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What do people commonly call a room (in a residential detached house) with a desk, a chair, a computer, pen and paper, maybe a few bookshelves, etc.? You know, a quiet place an individual generally goes alone, to read, do work/homework or use the computer.

English is not my native language, and all the usual words seem wrong somehow.

  • Office sounds too professional/clerical. "Step into my office..."
  • Study sounds too academic / Sherlock Holmes.
  • Not enough books to be a library.
  • Not enough couches to be a den.
  • Not public enough to be a lounge.
  • Not enough mini-fridges to be a man-cave.
  • Only goes downhill from there...

I realize I'm probably overthinking this and I should just go with office, but I'm curious what everyone will think/answer.

Thanks.

  • You've already identified a number of common valid words. There's no single 'right' answer to this because not everyone has the same setup at home nor uses similar spaces in the same way. If I run a business from home then I'll have an office, if I'm a fan of Victorian fiction then I'll retreat to my study, etc., etc. – KillingTime Jul 11 at 6:18
  • For someone who is not a native English speaker, that is a very nicely written question. – Peter4075 Jul 11 at 6:51
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    I call mine “an office”. It is not too professional/clerical. It’s what everyone I know calls it. – Jim Jul 11 at 15:45
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    Welcome to EL&U. I've voted to close as primarily opinion-based, because you've ruled out all the obvious answers (office, study, library, den) out of your personal dislike of the terms, as opposed to what the general public would use, and Stack Exchange is not a suggestion engine or a guessing game. Depending on the kind of work done there it could also be a studio, workspace, salon, and any number of other things. – choster Jul 11 at 16:02
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    I agree with Jim. I only ever use my home "office" for working or browsing on the computer or playing the digital piano that's in the room. Reading I do everywhere. – Robusto Jul 11 at 16:03
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What an excellent list! I would say either "study" or "office", depending on the intended use of the room. The former implies a bit of coziness, perhaps a comfortable chair, a place where you can relax and read a book. The latter is more businesslike, with a desk: a room where you might pay your bills or work on your taxes.

"My office" does sound a little pretentious, so I would say "the office" if context makes it clear that you are talking about a room in your house and not the place where you are employed.

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I think you can refer to the room in question as a study(room)

a room, especially in a house, used for quiet work such as reading or writing.

(Cambridge Dictionary)

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(Hometone.com)

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My brother refers to his "office", which I think sounds a little pretentious. Also, "office" to me sounds a bit too work-related for a place you're going to read and, hopefully, relax. Personally, I like the idea of a cozy "study", as in: "he retreated to his study". I don't smoke, but if I did I would definitely retreat to my wood panelled study to unwind, take a pipe and enjoy a glass of vintage port. A lounge needn't be public, by the way. In the English Midlands where I come from, the best room in our little two bed semi was referred to as the lounge.

  • "home office" is common, but "office" without the modifier suggests something more formal. – Stuart F Jul 11 at 10:43
  • This use of lounge (= living room, parlour) is British English. – AndyB Jul 11 at 15:23

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