Men's Den Redesign

Designer Candice Olson creates the ultimate men's den for a father and his two sons.


This space needed a little sprucing up so the family can relax and entertain others comfortably.

Before: Empty Living Space

Neil is one busy guy with two demanding "jobs." He has a successful career in the music industry, where he plays guitar and piano, writes and produces, and is called the "man-of-a-thousand-voices" for his ability to sing every musical style. He is also a devoted dad who is raising his two sons, Josh and Tom. They all love to camp, fish and basically do anything in the great outdoors together. However, when indoors at home, they just didn't have a space in which they could all assemble to play music, watch TV or just chill out.

Neil had an unused basement that was dark, dingy and used only for storage. He really wanted to turn this space into a movie/music/video-game haven for his two boys. So I dug deep to channel my "inner guy" and got set to give Neil, Josh and Tom the ultimate den for men.

The house was relatively new and the room was in good shape, so I didn't have to do any structural work. This space just needed a major spruce-up. I decided to take the family's love of nature and use this as my inspiration for all of the colors, fabrics and finishes.

After: Manly Den



By combining rich colors, a movie and snack zone, comfortable furniture and one wilderness-inspired mural, this former storage room became the ultimate den for men (and boys).

I wanted the room to feel both peaceful and rugged, so I chose different shades of gray for the walls and fabrics, mixed in cool blue and butterscotch accents, and selected cabinetry in a rich, dark wood.

Once the theme for the room was set, it was time to get busy installing the masculine necessities. I created a whole wall of custom-built cabinetry in which I put a 60-inch television and a stereo system for movie watching. Along this wall I also installed a snack center consisting of a beverage refrigerator and built-in countertop. The wall also has some upholstered seating in case the guys decide to use the room for something other than watching flicks.

For the ultimate in entertainment seating, I installed two chaise longues and two motorized recliners in a gray flannel material. With just the push of a button, Neil and the boys will be able to sit back, put up their feet and enjoy a movie.

I decided the room really needed a focal point, so I created a wilderness mural on a small built-out wall. This mural is an enlarged copy of an original piece of art that depicts the great outdoors and adds to the calm tone of the room. Beside this mural I added a butterscotch leather chair where Neil can relax and get some inspiration for his music.

To lighten and brighten this dark room, I installed puck lighting into the wall shelving and the cabinetry by the television. I also hung some simple pendant fixtures over the seating area and put up a halogen track-light system in front of the tiny basement window. To give this window the illusion of size, I created a treatment of gauzy, misty drapes, flanked by two dummy panels of gray fabric that have a birch bark look and feel.

After adding a few accents and knickknacks, this room was complete. By combining rich colors, a movie and snack zone, comfortable furniture and one wilderness-inspired mural, this former storage room became the ultimate den for men (and boys).

(Interior decorator Candice Olson is host of Home & Garden Television's Divine Design. Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service.)

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