Most people don’t realize that there are different types of living spaces and living areas in a house.
Living rooms, family rooms, den, bedrooms and kitchens all have the same purpose but serve very specific functions. Knowing which space is right for you can make your home more functional and comfortable without breaking the bank.
Here’s an in-depth breakdown on what each type of living area is used for so you can decide which one is best for your needs.
1. Formal Living Room
This is the classic living room – used for formal entertaining.
Typically off the foyer on one side of the house, it often features bay windows or French doors that open to a porch or patio.
The living room itself will have three pieces of furniture decorating it: a sofa, an armchair and perhaps a coffee table. Sometimes there might be an additional chair near the fireplace if there’s room for it near the sofa.
The formal living room can be quite small compared to larger family rooms but serves its purpose as the space people see when entering your home through its grand entranceway.
A formal living room can also double as a home office with occasional use by guests and daily use by – we know someone who has their treadmill in here.
2. Family Room
This is the core of the house – used for everyday living and family activities such as watching TV, reading, music practice and games.
It’s informal yet practical – it usually has one to three pieces of furniture: a sofa, armchair and perhaps a coffee table or ottoman. Sometimes there might be an additional chair near the fireplace if there’s room for it near the sofa.
Since this space is often right off the kitchen, you can bet that most people spend their time here at night – eating dinner and unwinding with some TV before going to bed. That said, many families also like to eat breakfast in front of the TV (or on their laptops) because they don’t want to disturb the rest of the family.
To avoid looking like a TV junkie, try placing other items in this area, such as bookcases filled with books and magazines. Basically, anything that shows you do more than just watch TV is great for this space.
3. Great Room
This room can be used to describe two spaces: either one large open space or many smaller rooms all connected to one another by high arches.
The first type of great room has no walls between itself and other common areas – it’s essentially an open floor plan. The second type of great room typically has thin but decorative arches where perhaps there was once a wall – these thin arches allow for visual connectivity sightlines throughout the house without compromising privacy.
Formal living rooms often double as home libraries because of the high-bookcases that adorn their walls, but these two spaces are not always interchangeable.
When looking at homes you want to live in or through your realtor, look for a house with multiple doorways and arches so you can be sure it’s a great room. If the use is unclear, ask what type of space it is – open concept or great room?
4. Home Library
A place where books are dedicated decor elements and items such as bookends, lamps, and comfortable seating encourages people to settle down for an afternoon read. This space usually has a combination of shelves and cabinets filled with books along one wall while other common areas have built-in bookshelves, usually opposite windows or doors.
Home libraries are great spaces that can be either small or large – the size of the room doesn’t matter that much, what matters is how many books you have and if they’re stacked on shelves or cabinets (open shelving is best).
A space where you can feel like you’re outside without actually being so. Think of it as an extension of your indoor family room with all the same furniture plus some additional accents such as potted plants and ceiling fans to give it a genuine outdoor feel.
Sunrooms come in both true glass enclosures and screens which allow for natural ventilation but still protect from pesky mosquitoes too. This means that if there’s no AC, they’ll stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
There’s a direct connection between charm and character – they’re related concepts even though one is positive and the other negative.
6. Home Bar
A great place to entertain with built-in cabinets or a dedicated area for all your favorite alcoholic items such as bottles, glasses, and trays. This is also a space where most people keep their top-shelf liquor because it’s usually out of view from any visitors who might be coming over.
In terms of size, this can range from very small (a cabinet or two) to large with custom shelving, glass refrigerator doors and extra counter space for more than just mixing drinks. An ideal location is against an exterior wall so that it’s easy to carry drinks out to the pool area for guests.
7. Game Room
It doesn’t necessarily have to be designed for this purpose alone, but you’ll want some sort of dedicated space in your house where you can play pool, darts or any number of other games. Pool tables are traditional and expected so don’t feel like you need one unless there’s room. A ping pong table is an up-and-coming substitute though not yet socially acceptable in all circles. This type of game room usually has very limited seating because most players stand while they play.
8. Man Cave (or Lair)
A personal retreat complete with TVs, gaming systems, great lighting and comfy furniture; essentially a man cave is a more personalized den designed solely with men in mind. As for location, this space can be located on the ground floor or up in the attic depending on its purpose.
A man cave has to have some sort of entertainment system – whether it’s a massive TV with all the satellite channels imaginable plus surround sound stereo, or nothing but an empty room with comfy couches and chairs. Either way, it’s important that this space fulfill your every comfort need…it’s your own personal retreat.
9. Craft Room
A place where you can store all your crafting supplies including fabric, stuffing materials, yarns, and anything else needed for hobbies such as scrapbooking, painting/drawing, or knitting/sewing. This type of space has built-in work tables and sometimes cabinets, but there’s usually a lot of open wall space for hanging up tools and projects in progress.
This type of craft room is best designed to be efficient and fully stocked at all times so that projects can come to life without much effort.
10. Home Theater
A dedicated area where the walls are covered with cinema-themed posters while surround sound speakers line the room giving it a true theater feel from floor to ceiling. This type of space is sometimes smaller because many home theaters also double as family rooms. In other words, you’ll need to find an alternative way to watch your favorite TV shows when people want to watch them too…spend some time brainstorm ways around this design obstacle otherwise you’ll have to build a second room just for family television viewing.
11. Wine Cellar
A must-have for any beer aficionado, this cellar is designed to keep your favorite alcoholic beverages cool and ready for consumption. Some wine cellars are built large enough to house an entire refrigerator or another type of unit which can be padlocked so that kids and mischievous guests don’t get into the goods.
12. Home Office Space
An area where you can work from home including a desk with ample lighting and storage space for all your supplies. This room is usually by far the coolest in any house because unless it’s very small, most people want their office away from the living spaces…and thus out of sight too.
13. Rec Room
A nice option if you have the room is to incorporate all or some of these spaces into one large area that can be used for many purposes. A home theater is great in this type of space because it’s almost like having another family room…just with way more cool stuff.
14. Open Concept Design Space
This type of space takes up an entire floor; usually the basement (or ground floor) but sometimes even two floors. The rooms are designed as separate spaces which lead off a central hub where entertainment centers and other types of furniture groupings can be set up according to your needs.
*Note: This design layout only works if there are multiple floors/levels; otherwise you’ll spend more time back and forth than using all the different rooms.
This is a room that’s usually located right beside the front door so it can be used to store shoes and other outdoor-type supplies. Unfortunately, most homes don’t do this and end up with too small closets or not enough room in the mudroom (entryway) for this purpose.
16. Reading Room
A space where you can curl up in a comfy chair and enjoy your favorite book; sometimes called an adult library because of its tranquil atmosphere. Lots of windows are needed for natural lighting but if you’re concerned about privacy, you could always cover them with curtains or blinds during the day…just make sure they in plenty of light when open.
17. Home Gym
An area where you can work out and stay fit. A treadmill, elliptical trainer, and an assortment of weight equipment usually line the walls along with mirrors for self-observation and built-in speakers so your favorite exercise music motivates you throughout your workout session.
*Note: Most of these home gyms are small since they’re located in homes that don’t have a lot of extra space or especially ones on the upper levels; if this is the case, make sure there’s enough ceiling height to rig up proper lighting as well as storage options…and leave some open wall space too.
18. Finished Basement
A special type of basement renovation includes carpeting and drywall (usually new paint). Some basements need to be completely finished for a multitude of reasons including making them habitable areas in case of an emergency. This is the most expensive type of basement renovation so you’ll need a good amount of space and budget.
This very useful room is located near the front door; sometimes called a mudroom because you can keep your dirty shoes here (after taking them off) which prevents other parts of the house from getting messy or tracked up…it’s basically like having another hallway, only smaller and with hooks and cubbies for keeping supplies close at hand (in other words, it’s perfect for small spaces.). *Note: If you don’t have enough room for this area, make sure to create some space for just a bench or shoe rack near the front door so you don’t track dirt through your home.
20. Kids Play Rooms
This room is where children play but since it’s usually located on the main floor, parents can keep an eye out to make sure no one gets hurt. Ideal playroom design includes carpeting (to muffle noise), lots of natural lighting and insulation between floors to reduce sound transfer. Also, if you live in a two-story house, be sure there are no obstructions above this space…you wouldn’t want any accidents caused by falling shelves or furniture, now would you?.