What’s in a name? Living Room vs Lounge Room

What’s in a name? Living Room vs Lounge Room

7 March 2024
By Alicia Jones, Principal/Stylist, Home & Jones Co.

Recently, a question posed to me was, what is the difference between a living room and a lounge room. It got me thinking, does it really matter what you call it? Here’s my take.

So what really is the difference between a lounge room and a living room, or a family room and a rumpus room? Personally, I have used the terms interchangeably without really thinking too much about the science or history behind the terms. When working in a home that has multiple ‘gathering’ spaces, I normally categorise them has either formal or informal. I might call the informal room the ‘living room’ or ‘family room’ if it forms part of an open plan kitchen/dining/living area, as so many modern homes tend to have. The more formal room I might call the ‘lounge room’, as this tends to be less frequently used and/or have the ‘good’ furniture in it.

Living Room

Traditionally, the term living room was designated to a room positioned at the front of a home, the fancy pants room that guests would see when they first arrived. Way back when, this was called the parlour.

Today, I think the living room has evolved to mean a less formal seating area within the home, especially since modern homes generally have open plans, in particular, a combined kitchen/dining/living area. This is usually the hub of the home, where everyone congregates together to cook, eat, watch tv, etc. You might even call this the ‘family room’. It’s where life is lived for the most part. If there is a separate room altogether that has an informal vibe for gathering or entertaining, I might call this the family room or rumpus room.

Lounge Room

To me, the term lounge room conjures a feeling of cozy quietness, a place to relax and wind down, or have a meaningful chat in comfort. In my home, this is where my ‘good’ furniture is, and where I gravitate to when I want to get super comfy to read or watch tv. It sits at the front of the home and has been decorated a notch above the rest of the home to give a nice first impression when entering my house. I spend more time in the combined kitchen/dining/living area at the back of the house, so it seems natural to me to call the seating area there my living room. To be completely honest though, more times than not I just say either the ‘front room’ or the ‘back room’!

The Difference?

So does it really matter whether a room is called a living room or a lounge room? I don’t think so. If I had to rank names by their level of formality, I’d put lounge room as most formal, followed by living room, family room then rumpus room. If you’re building or buying a house and looking at floor plans, I think you’re likely to see any of these terms and simply understand that they are rooms or areas intended for seating or gathering or entertaining. As homes have become larger, more ‘living’ spaces have been incorporated with new names coming to the fore, like ‘media room’. And how you use a room may differ to the next person. Someone’s media room might be someone else’s lounge room. You get the idea.

Generally, our homes have become far more relaxed than in yesteryear and, with space sometimes a premium, we will use almost any space for any function, so long as it works for our needs. Call them what you will.

My only caveat on any of this is, if you are selling, consider how you will present your home to appeal to most buyers. However you may use the various rooms in your home, showing them in a more traditional light (purpose wise) will make the most sense to most buyers, especially if how you use spaces is quite creative or unique!

Your selling agent is a great person to seek advice from in this regard. They know the market and what buyers in your area are looking for. Then, to really put your best foot forward, a property stylist can come in and provide advice on how to best showcase your home to really increase your chances of selling quicker and for more.

Do your living spaces work for you? Do you wish they looked more ‘done’ or functioned better for you? Are you selling and want the edge on the rest of the market? Home & Jones Co. provides property staging and styling services, as well as design ideas and inspiration for home improvements. Home & Jones Co. elevates your space, whatever your budget.

Alicia Jones

Article by Alicia Jones

Alicia - Principal / Stylist There’s something about property. Bricks and mortar. It is real. It is tangible. It can imbue a sense of security, both physically and financially. The…

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