Living Room: From Function to Style

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  June 13, 2022
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A living room is a room in a house or apartment where people can sit and relax. It is often next to the kitchen or dining room. In some homes, the living room is also used as a bedroom.

The living room usually has a TV, sofa, chairs, and a coffee table (here’s how to make one yourself). People often decorate their living room with pictures, plants, and statues.

Let’s explore the evolution of the living room.

What is a living room

What’s the Deal with Living Rooms?

A living room, also known as a lounge room, sitting room, or drawing room, is a space in a residential home where people spend time relaxing and socializing. It’s usually located near the main entrance of the house and is often the first room guests see when they enter. In some cultures, it’s also called a front room.

The Evolution of Living Rooms

Living rooms have come a long way since their early 20th-century origins as a formal offshoot of the dining room. Today, they’re distinguished from other rooms in the house by their focus on relaxation and entertainment. Here are some ways living rooms have evolved over time:

  • In the early 20th century, living rooms were often used for formal entertaining and were decorated with expensive furniture and artwork.
  • In the mid-20th century, living rooms became more casual and were often used for watching TV and spending time with family.
  • Today, living rooms are still a place for relaxation and socializing, but they’re also often used for work and other activities.

The Difference Between Living Rooms and Other Rooms

Living rooms are often confused with other rooms in the house, like sitting rooms and lounges. Here’s how they differ:

  • Sitting rooms: Sitting rooms are similar to living rooms, but they’re usually smaller and more formal. They’re often used for entertaining guests and are less focused on relaxation.
  • Lounges: Lounges are similar to living rooms, but they’re often found in public spaces like hotels and airports.
  • Bedrooms: Bedrooms are designed for sleeping and are usually not used for socializing or entertaining guests.
  • Kitchens: Kitchens are designed for cooking and eating, not relaxing and socializing.

Living Rooms in Different Languages

Living rooms are called different things in different languages. Here are some examples:

  • Vietnamese: phòng khách
  • Cantonese: 客廳 (hok6 teng1)
  • Mandarin: 客厅 (kè tīng)
  • Chinese: 起居室 (qǐ jū shì)

The Evolution of the Modern Living Room: A Journey Through Time

In the late 17th century, the French King Louis XIV commissioned the reconstruction of the Palace of Versailles. This marked the beginning of the architectural revolution that would change the way people lived in their homes. The grand appartments, lavishly decorated with bold marble and bronze, were identified with classicism and formalism. The rooms consisted of a ground floor and a mezzanine level, with the living room being a specific space for entertaining guests.

The Industrial Revolution: The Rise of the Modern Living Room

The 19th century saw the rise of the industrial society, which allowed for the mass production of furniture and the spread of new design ideas. The introduction of the screen and the sofa allowed for a new level of comfort in the living room. The process of making furniture became more efficient, and the price of furniture decreased, making it more accessible to people.

The 20th Century: The Best of Both Worlds

The 20th century saw designers and architects continuously studying the space and how to fit the needs of people. The living room became a space for both entertaining and relaxation. The modern living room included features such as fresh paint, new flooring, and comfortable furniture. The influence of the industrial era played a big role in the design of the modern living room.

The Present Day: The Living Room of Today

Today, the living room is usually a small space in the house where people come together to read, play games, or watch TV. The living room has completely evolved from its original meaning, and people now associate it with comfort and relaxation. The modern living room is a space where people can add their own personal touch and feel at home.

Painting Your Living Room: A Bevy of Color Choices

When it comes to painting your living room, neutral shades are always a safe bet. Gray and beige are two popular choices for living room walls. These colors create a peaceful and soothing impact on the mood of the room. They also serve as a great backdrop for any décor or furniture you may have in the space.

  • Gray is a versatile color that can be combined with a variety of other colors to create a sophisticated and elegant look.
  • Beige, on the other hand, echoes the charm of life and can be paired with greens and blues to create a harmonious and peaceful atmosphere.

Green: Bringing Life to Your Living Room

Green is a popular color choice for living rooms as it brings life and energy to the space. It is a great option for those who want to experiment with color without going too bold.

  • Lighter shades of green can create a soothing and calming effect, while darker shades can add drama and depth to the room.
  • Green also pairs well with other neutrals like beige and gray, as well as with pops of color like pink or yellow.

Color Combinations: Neutrals and Beyond

If you’re feeling bold, consider experimenting with color combinations in your living room.

  • A combination of gray and green can create a sophisticated and calming atmosphere.
  • Beige and pink can add a touch of warmth and femininity to the space.
  • Blue and green can create a coastal vibe, while yellow and gray can add a pop of energy and excitement.

Hiring a Painter

If you’re not confident in your painting skills, consider hiring a professional painter. They can help you choose the right colors and finishes for your living room walls.

  • A professional painter can also help you create a cohesive look throughout your home by using similar colors and finishes in other rooms.
  • They can also offer insights into the latest trends and techniques for painting living room walls.

Choosing the Right Flooring for Your Living Room

When it comes to choosing the right flooring for your living room, there are several factors to consider, including:

  • Budget: How much money are you willing to spend on your living room flooring?
  • Style: What is the overall design and style of your living room?
  • Maintenance: How easy is it to clean and maintain the flooring?
  • Traffic: How much foot traffic does your living room get on a daily basis?
  • Durability: How long do you want the flooring to last?
  • Coziness: Do you want the flooring to feel warm and cozy underfoot?
  • Uses: Will your living room be used for playing, work, or hosting guests?

Types of Flooring

There are a wide variety of flooring options available for your living room, each with their own pros and cons. Some popular living room flooring types include:

  • Hardwood: A classic and durable choice that can increase the value of your home. However, it can be expensive and may require regular maintenance.
  • Carpet: A cozy and low-cost option that can help absorb sound and protect against falls. However, it can be difficult to clean and may not be conducive to people with allergies.
  • Tile: A modern and easy-to-clean option that comes in a wide range of finishes and styles. However, it can be cold and hard underfoot.
  • Concrete: An alternative and contemporary choice that is durable and easy to maintain. However, it may not be the most comfortable option for sitting or playing on.
  • Laminate: A low-cost and easy-to-install option that can mimic the look of hardwood or tile. However, it may not be as durable as other options and can be difficult to repair if damaged.

Cleaning and Maintenance

No matter what type of flooring you choose for your living room, it’s important to keep it clean and well-maintained. Here are some tips for regular cleaning and maintenance:

  • Vacuum or sweep regularly to remove dirt and debris.
  • Use a damp mop or cloth to clean spills and stains immediately.
  • Protect high-traffic areas with rugs or mats.
  • Use products and methods recommended by the flooring manufacturer.
  • Consider hiring a professional contractor for deep cleaning or repairs.

Family Room vs. Living Room: What You Need to Know

When it comes to designing and creating a space in your home, understanding the difference between a family room and a living room is a major decision. While the two rooms may seem similar, they serve different functions and have different aesthetics and constructions. Here are some key differences to consider:

  • Function: Family rooms are designed for everyday use and are family-friendly, accessible, and comfortable. Living rooms, on the other hand, are typically used for formal entertaining or special occasions.
  • Uses: Family rooms are dedicated spaces for fun and relaxation, such as playing games, watching TV, or tuning into your favorite sports team. Living rooms, on the other hand, are designed to be a place to receive guests and focus on formal entertaining.
  • Space: Family rooms are often located near the kitchen and have an open floor plan, while living rooms are usually located near the front of the house and are more singular in their purpose.
  • Décor: Family rooms tend to have a more casual and relaxed feel, while living rooms are often more formal and elegant in their décor.

Expert Insights

According to Kristine Gill, a realtor with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, newer homes tend to have both a family room and a living room, while older homes may only have one or the other. Andrew Pasquella, an international designer, says that the way people use these spaces has changed over time. “Living rooms used to be a place where people would sit and talk, but now they’re more focused on watching TV,” he explains.

Making the Best Decision for Your Home

When it comes to deciding whether to have a family room or a living room, it’s important to consider your lifestyle and how you want to use the space. Here are some tips to help you make the best decision:

  • Check the layout of your home and see if there’s a dedicated space that could serve as a family room or living room.
  • Think about how often you entertain guests and whether you need a formal space for that purpose.
  • Consider your family’s needs and how you want to use the space on a daily basis.
  • Focus on creating a comfortable and functional space that fits your personal style and finish with décor that suits your taste.

At the end of the day, whether you choose a family room or a living room, the most important thing is that you create a space that you love and that fits your lifestyle.


So, that’s what a living room is. A room in a house where people relax and socialize. It’s come a long way from being just a place for entertaining guests to being a place for relaxing and spending time with the family. So, don’t be afraid to make your living room your own with some personal touches. You’ll soon be enjoying your new space!

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.