You know exactly what room I’m talking about. Almost every single-family home owner has one. Growing up chances are you had one as well. It was the room reserved for “company.” I own a home today that has one. In fact, I’m sitting in that very room right now just out of principle. (I promise I won’t spill my coffee on the sofa)
In most people’s homes, this special room is known as the living room. Most likely it has the nicest pieces of furniture, perhaps some expensive piece of art or sculpture, and if you’re my grandmother it may even have a plastic covering on the couch to protect it from the elements.
The irony of it all is this room reserved for people more special than those that reside there is very rarely used when you do have people over. It’s like an unwritten rule passed down from generations of home owners stating that all the really nice stuff you own must be placed in a special room and should not be used on a regular basis.
Why is this the case? Well, we can actually blame history. In the 19th century, the living room was referred to as the front parlour. It was the room in the house used for formal social events, including where the recently deceased were laid out before their funeral. Not sure how social an event that would be, but instead of going to a funeral home, families used to host the viewing in their own homes.
The term living room was coined in the 1890′s and it was understood to be a reflection of the personalty of the home owner. It was basically the museum of you and so the room was not used often as it was set aside as a memorial to the family.
So that’s why we don’t ever get to play in the living room. It’s a room that was reserved for the dead and to pay homage to the owners. Doesn’t sound so fun when you think of it that way.
But over time I think this persona surrounding the living room will change. We have our little piano in there for my oldest to practice his music. We also have dedicated that room for our Christmas tree and to be the de facto room for opening presents when we have a party. We’re doing our small part to change the course of home history forever. You should feel free to do the same.
It’s about time we added more living into our living room.