Forget stuffy boys’ clubs, these are modern-day iterations.
Historically, cigar rooms have a stuffy reputation—both literally and figuratively. The image is of a place where distinguished gents retired with each other for a smoke and conversation after a meal. The space was decidedly masculine—mostly because it served as an all-boys club—so the look and feel tended to be dark and leathered.
But today there are no rules—and not just in the design, which can really be anything from old world to industrial.
The function of the space can also be multi-purposed, doubling as an entertaining or bar area. For ways to think about form and function, we turned to the pros. Take your cue from the following tips for a custom space.
Go for a Unique Look and Feel
“Textured wallpaper that mimics exotic skins–such as stingray–make the perfect backdrop for a moody, dramatic space. For a second home for a bachelor, we used low-slung, over-scaled black leather chairs with simplistic lines to anchor a dramatic piece of custom artwork. A custom rug with outlining dots made from the same hues as the artwork almost created the feeling that the piece was actually painted in the space. The final result reflected a masculine sensibility, but with a boldness and sensuality that appeals to both sexes.
“Look to oversized and low design profiles for sectionals and chairs where groups can lounge and relax. We see this lounge-inspired look has gained in popularity over the more old-school library-inspired aesthetic that was once the go-to.
“I typically like to use textural wall coverings (think leather panels) and always have a buttery suede or hide in the mix. I also include sculptural and organic elements. For example, in a recent home, we used organic wood pieces as art, which instantly transformed boring white walls into wow moments.
“Make accessories important. Create special collections to show off memorabilia or collected objects as a dramatic focal point rather than scattering them throughout. Go for a look that’s atypical. While bold or deep colors might not be in the common areas of a living space, they’ll be enjoyed in a temporary escape.
— Anna Ruby, design director at Twin Dolphin in Los Cabos, Mexico
Think About the Logistics
“In terms of where to put this room in your home, there are no rules here, but I prefer the main floor (as opposed to the basement) and a room with windows, as it establishes it as a primary space. There isno limit to the look and feel. I tend to favor a dramatic moody room with deeper colors and some sense of tradition.
“The best ventilation will come from a separate air-handling system. This allows new air to be brought into the room and the old air to be forced out. It will keep the smoke from filtering back into your home system and typically costs about $5,000. [You can also] consider a table-top model.
“If your ventilation system is top notch, there are fewer limitations with regard to materials. If not, we try to use less odor-absorbent materials, such as vinyl wallpaper and wood or tile floors instead of carpet. There’s nothing wrong with an area rug that can be taken out and refreshed from time to time. Leather is my preferred upholstery in this setting.
“Use overhead hi-hats or ceiling fixtures, as well as wall sconces and lamps for the ultimate warm cigar lounge feel. And put all lighting on dimmer switches.
“I love to use perfectly scaled club chairs or smoking chairs, as they were called back in the day. Pair them with a midsize or petite chesterfield loveseat. Layout is determined most often by the architecture of the room. If you have control over that, lay out the furniture so seating faces other seating, not just a TV or fireplace. This allows for conversation and eye contact.”
— Joe Berkowitz, founder and designer at JAB Design Group in Philadelphia
Make Sure You Keep Ease of Cleaning in Mind
“When designing and sourcing for an in-home cigar room, it’s important to look toward fabrics that are not only flame retardant, but are also easy to clean, so that any smoke residue doesn’t find a permanent home in the space. There are some really beautiful leather fabrics from Crypton that would both look and function beautifully in an in-home cigar room. Much like choosing fabrics that can be easy to clean, it’s also important to keep cleanliness and performance in mind when looking at wall and flooring options.
“And obviously, ventilation is key in spaces like these. Ceiling fans are also a must, and an air purifier would be really nice to have in this kind of room as well.
“With intimate rooms like this, you can incorporate a variety of light sources. In my opinion, adding dimmer switches to lighting fixtures can enhance the ambiance of the space with dimmed light.”
— Nancy Charbonneau, principal designer of Charbonneau Interiors, based in The Woodlands, Texas