A contemporary household usually has a variety of living zones, and when you’re in the process of designing a new home, it can be difficult to know what you’re going to want and need. You have to take into account your lifestyle and family makeup, and of course your budget and block size.
Designing functional living spaces—better living spaces—is something Interior Designer Darren Palmer is particularly passionate about. Especially when it comes to saying goodbye to the ‘good room’.
Everyone knows the good room. Darren describes it as “the room so nice that no one was allowed in”.
In your house it might have been called the sitting room or the living room—it was the one with pristine furniture, the sideboard covered in decorative vases, and the ornate coffee table with coasters for cups of coffee.
Often off-limits to kids, the good room was most commonly used to entertain guests on special occasions.
At the end of the day, the good room is not a functional living space. If you’re not able to fully enjoy the space, then why have it?
In contrast to the good room is the family room. It’s the well lived in space that’s constantly filled with kids and friends. The room where the dog is most likely allowed on the couch!
It’s laid-back, relaxed and often cluttered, with durable furniture that can be sacrificed to your kids’ play-adventures and room for everyone to spread out.
Sometimes known as the media room, it’s the perfect area where everyone can gather to watch television together and informally socialise. Besides your kitchen, this room is likely the most-used and the most well-loved in your house.
Although it’s definitely more functional than the good room, these qualities also make it a less-than-ideal living space. This is mostly because it’s an ‘outlier’ in your home. The family room isn’t often one we’re proud of. It’s usually a little on the grubby side and doesn’t benefit from the TLC that the other rooms in your household are likely to get. It might even be the space you close the door to when you have visitors.
If the good room is too formal and the family room is lacklustre, the great room is the perfect marriage of the two.
When done well, Darren says it’s “the room in the house everyone is going to be fighting each other to be in”.
Combining the functionality of the family room and the elevated style of the good room, the great room is a fantastic space where you and the kids can gather for a cosy family movie night but still be able to entertain guests the next day!
It’s important to ensure this room is positioned well in your house, mostly to account for noise. If you want separate ‘adults’ and ‘kids’ spaces when entertaining, consider a feature like a barn door to help with acoustics. When open, this space can become part of your open plan living area. When closed, it becomes its own private sanctuary.
It’s important to remember that the great room should still receive the amount of respect your other spaces do, in terms of colour palette and styling touches. The difference is, we focus in on practical use of space and durable fabrics for the furniture and flooring—think washable couch covers and hard-wearing carpet.
If you’re interested in exploring the concept of the great room, we’d recommend mentioning it to your new home consultant. They’ll be able to help you consider different options for your floorplan, and ultimately how your home design can work better for you and your family.