Parlor vs Living Room – What Makes Each Space Different? 

The parlor room is a grand space designed to cater to formal events of the household. Meanwhile, the living room is a space designed to house guests and households for casual gatherings. It is important to know the difference between these two in order to highlight their functions and make room for privacy and functionality. The living room is a non-negotiable space to have considering how it is a go-to place of the household for different activities done at home. On the other hand, the parlor room is for houses with excess large spaces that can be designated for events. We have evaluated both spaces according to their aesthetics, functionality, arrangement, location, and formality to further understand what makes these two different. Besides, it can be a bummer to have both and not know how they function. 

Parlor Room

Photo from Veranda

During medieval times, the parlor room was the core of monasteries. The inner sector was designed to cater to conversations and the outer sector was designed for the business of the monks. Progressing in the 18th century, the parlor room was then tagged as a place of reception signifying social status that was then carried until modern times. It is a space of entertainment for people with high standings in life to gather around within big or small occasions. The parlor room allows them to have a generous space to interact with other people within their status of living. This space symbolizes financial status because of the fine display of collectibles, decorations, furniture, flowers, and pieces of art. It is often decorated with light to neutral colors accentuated by darker hues. 

Aesthetics 

Photo from Pinterest

Considering the aesthetics of a parlor room, it is drawn to seats and conversation areas. The design feeds on details and ornaments to indicate that it is more than what the living room can offer. It may be often mistaken as the living room but it can cater to more people considering its size. Grand and sophisticated is how the space is defined for formal gatherings are held here. Compared to other spaces at home, the parlor room is fancy at all times. The decorations are extravagant considering the people who are ought to enter. The floors are not covered with wall-to-wall carpet. But, several rugs are used to cover the zones of the parlor room. 

Functionality

Photo from The Glam Pad

In terms of functionality, the parlor room is not multipurpose. It mostly houses private events with people all dressed up. Apart from entertaining and receiving guests, it can also have a sitting and dining area where they can be served meals and beverages. As early as the 19th century, it was first known as the drawing room. It is a common room used for receiving guests and conducting collaborative household activities. During the Victorian ages, it is only used on Sundays and was closed for the rest of the week. Parlor rooms are both used for parties and funerals receiving prestigious guests. 

Arrangement

Photo from Homedit

The parlor room is arranged like an open-plan layout of the living area and dining area. The space is divided according to zones making room for private and public conversations. The conversation area is filled with a couch, armchairs, side tables, and a coffee table. They are often in a U-shaped layout to make the conversation area more comfortable and collaborative. The conversation area is often adjacent to the dining area where they gather around for conversations over meals or beverages.

Location

Photo from Ibidlow

The parlor room is often located in a secluded area. It is connected to the other public places of the house but it is not as accessible considering that private gatherings are held here. In choosing the ideal location for a parlor room, it often opens to a veranda or a balcony. This allows the guests to have a breath of fresh air and is also designated for some who smoke cigarettes. Having a space with a series of windows would work best too in order to acquire more natural lighting during the day. In spite of being a public area for the guests during events, it can also house day-to-day activities of the household that requires a large area. 

Formality

Photo from Home in the World

Compared to the living room, the parlor room is more formal and organized. Considering the people that are ought to attend, everything should be spotless and maintained at all times. It is often a big room to cater to the guests which dictates that most of these rooms are found in mansions and houses with a bit extra room. Formal events are held in this area. Thus, everyone should be dressed up accordingly to greet and entertain the guests. In earlier times, the ladies and gentlemen are dressed in ball gowns and suits. 

Living Room

Photo from Wayfair

The living room is the frontline space of the house that is designed to receive guests and everyday living. In a modern home, it is tagged as a multi-purpose space the household shares to conduct activities that work beyond the bedroom. As a shared space, it is divided into zones such as personal zone, entertainment zone, and conversation zone. In some cases, they are designed into one multi-purpose space to cater to these collaborative and personal activities. The living room is ought to be warm and inviting. It is often the largest space you can find in a house or in an apartment. 

Aesthetics 

Photo from Wayfair

In terms of aesthetics, the living room mirrors the character or personality of the household. It is a reflection of their taste for furniture, color, materials, lighting, and decorations. There is no standard design but several inspirations found online are found helpful in building and designing your own. As soon as you open the front door, the living room is the first area to see. Thus, the first impression of the house’s character depends on this space. It would serve you best to design the living room according to what the household finds interesting. From artworks to photographs, these pieces will help in improving the design of the common area. 

Functionality

Photo from Wayfair

The main functions of the living room are to cater to guests and to designate a livable common space for the household. In smaller households, the living room is also the entertainment room and family room. Being able to combine all these functions in one space saves you the time and resources to build and decorate several ones. It may compromise one’s privacy but it makes a huge difference to the costs it will take. In modern homes, you will find the living room as a multi-functional area allowing the household to gather and to be entertained. 

Arrangement

Photo from Wayfair

The living room is often arranged in layouts such as the U-shaped, L-shaped, rectangular, boxed, and open-plan layouts. These help in establishing accessibility to and from the area with ease. In the living room, common are fragile decorations and fixtures. Thus, the need for spacious pathways to make way to those who are entering and exiting the area. Its arrangement is often focused on a core whether it be a fireplace or an entertainment area. The living room’s arrangement is often similar to the ones in the reception area. It encloses either a coffee table or a bench. 

Location

Photo from Wayfair

Compared to the parlor room, the location of the living room can be easily accessed from the doorstep of the house. It is the core of the house which indicates that it is the focal point of all public places such as the kitchen, dining area, and veranda. They are interconnected with one another which suggests the walkways should be without conflict considering that it is a high-traffic area. The living room is either adjacent or opposite to the dining room. It makes accessibility more effective since the living room also upholds additional seating capacity. 

Formality

Photo from Wayfair

In the modern world, the living room is an informal space. It is an area where the household gathers even without dressing up or preparing themselves. Casual gatherings often take place in the living room which suggests casual or even loungewear outfits remain acceptable. Living within the comfort of your home means you get to dress up however you want. There is no dress code or such in order to go to the living room. Unlike the parlor room, the living room is a safe space where you will feel comfortable and at ease socializing with the members of the household. 

Parlor vs Living Room

What makes a parlor room different from a living room? There may be a lot of differences but its main factor is the presence of entertainment appliances. In the modern era, it is one of the must-haves in the 21st century. It is what keeps the people entertained. Having a parlor room is a grand gesture for a regular house. It is an antiquated space whose sole purpose is to make room for special occasions. Comparing these two according to their aesthetics, functionality, arrangement, location, and formality would suggest the significance of the living room in a regular-sized house or apartment. 

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