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Old 02-25-2012, 12:02 PM
 
Location: Portlandia "burbs"
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kibbiekat View Post
I've heard this, no photos in the formal living room, basically. What is interesting, is that every time I am at someone's home, we are "entertained" in the family room, or even in the kitchen, not in the formal living room.
Y'know, this is a common concept in American living that I've never understood. Even my mother took her guests into the den, which was a small bedroom converted into a her own den. The livingroom sofa had plastic thrown over it at all times to keep it "clean". I viewed it as a tremendous waste of space and furniture then and still do.
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Old 02-25-2012, 12:44 PM
 
Location: Geneva, IL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluesmama View Post
Y'know, this is a common concept in American living that I've never understood. Even my mother took her guests into the den, which was a small bedroom converted into a her own den. The livingroom sofa had plastic thrown over it at all times to keep it "clean". I viewed it as a tremendous waste of space and furniture then and still do.
It's not just an American thing, and it makes no sense to me either. We have 2 family rooms instead of a formal living room, the thought of a perfectly good room with perfectly good furniture never being used seemed such a waste to me.
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Old 02-25-2012, 01:17 PM
 
Location: The Hall of Justice
25,906 posts, read 36,929,150 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluesmama View Post
Y'know, this is a common concept in American living that I've never understood. Even my mother took her guests into the den, which was a small bedroom converted into a her own den. The livingroom sofa had plastic thrown over it at all times to keep it "clean". I viewed it as a tremendous waste of space and furniture then and still do.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zimbochick View Post
It's not just an American thing, and it makes no sense to me either. We have 2 family rooms instead of a formal living room, the thought of a perfectly good room with perfectly good furniture never being used seemed such a waste to me.
Hear hear. We turned our family room into a home gym because that would be a better use of a perfectly good room. It was becoming a storage area and going to waste. My parents had a front room (living room) that I couldn't play in when I was a kid. There wasn't plastic on the furniture, but we almost never used it. I didn't want to have that in my house. It's also our office. It would make a really good dining room because it's oblong and a good size, but the current dining room would be an odd space. Someday we'll have the gym in the basement or one of the kid's bedrooms, and the dining room can be converted into an office.

The more I think about it, the more I realize I don't really care for family photos. I like snapshots but I never look at photo albums or boxes of old pictures. We get posed photographs from time to time for the family, but we never put them up anywhere. Someday I'll probably put up a lot in the stairway, but then I'd have to buy a load of frames.

I try not to go down the OMG I WANT TO DECORATE road, and putting up pictures opens that door.
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Old 02-25-2012, 01:18 PM
 
Location: Asheville NC
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Default why a formal liiving room

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kibbiekat View Post
I've heard this, no photos in the formal living room, basically. What is interesting, is that every time I am at someone's home, we are "entertained" in the family room, or even in the kitchen, not in the formal living room.
A parlor, formal living room, or sitting room, was originally meant to receive guests, merchants and other visitors, screening them from the family, and the family from them. Used for formal events and parties, which might include guests not well known to the family. A privacy matter--that is why personal photos were not displayed. They would have given the guest who was practically a stranger, a glimpse into the personal life of the family. Traditional townhomes, and apartments, in many cities still have these rooms--some go so far as having two formal living rooms, and additional family room. The first entry and living room giving the illusion of nice but not rich. A safety feature.
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Old 02-25-2012, 01:22 PM
 
Location: The Hall of Justice
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Quote:
Originally Posted by funisart View Post
A parlor, formal living room, or sitting room, was originally meant to receive guests, merchants and other visitors, screening them from the family, and the family from them. Used for formal events and parties, which might include guests not well known to the family. A privacy matter--that is why personal photos were not displayed. They would have given the guest who was practically a stranger, a glimpse into the personal life of the family. Traditional townhomes, and apartments, in many cities still have these rooms--some go so far as having two formal living rooms, and additional family room. The first entry and living room giving the illusion of nice but not rich. A safety feature.
That is so interesting. And it makes perfect sense.

There's an area downtown where I live where several of the early houses (mid- to late-1800s) are preserved, including one beautiful old house. (I'm from California, this stuff is old to me.) We went on a tour, and they said that guests were never invited upstairs. The owner was a doctor, so there is a separate business entrance with some separate rooms in the back. Very cool.
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Old 02-25-2012, 01:28 PM
 
Location: Portlandia "burbs"
10,234 posts, read 14,175,927 times
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Originally Posted by JustJulia View Post
Hear hear. We turned our family room into a home gym because that would be a better use of a perfectly good room. It was becoming a storage area and going to waste.
Now that's what I want! Ours is a small house and so the livingroom is the family room. But we've talked about building a room over the garage to use as both an exercize room and extra sleeping arrangements for guests.

For the guests I would add a bed and one of those old antique "closets" (can't think of the name. . starts with an "a". . . amoire?), a hanging mirror, then separate it with a privacy screen. The rest would be open space for my treadmill and room to yoga. And no photographs will be present in there.

Someday. . .
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Old 02-25-2012, 02:00 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,494 posts, read 44,701,607 times
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armoire - now mostly used to hide the TV which everybody knows is not hidden at all
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Old 02-25-2012, 05:21 PM
 
Location: here
24,841 posts, read 30,620,143 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluesmama View Post
Y'know, this is a common concept in American living that I've never understood. Even my mother took her guests into the den, which was a small bedroom converted into a her own den. The livingroom sofa had plastic thrown over it at all times to keep it "clean". I viewed it as a tremendous waste of space and furniture then and still do.
Ya, I'd feel strange keeping guests in the living room. They might feel unwelcome.

Quote:
Originally Posted by funisart View Post
A parlor, formal living room, or sitting room, was originally meant to receive guests, merchants and other visitors, screening them from the family, and the family from them. Used for formal events and parties, which might include guests not well known to the family. A privacy matter--that is why personal photos were not displayed. They would have given the guest who was practically a stranger, a glimpse into the personal life of the family. Traditional townhomes, and apartments, in many cities still have these rooms--some go so far as having two formal living rooms, and additional family room. The first entry and living room giving the illusion of nice but not rich. A safety feature.
Interesting. Thank you. So the formal living room really is a rather antiquated concept... I never wanted one, but we have one.
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Old 02-25-2012, 08:07 PM
 
16,356 posts, read 18,348,180 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by no kudzu View Post
This is not a decorating question.

I have been in many homes where the walls are full of framed photos, photos all around the house etc.

We have none. Well actually I have a few baby pictures in a display cabinet in my bedroom and at Christmas time I set out a few old photos of the kids with Santa and we have a few school pictures made into ornaments for the tree. but other than that we have no fancy watercolors, huge family portraits, graduation pictures, etc.

I'm not sure why except that is just how I grew up. My mother thought it was tacky to have as bunch of photos around. When she was in her later years I arranged for all our living relatives to be at the house for a very rare family meal. When I asked her if she would like me to hire a professional photographer come to take a great photo, her response was "Why--it's just something else to put in the drawer." I did it anyway and sure enough she put it in the drawer.

So I was wondering how many photos do you display in your home? And why or why not.
We have a ton of photos on display. The family photos are in the bedrooms rather than in the living and dining area.

My dh is a wonderful amateur photographer. He has been on phototreks and we have lots of his 8 by 10s on the walls in our dining area and living area because they are truly artistic.
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Old 02-25-2012, 10:13 PM
 
11,636 posts, read 20,750,917 times
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We have a sitting room in our master bedroom and we display family photos in there. We have a few framed photos on other shelves. I don't think it's tacky to display family photos but I just grew up in a house where we kept the family photos for the family.
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