Room Definitions:

Ever wonder what some of the room names actually mean, or what their original purposes were?  Well in case you do, we have compiled a list of the “Typical Rooms” as well as some of the “Historic Rooms”, and a few of the “Specialty Rooms”.


The rooms in this section refer to the most common rooms found in homes today.


An Entryway is a hall that is generally located at the front entrance of a house.  An Entryway often has a coat closet, and usually has linoleum or tile flooring rather than carpet, making it an easy-to-clean transition space between the outdoor and indoor areas.


A Foyer is usually a small entry area or room by the front door. Other rooms such as the Living Room, Dining Room, and Family Room typically attach to it, along with any main stairway. It was initially intended as an "airlock", separating the fireplace-heated rooms from the (colder, in winter) front entrance, where cold air infiltration made for cold drafts and low temperatures. It is commonly used for outer garment and umbrella storage for both residents and guests.


A Study is a room in a house which is used for paperwork, computer work, or reading.


A Dining Room is a room for consuming food. In modern times it is usually adjacent to the kitchen for convenience in serving.


A Living Room or Lounge is a room for relaxing and socializing. Such a room is sometimes called a Front Room when it is near the main entrance at the front of the house.


A Family Room is an informal, all-purpose room in a house similar to a Living Room. The Family Room is designed to be a place where family and guests gather for group recreation like talking, reading, watching TV, and other family activities.

·         A Family Room is located adjacent to the kitchen, and at times, flows into it with no visual breaks.

·         A Family Room often has doors leading to the back yard and specific outdoor living areas such as a deck, garden, or terrace.


A Great Room is an area within a home which combines functions of other more traditional rooms, such as the Family Room, the Living Room, and the Study.

·         Great Rooms tend to be rather large rooms, typically comprising 10% to 15% of the total square footage of the home.

·         Great Rooms often have a second story ceiling with open upstairs skywalks overlooking the great room.

·         A home with a Great Room will likely have a Living Room in lieu of a Family Room.


A Kitchen is a room or part of a room used for cooking and food preparation. 


A Dinette is a small space or alcove, often in or near the kitchen, serving as an informal dining area.


A Pantry is a room where food, provisions, dishes, or linens are stored and served in an ancillary capacity to the kitchen.


A Mud Room is a casual, generally secondary entryway intended as an area to remove and store footwear, outerwear, and wet clothing before entering the main house. As well as providing storage space, a Mud Room serves to increase the cleanliness of a house proper. They can often double as Laundry Room.  (It is sometimes referred to as a “Friends Entrance”).


A Laundry Room (also called a Utility Room) is a room where clothes are washed, dried, sorted, ironed, and folded.  Laundry Rooms may also include storage cabinets, counter-tops for folding clothes, and, space permitting, a small sewing machine.


A bathroom is a room for bathing in which contains a bathtub or a shower and optionally a toilet, a sink/hand basin/wash basin and possibly also a bidet.

·         A “Jack and Jill” bathroom is a bathroom with two doors, accessible from two bedrooms.

·         An “Ensuite” bathroom is a bathroom or shower room attached to and only accessible from a bedroom.

·         A “Shower Room” is a room that contains a shower, but no bathtub. (3/4 Bath)

·         A “Half Bath” is a bathroom which contains only a toilet and a sink basin. Also termed “Powder Room”


An Owner’s Bedroom is typically the largest of the bedrooms contained within the residence.  It usually has a private bathroom.


A Bedroom is a private room where people usually sleep for the night or relax during the day.To be considered a Bedroom the room must include a closet and an external “means of egress”.


A nursery is a bedroom within a residence or other dwelling set aside for an infant or toddler. A typical nursery would contain a crib (or similar type of bed), a table or platform for the purpose of changing diapers (also known as a changing table), as well as various items required for the care of the child. A nursery is generally designated for the smallest bedroom in the house, as a baby requires very little space until at least walking age; the premise being that the room is used almost exclusively for sleep.


An Ensuite is an Owner’s Bedroom that is connected to a dedicated bathroom.


A closet is a small space used to store things


A Bonus Room is a large room in a house which could be used as a multi-purpose area.  A Bonus Room might be used as a Family Room, Sewing or Hobby Room, Game Room, Home Cinema, Office, or Den. It is sometimes over a garage or in an attic area with partially reduced ceiling height or some other less desirable characteristic.


A Den is a comfortable, informal, usually secluded room. A den can be many different rooms depending on the appointments within the room. (Man Cave, Home Theater, Recreation Room, Family Room, Bonus Room, Study, Library, Home Cinema).


Rooms in this section where more common in homes as early as ancient Rome.  Some are still referred to in homes today.


A Vestibule is a lobby, entrance hall, or passage between the entrance and the interior of a building.


An Atrium is a large open space, often several stories high and having a glazed roof and/or large windows, often situated within a larger multistory building and often located immediately beyond the main entrance doors.


A Sunroom, Sun Parlor, Sun Porch, or Sun Lounge is a room or structure, usually constructed onto the side of a house, to allow enjoyment of the surrounding landscape while being sheltered from adverse weather conditions such as rain and wind.


A Solarium is similar to a Sunroom in that both are glass structures designed for people to enjoy the sun without being directly touched by the rays of the sun. The chief difference is that Solariums often have curved glass corners and glass roofs.


A Conservatory is a room having glass roof and walls, typically attached to a house on only one side, used as a Greenhouse or a Sunroom. 


An Orangery was a building in the grounds of fashionable residences from the 17th to the 19th centuries and given a classicizing architectural form. The Orangery was similar to a Greenhouse or Conservatory.


A Morning Room is a Sitting Room used during the daylight hours, usually attached to the kitchen.


A Drawing Room is a room in a house where visitors may be entertained. A Drawing room was a room to which the owner of the house, his wife, or a distinguished guest who was occupying one of the main apartments in the house could "withdraw" for more privacy.


A Cabinet is a private room serving as a study or retreat, usually for a man. The cabinet would be furnished with books and works of art.


A Boudoir is a lady's private Bedroom, Sitting Room or Dressing Room.


A Parlour (or parlor) is a reception room or public space. (Similar: Drawing Room, Reception Room).


A Library is a room which contains an organized collection of resources.


A Sitting Room is a room in a private house or flat used for relaxation and entertainment of guests, similar to a Living Room.  A Sitting Room can also be a small room adjacent to the Owner’s Bedroom used for private relaxation.


The Solar was a room generally situated on an upper story  designed as the family's private living and sleeping quarters. The solar was a room for their particular benefit, in which they could be alone (or sole) and away from the hustle, bustle, noise and smells (including cooking smells) of the Great Hall.  The solar was generally smaller than the Great Hall, because it was not expected to accommodate so many people, but it was a room of comfort and status, and usually included a fireplace and often decorative woodwork or tapestries/wall hangings.


A Long Gallery is long, narrow room, often with a high ceiling.  They were often located on the upper floor of the great houses of the time, and stretched across the entire frontage of the building. They served several purposes: among others, they were used for entertaining guests, for taking exercise in the form of walking when the weather was inclement, and for displaying art collections.


A Scullery is a room in a house traditionally used for washing up dishes and laundering clothes, or as an overflow Kitchen when the main kitchen is overloaded. Tasks performed in the scullery include cleaning dishes and cooking utensils (or storing them), occasional kitchen work, ironing, boiling water for cooking or bathing, and soaking and washing clothes. Sculleries contain hot and cold sinks; sometimes slop sinks, drain pipes, storage shelves, plate racks, a work table, and various "coppers" for boiling water, tubs, and buckets.


A Larder is a cool area for storing food prior to use. (Similar: Pantry, Butler’s Pantry.  (Used before refrigeration). Many Larders have small unglazed windows with the window opening covered in fine mesh. This allows free circulation of air without allowing flies to enter. Many Larders have tiled or painted walls to simplify cleaning. Older larders and especially those in larger houses have hooks in the ceiling to hang joints of meat or game. Others have insulated containers for ice, anticipating the future development of refrigerators.


A Saucery was the room in a medieval household responsible for sauces, as well as the room in which the preparation of sauces took place. It was headed by a Saucerer. The room was subordinated to the kitchen, and existed as a separate room only in larger households. It was closely connected with other rooms such as the Kitchen, Spicery and the Scullery.


A Spicery was the room in a medieval household responsible for spices, as well as the room in which the spices were kept. It was headed by a Spicerer. The room was subordinated to the kitchen or the wardrobe, and existed as a separate room only in larger households. It was closely connected with other rooms such as the Kitchen, Saucery and the Scullery


A Butler's Pantry or Serving Pantry is a utility room in a large house, primarily used to store serving items, rather than food. Traditionally, a butler's pantry was used for storage, cleaning and counting of silver.  Butler’s Pantries are usually located in transitional spaces between Kitchens and Dining Rooms, and used as staging areas for serving meals. They commonly contain counter-tops, and storage for tableware, serving pieces, table linens, candles, wine, and other dining-room articles.  More elaborate versions may include refrigerators, sinks, or dishwashers.


A Buttery was a service room in large homes in which butts, barrels or bottles of alcoholic drink were stored and from which they were served into the Great Hall. 


A Great Hall is the main room of a royal palace, nobleman's castle or a large manor house in the Middle Ages, and in the country houses of the 16th and early 17th centuries. At that time the word great simply meant big.  A typical Great Hall was a rectangular room between one and a half and three times as long as it was wide, and also higher than it was wide. It was entered through a screens passage at one end, and had windows on one of the long sides, often including a large bay window. There was often a minstrel's gallery above the screens passage. At the other end of the hall was the dais where the top table was situated.


A Smoking Room (or Smoking Lounge) is a room which is specifically provided and furnished for smoking, generally in buildings where smoking is otherwise prohibited.


An Under-croft is traditionally a cellar or storage room, often brick-lined and vaulted, and used for storage in buildings since medieval times. In modern usage, an Under-croft is generally a ground (street-level) area which is relatively open to the sides, but covered by the building above.


The rooms in this section have specific uses.


A Family Studio is a room designed for everyday tasks such as laundry or gift wrapping and the family scheduling center. 


A Utility Room is a room within a house where equipment, not used in day-to-day activities is kept. Utility refers to an item which is designed for usefulness or practical use, so in turn most of the items kept in this room have functional attributes.


A Billiard Room (also Billiards Room, or more specifically Pool Room, Snooker Room) is a recreation room, such as in a house or recreation center, with a billiards, pool or snooker table.

·         For a 7 ft (2.1 m) by 3.5 ft (1.1 m) bar/tavern-style table for pool, the space needed to enclose the table is approximately 17 ft (5.2 m) by 15.5 ft (4.7 m) (ergo, a room probably around 20 ft (6.1 m) by 18.5 ft (5.6 m) to account for furniture).

·         For an 8 ft (2.4 m) by 4 ft (1.2 m) home-market pool table, the space needed is approx. 20 ft (6.1 m) x 16 ft (4.9 m).

·         For a 9 ft (2.7 m) by 4.5 ft (1.4 m) regulation pool table, approx. 21 feet (6.4 m) by 16.5 ft (5.0 m).

·         For a 10 ft (3.0 m) by 5 ft (1.5 m) carom table, approx. 22 ft (6.7 m) by 17 ft (5.2 m); for an American snooker table of this size, 24 ft (7.3 m) by 19 ft (5.8 m) in space (to account for longer cues)

·         For a full-size 12 ft (3.7 m) by 6 ft (1.8 m) regulation snooker table, the longer cues may call for up to 26 ft (7.9 m) by 20 ft (6.1 m).



An Exercise Room is a main workout area, which primarily consists of free weights including dumbbells, barbells and exercise machines. This area often includes mirrors so that exercisers can monitor and maintain correct posture during their workout.


A Workshop may be a room or building which provides both the area and tools (or machinery) that may be required for the manufacture or repair of manufactured goods.


A wine cellar is a storage room for wine in bottles or barrels, or more rarely in carboys, amphorae or plastic containers. Factors such as temperature and humidity are maintained by a climate control systems.


A Common Room is a room used for lounging. It is generally connected to several private rooms, and may incorporate a bathroom. It is generally connected to several private rooms, and may incorporate a bathroom.


Items in this section are not room but are Architectural elements or “areas” which refer to a space.


A Wet Bar is a small bar used for mixing alcoholic beverages, which differs from a regular bar in that it, includes a sink with running water. A Wet Bar can increase the rate at which drinks are served because of the sink, which allows for glasses to be cleaned immediately. The sink may also be used for adding water to drinks.


A Nook is a small corner formed by two walls; an alcove or recess.


A Loft can be an upper story or attic in a building, directly under the roof.


A Roof Lantern is a day lighting Cupola architectural element. Architectural lanterns are atop a larger roof and provide natural light into the space or room below. In contemporary use it is an architectural skylight structure.


A Cupola is a small, most-often dome-like, structure on top of a building. Often used to provide a lookout or to admit light and air, it usually crowns a larger roof or dome.


Skylights are light transmitting fenestration forming all, or a portion of, the roof of a building space. Skylights are used to convey abundant daylight or toplighting, provide a connection to the outdoor environment to occupants, and often to help fresh outside air enter the space below.


A Dormer is a structural element of a building that protrudes from the plane of a sloping roof surface. Dormers are used, either in original construction or as later additions, to create usable space in the roof of a building by adding headroom and usually also by enabling addition of windows

·         Gable Fronted Dormer - the front of the dormer rises to a point at the ridge of the dormer roof. Also known as a dog-house dormer.

·         Hipped Roof Dormer - The roof slopes back from front of structure to a point farther back, or, a dormer with a hip roof.

·         Flat Roof Dormer - The roof of the dormer is flat.

·         Shed Dormer - A dormer whose eave line is parallel to the main roof eave line. Shed dormers can provide more attic space and head room than gable dormers, but cannot be the same pitch as the main roof and may therefore require different roof sheeting. Often used in gable-roofed homes, a shed dormer has a single-planed roof, pitched at a shallower angle than the main roof.

·         Wall Dormer - A dormer whose face is co-planar with the face of the wall below, breaking the line at the cornice of the building.

·         Eyebrow / Eyelid Dormer - A low dormer on the slope of a roof. It has no sides, the roofing being carried over it in a wavy line.  The bottom of an eyebrow dormer is flat and the top is curved.

·         Link Dormer - A large dormer that houses a chimney or joins one part of a roof to another.

·         Bonnetted Dormer - Arched roof of dormer, rounded shape when viewed from front.



A Moon Gate is a circular opening in a garden wall that acts as a pedestrian passageway, and a traditional architectural element in Chinese gardens


A Porte-Cochère is a structure at a main or secondary entrance to a building through which a horse and carriage (or motor vehicle) can pass in order for the occupants to alight under cover, protected from the weather.


A Pergola or Arbor is a garden feature forming a shaded walkway, passageway or sitting area of vertical posts or pillars that usually support cross-beams and a sturdy open lattice, often upon which woody vines are trained. As a type of gazebo, it may also be an extension of a building, or serve as protection for an open terrace or a link between pavilions.


A Veranda is a roofed opened gallery or porch. It is also described as an open pillared gallery, generally roofed, and built around a central structure. A veranda is often partly enclosed by a railing and frequently extends across the front and sides of the structure.