basement, attic, or shed outside of the house. In fact, some den owners even construct false walls or obscure doors to hide the entrance.

A bedroom is commonly connected to the house, and its location is rather predictable, usually on the higher floor of the house. It is also commonly connected to the living room. The living room is usually at the center of the house.


Living rooms and bedrooms tend to have a more common set of furnishings. A living room may have couches, a dining table, cabinets for TV and books, a coffee table, and some lighting. A bedroom may have a bed, wardrobe, dresser, and bedside table.

This specific furnishing relates to its specific function, which is to serve as a communal and private resting space.

With dens, however, the furnishing may be unpredictable. This is because the furnishings inside may depend on the intention of the den owner. If the den is to be a pool room, you may see a pool table. If the den is a gaming room, you may see a TV, couch, and a gaming console.

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How Big Should A Den Be?

There is no definition of how big a den should be. The den’s side should accommodate the furniture, tools, and equipment the owner needs to conduct their activity privately. A den may be one of the smaller rooms in the house.

There are no specific measurements for a den. The den has to be big enough to accommodate all the furniture, tools, and equipment needed to allow the owner to conduct activities inside it.

For example, if the den is to become a room to shoot pool, it should at least be big enough to accommodate the table and leave some space for players to walk around and aim their sticks.

There are suggestions to have a minimum den size of around 8 X 6 feet (2.43 X 1.82M). This is to ensure there is space to at least host some furniture. Small rooms can be very difficult to furnish, as there will be a need to install many customs and foldable furniture.

A den should also not be too big, as it may compete for space with other rooms in the house. A larger room may also be harder to keep private and lose its comfy, cozy appeal.

The key to a den is to make it as cozy and private as possible. It should also allow you to conduct your activities in the best comfort and privacy. Match that requirement to the space you need, and you should be fine.

What Do You Put Inside A Den?

Depending on the purpose of your den, you may place different furniture, tools, and equipment in it. The key is creating a cozy, private space for you to conduct your activities comfortably. You may also decorate the den to suit your purpose, such as changing the paint color.

A den is a very flexible space, as it is created to allow the owner to conduct activities in privacy.

This means the den could host diverse furniture, tools, and equipment. For example, if the den is intended to be a music room, you may see the room rather empty and hosting music stands, amps, and chairs.

A den may also be decorated to suit the owner’s purpose for the den in the first place. The wall, floor, and ceiling may be painted with colors.

If we use back the music room example, the den may have padded walls and ceiling and carpeted floors to assist with soundproofing.

In many cases, a den is usually an efficiently used space, with everything inside it helping the owner conduct intended activities. Rarely are purely decorative items added in.

Can A Den Have A Door?

Commonly, you are very likely to see a door in a den. Once closed, this is because a door completely encloses the space for added privacy. A door could also be locked, meaning the den owner can control who enters the space. In fact, a very private den may have an obscured or hidden door.

In many cases, seeing a den with open access is unlikely. You should see a door with a den, or at least some kind of curtain covering the entrance. This is because a den is still a room; without a door, there may be no way to enter it.

A den should have a door because a door is a solid surface. This means the den is completely enclosed from the outside space when the door is closed.

Subject to windows, the outside world cannot see whatever happens inside. This is additional privacy, which may appeal to many den owners.

Another reason to have doors for dens is that the owner may not always be in the den, which means they need a way to secure the space and not allow anyone to go inside. This can easily be done by placing a lock on the door, with the owner holding the keys.

In fact, some den owners keen to keep their dens private may go all the way to hide the door to their dens. This could be done by constructing false walls, hiding the door behind a curtain, or furniture.

Can You Have A Den In A Condo?

You can have a den in a condo. Also, the options may be rather limited. This is because you may not have the space to create one, nor can you hide it well. People usually convert one of the smaller rooms in the unit to become a den.

A condominium is a type of housing where houses are grouped together, usually in a high-rise building. These units may share common amenities, such as a swimming pool, gym, courts for games, BBQ space, etc.

In a condominium, the rooms are usually pre-built and designed, which means you may be unable to randomly knock away the walls and create a new space. Condominiums may also be small, to the point that you may not have space to build a new space for your den.

As such, you may not have many options to create a den out of your unit. Many people may resort to converting one of the smaller rooms in the condo to become a den.

This option also comes with its own weakness: you cannot tuck the den away. A condominium unit usually has rooms connected to the living space, meaning the nook may be quite visible. As such, you may not be able to add a higher degree of privacy to your den.

Is A Man Cave A Den?

A man cave could be a den. This is because a man cave is usually created with a purpose, which is to allow male-related activities, such as video gaming, beer drinking, wood, or metal work. There is also a culture of not allowing females or boys to enter a man cave, which may add to the degree of privacy.

A man cave is usually a space carved out within a house, usually by the man of the house, such as the husband or the father. The space is intended to become the area where the man can conduct his activities in privacy and without distraction. The space is also intended to keep other members of the house away.

Typically activities such as video gaming, music, woodworking, metalworking, or beer drinking may be done in a man cave. Depending on the ventilation of the man cave, cooking activities such as BBQ could also be conducted.

A man cave is given the name because of its nature. Usually, only men are allowed, and the owner may only let in his best friends. Women and girls are usually not allowed. In some man caves, young boys may be allowed in.

If you look at the characteristics of a man cave, you may be able to assume that it is a den because:

  • It is usually a room
  • It has a specific purpose
  • It is furnished to fulfill the specific purpose, and 
  • It has a degree of privacy to it.

Is An Attic A Den?

An attic may be a den, depending on the purpose of the place. It is a den if it is furnished to allow specific activities to be conducted in private. It may not be a den if it is used for other purposes, such as to store things or a spare bedroom.

Some people may mistake the attic as a den because of its location. It can be a small room hidden away from the living space and may not have much natural ventilation and sunlight. It is rather private and cozy as well.

However, not all attics can be considered dens, as one of the more important ways to separate a den from other spaces in the house is the purpose. A den should be a space to conduct specific activities in private.

If you take this approach and look at the attic, then an attic can only be a den when it is used for a specific, private activity. For example, if the den is turned into a reading room with racks of books and a nice cozy armchair, it could be considered a den.

However, if the attic is left empty and used to store things, it may not be considered a den. This is because it is not used to conduct private activities.

Some may wonder if an attic converted into a bedroom can be considered a den. This may be debatable, as a bedroom is usually made for a personal, specific activity, sleeping. This means a bedroom can actually be a den. However, a bedroom already has its specific name, the bedroom, which means that may be a better term to use.

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How To Create A Den?

Creating a den starts with thinking about the specific use of the space, and then preparing it. Next, you can move in the furniture, tools, and equipment needed for the specific activity before you decorate the space. Finally, depending on the privacy you prefer, you may install a locking mechanism to secure the den.

Creating a den is not rocket science. It is essentially a series of processes that you follow to ensure you get the most comfortable, cozy, and private space to conduct your personal activities. You may apply the following process when creating your den.

Decide On A Purpose

Start by deciding on the purpose of the den. Do you intend to turn it into a workshop? Reading room? Or a place to indulge in hobbies such as LEGO building?

Once you have decided on the specific purpose, you should be able to decide on things such as the furnishings, space required, lighting, decoration, and storage needed.

Prepare The Space

You can now prepare the space. Preparing the space may be cleaning it and installing basic creature comforts. These could include lighting, power sockets, air conditioning, painting the walls, installing flooring, etc.

At this stage, you may also confirm the furnishings you need and measure the space to ensure that all you intend to place inside the den fits. If you intend to install wall cabinets, you may want to do so now while the room still has a lot of space.

Move In The Things

Now that the place is ready, you can move in the furniture and many more. As you move this furniture in, ensure enough space for you to move around, and enjoy the space comfortably.


Now that the furniture and cabinetry are set up, you can start decorating the space. Feel free to hang pictures, and have trinkets and your things placed inside the cabinet. Make it your place, and make it comfortable!


Finally, the last thing is to secure the space. Depending on how much privacy you intend to keep, you may decide between leaving the doors unlocked, to installing a locking mechanism to prevent unwanted people from entering them.

If you truly want to keep the space private, consider obscuring the door by hiding it behind a curtain or a false wall.

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