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Even before the coronavirus hit, pajama lounges were a thing

Home Improvement Style
Sarah-Henly-PJ-Lounge-Freihofer
The playful limited edition print by Hazel & Pine was the inspiration for this pajama lounge outside a nursery that Sarah Henley designed for Boston clients who moved to Memphis. “It’s a cute nod to their South American travels that also appealed to their toddler, who loves animals.” A low-slung sofa is a comfy spot for adults, and the woven abaca storage ottoman hides toys. Freihofer Photography

“Less is more in the bedroom,” said designer Patrick Planeta. It used to be about designing pretty, tranquil spaces. Now, master bedrooms are minimalist sleeping chambers. Blackout shades are de rigeur and televisions have been banished. “I hear a lot about people’s sleep issues,” Planeta said. “They need help creating calm environments.”

If couples aren’t lazing in bed drinking coffee with the Sunday paper, and toddlers aren’t climbing between weary parents to tune into Saturday morning cartoons, then where are these essential activities taking place? In the pajama lounge. 

We asked interior design experts about the trend.

Fiona Leonard has designed three pajama lounges. “Basically, they are private living spaces where a couple or family can gather before bed or relax in the morning,” Leonard said. “It’s a space to wind down that isn’t the bedroom.” 

The keyword here is “private.” While a family room is in the public part of the house, a pajama lounge is located out of the fray close to the bedrooms.  A pajama lounge is often found at the top of a landing, but can also be part of the master suite, as a separate sitting room or even nestled into a closet. 

Privacy is sometimes a motivator. Or insomnia. For a couple who often hosts multiple generations at their Seaport condo, Planeta designed a floating wall with pocket doors and a glass transom to separate the sleeping area from the sitting area in the master suite. “It allows them to wake up slowly and have coffee before they’re ready to socialize, or if one of them can’t sleep, crawl to the sofa,” he explained. 

For others, it offers a place for one half of a couple to read or work nearby without disturbing his or her partner. Nina Farmer reworked the master bedroom level of a Beacon Hill town house to include a nook where the husband could cozy up to watch television, since the wife didn’t want one in the bedroom. “It was a nice compromise,” Farmer said. 

Families often use pajama lounges as transitional spaces. Robin Pelissier turned an unused area at the top of the stairs in a South Shore home into a spot where her clients’ three kids read and play board games after the TV is turned off for the night. Kelly Rogers’ sons do puzzles or build with Legos before bed or in the morning in the alcove on the second floor of their 1896 Colonial Revival in Newton. Michelle Freibaum describes the sitting room outside the master in her Newton home as the family’s downtime room. “The kids drag in their blankets, stuffed animals, and Kindles,” she said. “This room is for snuggling; there’s no jumping around.”

Sarah Henley designed a pajama lounge for a couple with a toddler in an open outside the nursery. “Covid has changed the conversations about design,” Henley says. “People are asking for playspaces on every floor so they can work and watch their kids at the same time.”

Check out these  inspiring pajama lounges:

Robin-Pelissier-PJ-Lounges-Michael-Lee
For the pajama lounge in a home near the water for a family of five, Robin Pelissier went New England nautical. She said, “It’s friendly enough for the kids, but handsome enough for the whole family to use.” —Michael J. Lee
Patrick-Planeta-PJ-Lounge-McHugh
This adults-only pajama lounge by Patrick Planeta offers a refuge for the owners when the condo is bustling with guests, and also lets one half of the couple read or watch television while the other sleeps. “Pocket doors and black-out drapery in both rooms provide light and sound control,” Planeta said. “Just a bit of light streams through the glass over the partition.” The abstract painting “Rust Never Sleeps” by Barbara Takenaga is a burst of energy in this neutral space, which features silk rugs from Stark, a sinuous custom sofa, and a curvaceous chair by Poliform from Showroom. —Joshua McHugh
Nina-Farmer-PJ-Lounge-Eric-Roth
Nina Farmer custom fit this television alcove off the master closet with a deep loveseat and a perforated metal table by Kelly Wearstler. —Eric Roth
Kelly-Rogers-PJ-Lounge-Roth
Interior designer Kelly Rogers created a pajama lounge in a 70-square-foot alcove on the second floor of her historic Newton home using dark paint (Benjamin Moore’s “Townsend Harbor Brown”) to give it room-like definition and a warm, cozy feel. She said, “It may look formal, but it’s quite relaxed and tailored toward activities with the kids. I tried to make it as room-like and inviting as possible.” —Eric Roth
Fiona-Leonard-PJ-Lounge-McCulloh
Fiona Leonard used a photo of the ocean as the starting point for this space outside the master bedroom of a home in Connecticut. Throw pillows in Waterpolo fabric by Jeffrey Alan Marks for Kravet continue the sea-inspired scheme. Leonard said the essentials for creating a pajama lounge include comfortable seating, a big TV, cozy blankets and pillows, and storage for games. —Davidson McCulloh
Elizabeth-Benedict-PJ-Lounge-Michael-Lee
Elizabeth Benedict transformed the sitting room outside Michelle Freibaum’s master bedroom into a den for snuggling by painting it dark. “The room wasn’t cozy enough with the existing pale gray walls, so we enveloped it in a custom shade of deep blue with purple undertones,” she said. Pauline Curtiss of Patina Designs added lilac and distressed gold paint for contrast. Freibaum, who recently launched her own interiors firm called Embellish Design, added a big ottoman in front of the sofa to make it more “lounge-y,” since they were all fighting over the corner seat. She said, “I’ve never heard the term ‘pajama lounge’ before, but I’m going to call it that from now on.” —Michael J. Lee
Amy-Dutton-PJ-Lounge
Sofas are tucked under the eaves on the second floor of designer Amy Dutton’s Portsmouth, N.H., bungalow. “The kids watch TV up there, and I don’t hear them or see them,” she said. “We renovated 10 years ago knowing that space would be perfect for exactly that.” —Amy Dutton
Beige-Bleu-PJ-Lounge-Tamara-Flanagan
The owners of this Westwood home asked Morgan Mackintosh and Nicole Noonan of Beige & Bleu to make the extra square footage in their master bedroom into a comfortable area for hanging out. The wife used it to nurse their newborn at night, and envisions it being used for storytime at night as he gets older. She said, “We had a lot of people coming and going in those early months, so it was nice to have a more private living space when we needed it.” —Tamara Flangagan

Marni Elyse Katz blogs about design at StyleCarrot.com. Subscribe to the Globe’s free real estate newsletter — our weekly digest on buying, selling, and design — at pages.email.bostonglobe.com/AddressSignUp. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @globehomes.