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Old 03-08-2017, 06:30 PM
 
Location: Living on the Coast in Oxnard CA
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When I was growing up all homes had living rooms but not all had a family room. As homes became larger the living room was in the front of the home and the family room was in the back of the home more than likely divided by the kitchen and dining area.

Many people in my old neighborhood would add on a family room in the back of the home. These homes would have the living room in the front, then the dining room with the kitchen next to the dining room and the family room in the back, with the bedrooms on the other side of the home. Living and family on right side of home and bedrooms on left side of home. or the other way around.

I noticed more of an open room concept in larger homes, say 3,500 square feet and larger. The great room is what an open concept house is, with the living area, kitchen, and dining area in the same room without walls dividing the space, with the kitchen as the focal point. Builders took this great room concept and built smaller homes with it. Makes the home seem larger than it is, with an open ceiling or at least 9 foot ceilings. I like the open concept myself and now I have noticed that people are turning older homes into open concept or great room homes.

Another concept that I have noticed over the past 15 years is a living room on the second floor area, with homes having a great room on the first floor and a living room or family room on the second floor. With larger homes I would guess that you could open that up to game rooms or some other kind of room. My parents home also had a den or home office. This included a large home library. I grew up thinking that a home was not complete without a home library. I have no idea how many books my parents had but the classics were part of the collection. They had the Great Books Series, the Harvard Classics, and many other classical sets along with many other books. I would say that they had maybe a couple thousand books in the den. Always looked beautiful to me having all those books.
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Old 03-08-2017, 07:05 PM
 
6,510 posts, read 4,619,228 times
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This is the way I understand it:

1} "living room" is often where guests are received

2} "family room" is where the family often "lives"

3} "rec room" is an indoor play room for the family

4} "great Room" usually is the largest, and/or most high ceiling room in the house, where the family also "lives"...it generally acts as a living and dining space as well as perhaps a computer desk for kids under parental supervision, so "office" too.

LOL: then there's "bonus room"...could be anything from family room to rec room to crafts room to office!!!

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Old 03-08-2017, 07:36 PM
 
531 posts, read 379,377 times
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My sister says she has a "great room". Looks like a living room to me. I ask her where the "not-so-great room" is.
Seriously, one expects a great room to have a higher ceiling than the usual eight-foot caves people live in nowadays and to exceed fifteen feet in at least one dimension. However, by that criterion every single room in my house is "great", except the bathrooms and the small (fourth and fifth) bedrooms.
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Old 03-08-2017, 08:02 PM
 
Location: Denver CO
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Great room is more of an open concept term, I think - the large room that contains the area the family uses most, and it's either fully open or partially open to the dining area and, usually, the kitchen. Another definining characteristic is typically a soaring ceiling height. I think the term is supposed to echo the concept of a great hall from a medieval manor.

But to some extent, I think are just all terms that are used to distinguish various areas in a large home. My house isn't even that large, and my son and I still stumble over what to call a couple of areas - we have a very small loft with comfy furniture and a second tv, but we tend to alternate between loft, den or just plain old "upstairs." So I suppose if it had a more specific name, we would be more uniform in using that name when referring to it.
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Old 03-08-2017, 09:10 PM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
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There are regional usage differences too.

Growing up in the south, we call the casual TV room the den. It's definitely not a study. My midwestern in-laws call that the family room.

A great room is a marketing term that came out during the time when buyers were eschewing formal living rooms for a den/kitchen combo.

Rec room = obvious.

A bonus room here in southern suburbia is a massive finished room over the 2- to 3-car garage, usually at the end of a bedroom hallway upstairs or off the kitchen downstairs, where kids play or guys set up a man cave/football-watching room.
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Old 03-08-2017, 09:40 PM
 
Location: Denver CO
24,207 posts, read 17,080,400 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wmsn4Life View Post
A bonus room here in southern suburbia is a massive finished room over the 2- to 3-car garage, usually at the end of a bedroom hallway upstairs or off the kitchen downstairs, where kids play or guys set up a man cave/football-watching room.
In a nutshell, this describes the difference between suburban and my quasi-urban area (a planned "new urban" community). The not so massive finished room over the two car garage is my son's bedroom, not a bonus room! lol!
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Old 03-08-2017, 09:56 PM
 
Location: Crook County, Hellinois
5,712 posts, read 3,191,484 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SOON2BNSURPRISE View Post
Another concept that I have noticed over the past 15 years is a living room on the second floor area, with homes having a great room on the first floor and a living room or family room on the second floor. With larger homes I would guess that you could open that up to game rooms or some other kind of room. My parents home also had a den or home office. This included a large home library. I grew up thinking that a home was not complete without a home library. I have no idea how many books my parents had but the classics were part of the collection. They had the Great Books Series, the Harvard Classics, and many other classical sets along with many other books. I would say that they had maybe a couple thousand books in the den. Always looked beautiful to me having all those books.
I once saw that too, many years ago. It was at a buddy's house, who lived in a brand-new subdivision that must have been a few years old. I found the arrangement a bit odd, after having the having notion of "living/family/whatever room = first floor" drilled into my mind since I was little. But it was on the second floor, and they used it as a home theater room, with the first floor functioning as a more formal sitting room.
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Old 03-08-2017, 10:44 PM
 
Location: Kansas City North
5,935 posts, read 9,854,626 times
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The upstairs "loft" or "living" area, in my opinion, came in with the personal computer. A family could certainly only afford one computer, so you needed an area where everyone could have equal access. Associate it homework, and they put it upstairs where the kiddos wouldn't be distracted by Dad watching the NBA finals on the "big" 32 inch TV downstairs. Then they decided that the one gaming system the family owned would go up there, with the accompanying TV. All of a sudden it's the kid's domain filled with video games, schoolwork and toys.
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Old 03-09-2017, 02:59 AM
 
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Nobody has yet mentioned the "hearth room" which is probably just a pretentious regionalism for family room. I've never heard of a house having both.
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Old 03-09-2017, 05:18 AM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
49,928 posts, read 54,791,612 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kokonutty View Post
Nobody has yet mentioned the "hearth room" which is probably just a pretentious regionalism for family room. I've never heard of a house having both.
LOL true.

In the houses I've seen that say they have a "hearth room," it's a space that's not quite the size of a den and not quite an eat-in breakfast area.

It definitely doesn't rank high on my list.
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