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Each of these terms seem to be used to designate a room, in a private house or in the front of a public facility, where one can sit and relax and talk. But, are there any differences to them -- or do they mean just about the same and, as such, can be used interchangeably?

Also, are any of these terms more typical of an English variety than of another?

Aside from that, what's the difference between a drawing room, a sitting room, a lounge (room), and a parlor, to designate a generally cozy room in a private house or a restaurant where guests can be entertained, or withdraw to after a meal to sit and relax and talk (and drink too!). Is one of these terms more typical of an English variety than of another?

Lastly, can "living room', "sitting room", "front room", "lounge (room)", and "parlor" be used interchangeably to designate a room in a home used by the members of a household for leisure activities or to entertain guests, etc., and are any of these terms more typical of an English variety than of another?

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Also 'living room' and 'family room'! – Chloe Mar 3 '14 at 0:55
up vote 5 down vote accepted

First, according to different dictionnaries I checked in, sitting room, living room, and front room are all synonyms of lounge. However, it seems that lounge room is not recognize as a term to describe a room in a private house. It would be the expression you use in a restaurant or a public place.

Apart from that I think people would use the words differently according to the idea they want to convey about the room: for example, in my mind, a living room is more generally the place you spend most of time in (in which you take your meals, read your newspaper, or sit in your couch to watch TV). I think its quite subjective.

However, I would say that front room and parlor cannot be used indifferently. I think that a front room in a house would be the first room you find when you come in. It is "in front". A parlor sounds like a very small room in a house and I am not sure it's often use nowadays.

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Just wondering, can't the term "lounge" sound equivocal to a certain extent if the context is not specified, as long as, aside from "living room", it can also designate a piece of furniture more or less similar to a couch. – Elian Mar 2 '14 at 19:16
@NourishedGourmet I've heard and said: settee, divan, sofa and couch; and possibly chaise longue when it was part of a sofa, but never lounge. – Mari-Lou A Mar 2 '14 at 23:16
I think lounge could be "slang" for lounge chair or chaise lounge sofa. In speech, one could say: "I was sitting on the lounge having my cup of tea..." – Mari-Lou A Mar 2 '14 at 23:26
@Mari-LouA Checking on FOD, "lounge" denotes a communal room in a public place, used for waiting and relaxing. The sense to it to denote a living room in a home is apparently chiefly BE. thefreedictionary.com/lounge – Elian Mar 2 '14 at 23:41
@NourishedGourmet I'd agree with that. I don't think you'll find any dictionaries which say lounge is another term for sofa. Couch is primarily AmEng. I checked FOD, I was wrong. It is in the dictionary, must be an abbreviated form. I wouldn't say it but... – Mari-Lou A Mar 2 '14 at 23:46

As (I think) a fairly typical middle-class English person, I use "lounge" and "living room" interchangeably, but would rarely use the rest of the words you mention. Specifically, "sitting room" and "parlor" have an old-fashioned feel to them, while "drawing room" has distinctly upper class associations, and "front room" is more typically working class (and maybe also old-fashioned too).

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Just curious, do you also use "lounge" (or lounger) to designate a "couch"? According to FOD, "lounger" can designate a couch, but also a reclining armchair. Are you familiar with either or both of these meanings? – Elian Mar 2 '14 at 19:50
I'd use "lounger" to mean a reclining chair, but not for any other purpose. – Jules Mar 2 '14 at 20:16
How about "lounge" for a couch? – Elian Mar 2 '14 at 20:20
I wouldn't use it to mean that, and don't believe I've ever heard anyone using it with that meaning. – Jules Mar 2 '14 at 20:21
Do "parlor", "sitting room", and "drawing room" sound to you more appropriate for a mansion, a chateau, or an upscale hotel, or do "parlor" and "sitting room" still have an old fashion feel to them -- even for such places? – Elian Mar 2 '14 at 23:26

As a surveyor, I have to produce autocad floor plans for different types of property. With this I generally use the following:

If the property is of adverage size and has a 'dining room' I would then refur to the other room as a 'sitting room' if this property is for instance a tall ceiling, well presented Victorian property I would then refur to it as a 'drawing room'.

However, if the 'sitting room' and 'dining room' are together as one, then this would be refured to as the 'living room'.

Lounge is generally only used in local authority houses and the like and refurs to a room that is used as the 'living room' but has no dining facility's.

Large properties that have a formal 'drawing room' and 'dining room' can also have an informal 'sitting room' and also a very informal 'snug' but wouldn't have a lounge.

Hope this helps..

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Lounge is old formal. Where you would have two rooms in a house to sit in (apart from the Drawing room for the gentlemen to withdraw to, from the Dining Room, for cigars and brandy after the meal)

In around the 19th century (I think) the term Living Room was used more commonly.

Front room just means the living room is at the front of the house as opposed to the back room (back of the house) but that term became 'common' in the middle to late 20th century.

In most middle class houses, they had a parlour. Normally situated near the front door.

Lounge/Parlour/Drawing room are for guest greeting

Living room/Sitting room are more family rooms

Personally I have a 'grab a seat if the dogs don't get there first' room

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I think that your answer is nice but it lack sources, or at least quoted definitions. – P. Obertelli May 7 '15 at 19:21

Parlour in British history denoted a formal room to parle or talk. It was linked to status as you had to have more than two rooms to have a designated parlour room. Always at the front of the house, with the best furnishings, often little used. People would lay out their dead there prior to funeral. Term is still used as a place to formally greet people, beauty parlour, funeral parlour. Still used in homes built in 1920s 1930s but with mass building projects of 1960s homes sq foot became smaller and modern builds have lost the space to house a parlour room. In larger modern builds(4 beds) front parlour room seems to have become a study.

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