Maybe you have a Family Room. Or maybe a Keeping Room, a term used in the olden days, but back in fashion these days. Or a Great Room, a term that gained popularity in the 1980's when middle class housing started to take on proportions of castles and mansions. Wonder why they aren't called McCastles, instead of McMansions...
Anyway, what do you call the room where your family hangs out in?
The multi-purpose aspect of a Keeping Room today is similar to its function in Colonial days.
Keeping Rooms date back to Colonial times when families would sleep in that area when the rest of the house was cold.
Although people don't regularly sleep in Keeping Rooms now and there were certainly no televisions in Colonial times, children still play there and families gather there to read, talk and often keep warm by the fire. In warmer climates a fireplace is not usually a part of a Keeping Room, but in many regions a fireplace may be ornamental rather than heat-producing.
and I have used soft furnishings there from time to time,
but I wouldn't call it a Keeping Room
(even if Alberto and Cholo sleep in the wing chair from time to time).
A Keeping Room is an area just off the kitchen of a home.
The image above shows the modern Keeping Room configuration
Since the area could be heated by the kitchen stove, it often provided the only heated place in the house. Today, a Keeping Room is called by many different names, depending on one's geographical location, such as a Family Room, a Great Room and a Hearth Room.A fireplace is the focal point in many Keeping Rooms today. Many people also have a television in this room and families gather in here daily. The whole idea of a Keeping Room is to have a family gathering place that is near the kitchen. The open space concept of the room is popular with modern design trends. Keeping Rooms help to sell a home as they are usually very popular, well-used rooms. Homeowners working in the kitchen area are able to see and hear their children playing or watching television in the Keeping Room.
When entertaining, they can also talk to guests easily from the kitchen. A Keeping Room can be small or large, but it is always next to the kitchen.
A Family Room is an informal, all-purpose room in a house similar to a Living Room and a Keeping 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.
Are you confused yet? Well, what about the Living Room?
From our dear friend Wiki Pedia:
A living room, also known as sitting room, lounge room or lounge (in the United Kingdom and Australia), is a room for entertaining guests, reading, watching TV or other activities. The term front room can also be used to describe a living room, because in many homes the living room is at the very front. In modern homes and apartments, the living room has replaced the old-fashioned front parlour.
A typical western living room will be furnished with a sofa, chairs, occasional tables, a television or stereo equipment, and bookshelves, as well as other pieces of furniture. Traditionally, a sitting room in the United Kingdom would have a fireplace. In Japan, people traditionally sat on tatami instead of chairs, but Western-style decor is also common these days.
In the United States, sometimes the living room is reserved for more formal and quiet entertaining while a separate recreation room or family room is used for more casual activities and drinking.
In recent years, the term "great room" has come to be used to denote the family room, especially if it is open to the kitchen, and may feature a vaulted ceiling.