I am looking for a word that would contrast with "grounds" when referring to various parts of a site or property. Essentially, the "inside" part of a building or structure.

I don't really like "indoors" because it presupposes doors and feels more like a state of being than a place.

I was initially thinking of the word "proper," but according to my dictionary that doesn't make sense.


I think the comments have indicated I need to be a bit more specific. The word I am looking for is effectively the opposite of the word "grounds". Say, you're taking a tour of Washington D.C. Part of your tour might take you on the White House grounds. Another part of the tour might take you inside, and you would be touring the White House _.

In many cases, you can just say "White House" alone and this will make sense, but I am wondering if there is a word to specifically refer to the place that is NOT the "grounds".

  • Would these areas all have roofs? If doors aren't necessary, how about walls? Would an open-sided gazebo count, for example? Commented Aug 12, 2014 at 15:21
  • The "interiors"? "Interior areas"? "Intramural spaces"?
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Aug 12, 2014 at 15:22
  • @FumbleFingers Hmm, I think what I'm looking for wouldn't even presuppose a roof or walls -- rather, this refers to the object of a named architectural structure. So, if the gazebo itself is the structure, then yes, but if the gazebo is incidental and the named structure is something different, then the gazebo is part of the "grounds".
    – NReilingh
    Commented Aug 12, 2014 at 15:28
  • 1
    Why not "inside" ?
    – ermanen
    Commented Aug 12, 2014 at 15:52
  • 1
    @NReilingh: Now I'm really confused. The areas you want included within this term don't necessarily have to have walls or roofs? Would an open-air swimming pool qualify? A patio? Decking? Commented Aug 12, 2014 at 16:34

4 Answers 4


Perhaps shelter or the phrase sheltered space. Collins defines shelter as

something that covers or protects; protection, or place affording protection, as from the elements or danger

If you are focusing on the purpose rather than the structure, perhaps dedicated space may suit, especially if you pair it with the intended usage.

Governmental agencies often use the term building area to describe the land covered by the structure, as in this local code.


I agree with the comments - interior is in contrast with exterior. E.g. you get interior paint and varnish which will deteriorate quickly if you apply it to an outdoor or exterior surface. But exterior paint can handle sun and rain etc.

If you are referring to property in the sense of land surveying or property valuation, you would refer to land and improvements, which are anything built on the land (which presumably make it more valuable than the way it was originally)

Mmmm - I would have just commented, but I don't have 50 points reputation


You could use "On Site". .....


In the context of the example, you would say "the White House proper."

In general, if I needed a contrasting pair, I would say things like "the grounds and the buildings", or "the grounds and the main building".

If you really want to emphasize the inside-ness, I think "interior(s)" is your best bet. But "insides" could work too.

We really didn't spend any time wandering the grounds - we were interested in the interiors/insides of the buildings.

Sometimes appropriately contrasting words are lacking.

  • I suspect there is no logical match that exists, either one word or several words, in any language. They are looking for something that is the equivalent of grounds. Assuming a definition of grounds as "the area around and belonging to a building", then that is describing a place, but it is also referring to land. Building area as mentioned would be a literal equivalent. Building(s) would be an equivalent to the "place" aspect, and it's one word. However buildings includes the exterior, interior, and the structure itself, but the question specifies interior. I suspect no answer is possible. Commented May 19 at 5:06

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