What exactly is a den? Well what it is today and what it was may be two different things. Then a den may mean different things to different people, and whether it should be antique or chic is up to the individual as well.
The den of the past seemed to be a place where dad could find seclusion. Seclusion from what? From the family, business, or the stress of the day? Where did that idea originate? Probably on television in programs like Leave it to Beaver, or Lassie, or other family shows where the Dad went off to work while Mom stayed home to take care of the house and all the kids.
That stereotype is long gone and who knows what TV programs are even worth watching today, it seems they went the way of the den for Dad. However if you had a den would you decorate it with antiques or chic? We know what antiques are, but what exactly is chic?
Well it must be the opposite of antique so we'll just go with that.
When you find the den in your house is it the former guest room that you've seldom used? It that's the case, then it might be a good idea to redecorate with the items that would look good in a den; or possibly, a couch with a rollout bed hidden beneath. A desk would be nice, or a couple of chairs to converse with a friend.
Family pictures especially those old ones would fit in the antique den. To brighten up the den, new frilly curtains just don't seem to fit, but shutters might bring the proper atmosphere. Maybe a feminine touch would be good for Mom, but would Dad be happy there?
Regardless of your thoughts about a den, possibly it would be a good idea to decorate the room with colors that don't offend, but offer a quiet time for the entire family. Separately of course, but when one is there whether reading, writing or sleeping, the rule might be to leave them alone with the door closed without television, radio, or any other electronic or wireless gadget.
What we seem to be looking for is a place where silence is preferable. Is our world so busy that we need a den in our lives where we can decorate it with bookshelves or dark desks with writing paraphernalia? Perhaps that is what's missing in our lives. We need a den to call our own, a room when we enter it we leave the stress at the door and find respite in the silent retreat.