Great Room vs Living Room – What is the Difference Between the Two? 

The great room is tagged as an open and spacious area used for the household’s expense of relaxation, entertainment, and recreation. Meanwhile, a living room is defined as a formal space that is used to receive and cater to guests. It may not be easy to tell the difference because of its similarities when it comes to functions but identifying which is which will help you establish the limitations of each space. To provide a better view of how each space works, we will evaluate each according to its size, function, design, location, and benefits. 

Great Room

Photo from HomeSelfe

A great room is often found in mansions and even grand houses. It is designed to be an open space within the house working with high ceilings and natural lighting. This extravagant space is for casual use of the household. They find comfort in watching television, conversing with the other members of the family, or conducting any other activities that tap the comfort of the users. 

What matters the most in this space is to designate a room for relaxation, entertainment, and recreation allowing the household to bond and collaborate with one another. Below is an evaluation of the great room according to size, function, design, location, and benefits. This way, you have the opportunity to weigh whether or not you need one for your house. 


Photo from HGTV Photo Library

The name alone would tell how big the great room is. They are larger and more spacious than a living room. The size of the great room depends on the size of a house. But, it takes a lot of space greater than the other public spaces at home. On average, the great room takes up approximately 10% of the total area of the house. It is the size that makes the great room more meaningful for family and friends to enjoy the company of each other. It would not be a great room if the size is small and limited.


Photo from Houzz

Great rooms are often designed in open floor plans. Since it works for everyday use, it is a casual space that houses a variety of activities. It allows the household and guests to be more collaborative. Great rooms allow them to bond with one another. It functions as a living room, family room, and entertainment room. The function of the great room is mostly beneficial for the household. It allows them to feel comfortable working on different activities that can be done beyond their bedroom. 


Since the great room is an open plan layout, they are often located next to the living room. It is the core of the house interconnected with the other spaces of the house such as the veranda, dining room, kitchen, and powder room. As a public area, the objective is to make it as accessible as possible. It would be efficient to locate the great room in the middle of the house and adjacent to the living room. This will help in easily identifying which is the space for public use and which is meant for intimate and private events. 


To help you decide between having a great room and a living room, we have rounded up a list of benefits for the great room. It is important to weigh in the advantages of both to further establish and identify which between the two is what you need. In some cases, if you can manage to have both. 

Sustainable Features

Because of the openness of the space and the existence of high ceilings, it has the ability to acquire natural lighting and alleviate the heat from the sun. Energy efficiency is highly recommended, especially if you are running a big house. Apart from the natural lighting, a space so open for the great room allows minimal use of air-conditioning units and even electric fans because being open and spacious keeps it light and airy. 

Multi-Functional Character

Having a great room means the household has a space they can be productive and relaxed at. The arrangement and furniture may be similar to the ones of a living room but it is a casual space where they can watch television, have coffee, listen to music, play games, and do other collaborative and personal activities. The great room makes these activities worth the while to spend time within the comfort of your home. 

Increased Surveillance 

If you have kids around and still have to do the chores, having a great room will allow you to pay attention to them while being in the other room. From one spot to another, you can see them hanging around in the great room. This is one of the perks of being in an open-space layout. It makes it easier to work around the spaces with increased surveillance. 

Living Room

Photo from Wayfair

Traditionally, a living room is tagged as a formal space at home functioning to entertain guests. It is designed to be the frontline of the household considering how it is the first thing that you see once you step foot in the foyer. Compared to the great room, the living room is rather formal because of all the expensive decorations and furniture within the space. The living room mostly houses small gatherings in prestigious clothes and renowned people. 

In the old days, the living room is designed to house special occasions and not for everyday use. They have this space called the drawing room or sitting room where they can work on their day-to-day activities. It is only used for the benefit and comfort of the household. Meanwhile, in today’s generation, it is a casual multi-functional space used for both the benefit of the household as well as their guests. 


Photo from Wayfair

In the modern world, the living room is the largest space you can think of in a house. As a public space, it caters to more activities that allow the household and guests to interact with one another. Compared to the great room, the size of the living room is not as large. It is just big enough for the benefit of the household. The average size of a living room is 350 square feet. For the dimensions, the standard ones are 18 by 20 feet. In a small home, it can take up to 15% of the total space. Meanwhile, in larger homes, it only takes 9 to 10% of the space. 


Photo from Wayfair

In the traditional world, the living room is designed for formal gatherings. They have parties, business meetings, and even intimate conversations. It is a grand gesture amongst the guests to be entertained in this space making them feel comfortable and welcome to be in the household. 

On the other hand, modern living rooms are designed for casual activities. These days, they are ought to be multifunctional. Whether it be in big or small living rooms, they work for a variety of entertaining and productive activities. In some cases, it can also be a space for television dinners and a casual cup of coffee with family or friends. 


Photo from Wayfair

The location of the living room is the core of the entire household. As soon as you set foot in the foyer of the house, you can already see the living room. In the traditional world, it is often located next to the reception of the house. It is an intimate space where they can have serious and private conversations requiring closed doors. In the modern world, the location of the living room is adjacent to the dining room, kitchen, or powder room. 


Photo from Wayfair

We have rounded up a list of benefits of having a living room. It is important to weigh in the advantages of both to further establish and identify which between the two is what you need. In some cases, if you can manage to have both. 

Multi-Functional Feature

In the modern world, living rooms are a combined entertainment room, family room, and sitting room. It makes the most out of the entirety of the house. This is ideal, especially for apartments and houses that are limited in space. It is all about how all elements within the living room are arranged and designed. It is up to you on how to make the space feel more like home instead of being a multi-purpose room. 

Private Space

Compared to the great room, the living room is rather private. It is perfect if you want to have a space you want to relax and lounge for quite some time. Even though it is for the benefit of the entire household, it can also be used for some personal time for reading, writing, or some quiet time alone. 

Comfortable Ambiance

The living room is designed according to the tastes and preferences of the owner. This explains how you are living within your comfort zone. It is important to make the room feel cozy and welcoming, especially if you have friends over. From the decorations to furniture, design the space according to what you feel comfortable being surrounded with.