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headsupheelsdown
Dec. 26, 2010, 11:04 AM
There was a great debate at hubby's workplace last week about the term "Front Room". A couple of coworkers of his who are not from Chicagoland were talking about their Chicagoland in-laws calling the living room the "front room". Is this just a Chicago thing? It was always the "front room" for us, because in the bungalows, the living room IS the front room.

wendy
Dec. 26, 2010, 11:16 AM
where I live, there is a "front room" and ALSO a "living room" where we spend most of our time.

headsupheelsdown
Dec. 26, 2010, 11:30 AM
Oh yeah? Is the front room where you are also a couch and t.v. type room or more formal? Is what you call a living room what we would call a family room (more casual, tv in there)? Interesting!

In most of the bungalows, the front room was frequently the only room... unless someone put a family room/rec room in the basement...

laskiblue
Dec. 26, 2010, 11:35 AM
I grew up in Michigan about 120 miles from Chicago and we called the living room the front room.

Mara
Dec. 26, 2010, 11:36 AM
The "living room" is the slightly more formal room , usually right off the formal dining room.

Where we spend all of our TV watching/reading/socializing time? The "den".

MistyBlue
Dec. 26, 2010, 11:42 AM
They all fit, front room (if it's in the front of the house, although usually only for straight layout houses), living room, parlor.

Parlor was more commonly used decades ago if you also had a den or family room. (fr also called a rumpus room back then around here)

Now there are too many freaking names for the rooms in a house:

Front room
Parlor
Living room
Family room
Den
Media Room
Library
Hearth Room (if it has a fireplace and is attached to the kitchen)
Rumpus room
Great room
yadda, et al

Most common now in real estate speak is Living room and family room *if* you have both. Then the living room gets the word "formal" in front of it. ;) If you only have one and if it's open somewhat to the kitchen and/or has a dining spot in it then it's a Great Room.

Hearth rooms are somewhat popular again, just a bit bigger than average kitchen with sitting area and fireplace.

Libraries are popular now too as an extra room...often termed as library or home office.

danceronice
Dec. 26, 2010, 11:51 AM
Front room/parlor/living room all to me would be the more "formal" room for guests. Family room is the more casual lounge for guests. Library is where the books/office space are. Den is a small 'guy space', the place you put the leather couches and HIS stuff like the trophy heads. Great Room only applies to a home with a more casual open floor plan and cathedral ceilings and is generally a family room/rec room functionally (unless you're dealing with a TRULY great house big enough you're talking about having an actual Hall.)

VirginiaBred
Dec. 26, 2010, 11:53 AM
Never heard the term "front room"..........

Living room (the more formal room) and family room, definitely.

Maybe it's a midwest or northern thing?

CatOnLap
Dec. 26, 2010, 11:55 AM
when I lived in a century old house, the design was, you walk in the front door to a vestibule about 8 x 12 where there was a coat rack and a mirror, and the foot of the stairs. Beside the stairs was a short hallway leading to the back of the house and the kitchen. Off the vestibule, to one hand was the Parlour or Front room, a place where guests and visitors were usually received or waited for the house occupants to join them. It had leaded glass doors so you could easily see in or out. To the other hand, behind a solid wood sliding door usually kept closed except when entertaining, was the formal dining room, which adjoined a smaller sunparlour or breakfast room at the back of the house, which led into the kitchen. There wasn't a formal living room, or else the modern living room morphed out of that classic design of the receiving parlour or front room.

ReSomething
Dec. 26, 2010, 12:06 PM
I grew up in CA and I know I've seen the term and possibly heard it used. I think it was from East Coast neighbors but I'm not positive.

The relatives of the lady that put this "custom" doublewide here call this room a den and I call it the living room, you might call it a family room. It has a pass through to the kitchen and a fireplace. The "front" of the house has a giant hallway for the official living room and it certainly isn't the first place you go to if you come onto the property. MB is right, there are too many different terms nowadays.

headsupheelsdown
Dec. 26, 2010, 12:11 PM
There is a developer here that calls the breakfast areas in his floorplans "good morning" rooms!

I am wondering if it has to be a term that stems from city and suburban houses that are on narrow spaces... townhouses and bungalows and such.

Another question... do you have a room that you keep clean for guests, but do most of your living in another?

CatOnLap
Dec. 26, 2010, 12:15 PM
Another question... do you have a room that you keep clean for guests, but do most of your living in another?

Yes, its called a guest room! hahaha plus its where we store the extra bed linens and irnoning board and vaccuum since we don't have a laundry room big enough.

headsupheelsdown
Dec. 26, 2010, 12:17 PM
Hahahahahaha!

No, I didn't mean for sleepover guests. I meant for just visitors that drop by...

ReSomething
Dec. 26, 2010, 12:24 PM
when I lived in a century old house, the design was, you walk in the front door to a vestibule about 8 x 12 where there was a coat rack and a mirror, and the foot of the stairs. Beside the stairs was a short hallway leading to the back of the house and the kitchen. Off the vestibule, to one hand was the Parlour or Front room, a place where guests and visitors were usually received or waited for the house occupants to join them. It had leaded glass doors so you could easily see in or out. To the other hand, behind a solid wood sliding door usually kept closed except when entertaining, was the formal dining room, which adjoined a smaller sunparlour or breakfast room at the back of the house, which led into the kitchen. There wasn't a formal living room, or else the modern living room morphed out of that classic design of the receiving parlour or front room.
That's the classic old floor plan, my grandparents house built in the twenties had already begun to change with the removal of the vestibule, so you walked in to an area at the base of the stairs that was set off from the living room but not walled off. The 40's and 50's saw the ranch style home where you might walk straight into the living room and have to walk through it to get to bathrooms and bedrooms. When I think "front room" I think of the Sunset District homes in SF that are all built with the living room over the garage overlooking the street, the front door might be at street level or at the first floor with outdoor stairs, both would have an outdoor vestibule with grilled access and the stairs would open off to a foyer or vestibule leaving the front room with only one access, usually those lovely glass doors.

And no, I've known people that had large enough houses where they could keep a formal living room clean for guests and use the family room for, well, the family, but it really takes thought with the floor plan. For a while there we had a real guest bedroom, not just a spare room with a closet full of stuff but a room set up just like the hotel I worked at, right down to extra pillows and a blanket in the closet and eight hangers. Two and a half years of disuse have found things migrating in there that the laundry/mudroom is too small to hold.:no:

horsetales
Dec. 26, 2010, 12:28 PM
Born in Chicago area, lived around Green Bay WI. My friends in ranchers had front rooms and colonials had living rooms and family rooms/den. front rooms seemed to be the catch all when there was no other casual space, and living room was a more formal room with a family room or den was the kid friendly tv area

EponaRoan
Dec. 26, 2010, 12:51 PM
And is it a sofa, a davenport or a couch? :D

headsupheelsdown
Dec. 26, 2010, 12:55 PM
According to my grandma? davenport
My Mom? sofa

Me? Couch!

That is so funny you asked that... I was actually going to include that in OP!

CBoylen
Dec. 26, 2010, 02:00 PM
Hm, never heard that. If you said "front room", I guess I would assume you meant foyer.

goeslikestink
Dec. 26, 2010, 02:06 PM
here in uk if you live in a house or bungalow its a front room as normal place at the front of the house, in a flat its a living room as normal in the middle

dinning rooms are seperate rooms in a house or bungalow you would not have a dinning room in a flat but you would have a breakfast kitchen area

open plan houses have a breakfast bar kitchen or through longe ie a lounge which is a living room with dinning room together so its through louge

Covergirl15
Dec. 26, 2010, 10:15 PM
Well, I'm from the south (KY and TN) and we have a living room and a "front room." Our living room is a little more formal with couch and chairs and then our front room is at the front of the house and is really supposed to be a formal dining room but we never used it as a dining room so it became another little sitting room with another couch and chairs- it's where we sit if we read or whatever.

SarahandSam
Dec. 26, 2010, 10:56 PM
I grew up in a trailer, so it was the room. d;

In my grandma's house, we had the family room--where you were allowed to sit on the furniture--and the living room, where we had Christmas, and which was covered in plastic the rest of the year. Italian family.

In my house now, we have the living room, and then we have the more casual room up in the attic--I call it the library/garret, because it sounds more artistic, and that's where the books and Wii and my art space and my tack room are. But I'd be more inclined to call that the family room and the main space, which is more formal, the living room.

CDE Driver
Dec. 26, 2010, 10:59 PM
The "living room" is the slightly more formal room , usually right off the formal dining room.

Where we spend all of our TV watching/reading/socializing time? The "den".

This is exactly what I grew up with.

kristinq
Dec. 26, 2010, 11:17 PM
I grew up 60 miles SW of Chicago, but I don't know if that matters or not.

We had both a living and a front room. The front room was, ahem, clean, and the first room you saw when you walked in through the front door. The living room was where we had our TV, couches, DVD cabinets, and the fireplace. It was also a part of the sub basement and half a level lower than the front room and kitchen/dining area which made it more homey and comfortable. To be honest I guess we always called the front room (more for looks/ first impressions) the "living" room and the living room (spent more time in/ relaxed in) the "family" room.

Chief2
Dec. 26, 2010, 11:55 PM
The first time I heard the term front room I remember thinking, 'Where the heck is that?' so I just wandered towards the front of the house. I mostly hear about living rooms, dens, and family rooms around here. Sometimes when I refer to the entry way as a foyer people look at me like I am nuts.

Wayside
Dec. 27, 2010, 12:06 AM
It was always the "front room" for us, because in the bungalows, the living room IS the front room.

Yes, I've used the terms interchangeably as well, though I'm only about 2 hours rom Chicago, so maybe it is regional. Or architechtural - our house is tiny, and the living room is in the very front of the house.

Mara
Dec. 27, 2010, 12:15 AM
I grew up 60 miles SW of Chicago, but I don't know if that matters or not.

We had both a living and a front room. The front room was, ahem, clean, and the first room you saw when you walked in through the front door. The living room was where we had our TV, couches, DVD cabinets, and the fireplace. It was also a part of the sub basement and half a level lower than the front room and kitchen/dining area which made it more homey and comfortable. To be honest I guess we always called the front room (more for looks/ first impressions) the "living" room and the living room (spent more time in/ relaxed in) the "family" room.

See, what you call the "front room" and I call the "living room" is different from the "den/family room" in that it has furniture you are not allowed to eat on. It also usually does not feature a TV.

In the house where I grew up, the "living room" was where the Christmas tree went every year. It was also where the piano was. I remember Mom had a Waterford decanter out for display, about 1/3 full of wine that had to have turned to vinegar!

Pancakes
Dec. 27, 2010, 12:19 AM
We have a "living room" and a "family room."

I'm from NJ and I've NEVER heard the term "front room" before! Enlightening!