Kevin McCloud talks about the perfect addition to a family home - A Snug
The way we live in our homes changes from one decade to the next as interior trends come and go. When I was an architecture student in the early Nineties, minimalism was the fashion of the day.
Then, when warehouses started to be converted into places to live in during the late Nineties, open-plan layouts became popular. Removing dividing walls between rooms is a great way to make a space feel larger and it works really well for young couples and those with children – especially when they are young and you want to keep an eye on them most of the time. However, as the kids grow up, some people decide that a separate living space or snug, where family members can get away from the hustle and bustle of the kitchen and dining room, is a must.
In the past couple of years, when I've been redesigning homes for families, a snug has been one of the main requests; it is a space where the kids can watch TV and be in their own world while mum and dad are in the kitchen cooking and chatting. Then when the kids have gone to bed, the snug is a perfect place for mum and dad to escape to for a bit of peace and quiet. The very name, snug, means that this space is often a small, cosy and intimate area, full of soft furnishings. It will usually be a separate room from the main living room, although in a smaller home or apartment the living room can easily be made to feel as warm and welcoming.
The snug is a complete contrast with the minimalist interior style of the Nineties. To create the perfect space, a deep sofa or lounge chairs are vital. For the floorcovering, choose deep-pile carpets or a beautiful rug over a timber floor to provide luxurious softness underfoot; this will also improve the acoustics in the room by helping to absorb sound. Your aim should be to make this area a relaxed, comfortable place that's an antidote to the hard surfaces of the kitchen. Treat the kids to a couple of large beanbags to chill out on – far more cosy than being crammed on the sofa together; try Fatboy (fatboy.com) or Bean Bag Bazaar (0800 988 1286; beanbagbazaar.co.uk). You could also use colour to change the mood of the space – try painting the walls in calm-but-dark hues; greens, greys or blues work well, but make sure you choose a paint colour with some depth to it. Lighting is vital, too. Choose dimmable lamps and wall lights rather than recessed spotlights in the ceiling, which can be too dazzling. I think the twentyfirst century is the time for a domestic snug.
Every home should have one.