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Imagine a room in the shape of a pentagon, a bit taller than this one:

The angled walls are scarcely wider than the bedroom doorways set into them. The other connected rooms have no common theme, a bathroom, a kitchen, and a dining room. There's a cupboard built into one of the walls and on the opposite wall, a mirror concealing an auxiliary electric panel. There is a light switch for the connected bathroom, and another switch for the ceiling light. Aside from these things and a rug, the room is featureless.

Surely this isn't a hallway or corridor - there's an implication of length. I've begrudgingly accepted connecting room as a placeholder, at least it's not hub or junction room.

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    It could be called a lobby. It has various locations, but is an area with rooms leading off it. Commented Oct 18, 2020 at 22:59
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    It could also be called a hall, a term which has a wide usage from small to huge. Commented Oct 18, 2020 at 23:06
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    I've worked in a building where this kind of pass-through area was called a vestibule, but now I'm seeing definitions that call for it to be connected to the outside. Does it have a door that goes outside?
    – livresque
    Commented Oct 18, 2020 at 23:31
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    Also anteroom and foyer.
    – Xanne
    Commented Oct 18, 2020 at 23:42
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    @Mitch the diagonal sides connect two bedrooms, opposite of them is the bathroom, flanking the bathroom is the kitchen door (and hidden electrical panel) on one side, and the dinig room door (and built-in cupboard) on the other. Both switches are on the wall next to the bathroom door. We've had people "hang out" in this room while awkwardly trapped between the kitchen and dining room, never intentionally. The room has no purpose per se, nor furniture, nor a connection to the outside. It is on the second floor, but the house is a duplex so... Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 3:46

8 Answers 8

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To go through what it could be and eliminate what it can't be, there are a number of related words each with different nuances.

You are looking for a single word for a small room that connects to other rooms but has no purpose by itself.

  • vestibule, foyer, lobby, entrance - These are all near the entrance (or exactly so in one case). A vestibule is a little room right behind the entrance door, possibly to keep cold air out of the rest of the place (like an airlock) or as a coatroom or mudroom. A lobby is a large waiting area, like at the entrance of a hotel. A foyer is an entrance hall, sort of like a very small lobby for a personal home.

  • A passage or gallery is a long connecting space. It can be inside a building or the space between two buildings or a connecting corridor between two buildings but is covered.

  • A waiting room is a smallish room that is intended for waiting. IT is superficially similar to the others because it connect other rooms with specific purposes. But it is not simply a connector because it has its own purpose as being a place to wait to get into other rooms.

  • An antechamber sounds like it is part of a palace or pyramid, a waiting room before the main room

  • A hall (for at least one of its primary meanings) is (generically) a connecting room that you walk through to get to other rooms. It has the connotation of being longer than it is wide.

  • A hallway is identical logically to hallway and can replace 'hall' whenever that refers to the room. That is, if 'hall' is used for a building, you would not replace it with 'hallway')

  • A corridor is a long hallway (which, etymologically, you can 'run' down). It is formally identical to a long hall, but I can only express vaguely that it gives the feeling of being the space of the hall in addition to the function of a hall.

So these are explanations of meaning but it doesn't really do any good unless you show how it might be used for your purposes.

What would you call that place? I'd call it a 'room' (because yes, it feels like 'hall' should be longer or at least less mundane).

For example, how would you tell someone to go replace a fuse in the electrical panel. Where is the panel?

'Go find it in the room between the kitchen and the bedrooms'.

I'd also say 'Go find it in the hallway...'.

But if you're in the bedroom and you want somebody to leave for a moment:

'Please wait for me out in the hall.'

You wouldn't say 'out in the room' because you're in a room already.

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  • Accepted! Not for room but for being the first to offer passage. Comparing image search results between "hallway floor plan" and "passage floor plan" I see a lot of overlap, but with a measurable skew for long straight hallway rooms and small or angled passage rooms. Commented Oct 23, 2020 at 11:36
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    @VasiliySharapov 'passage' might be a word to use that is accurate in meaning and is not a rare word, but it is not the first word that a native speaker would use for your description because it, like gallery or corridor or hallway, has a connotation of linearity (long and thin).
    – Mitch
    Commented Oct 23, 2020 at 13:25
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    With both hall(way) and passage(way), it could easily be clarified by prepending "short". It's really not a linguistic problem unless you're being particularly awkward.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Nov 22, 2022 at 11:21
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I like lobby and similarly suggest vestibule. Rather like other suggested words, it has a slightly more restricted meaning than you seek (in this case because of the “just inside a public” aspect of the definition, but is used more widely than the definition suggests.

a small room just inside the outer door of a public building where you can leave your coat, etc

Cambridge dictionary

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  • Used far more widely, including trains: the "V" in the unit designation "4VEP" stands for vestibule, and that's not somewhere anyone is supposed to leave a coat.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Oct 19, 2020 at 7:39
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    Lobby to me suggests a larger space, either the big space inside the doors of a hotel/public building, or a reception room.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Nov 22, 2022 at 11:23
  • You're right. "Vestibule" does tend to get used to mean more than that. It's become a sort of catch-all for about any room that introduces another room, even if Cambridge has failed to document that. I mean, it's heard often enough that way that I'd think it'd be common knowledge, so I can only imagine Cambridge is being a bit prescriptive and purist. I say that like it's a bad thing, which it is since English is established as a descriptive language, not a prescriptive langage, in its lexicon and grammar, but I hypocritically avoid using "vestibule" that way for the same reason, so. :/ Commented Jun 26, 2023 at 4:42
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It sounds a bit antiquated, but 'antechamber' is a good fit (although could sound more than a bit pretentious).

As suggested by.Xanne 'anteroom' is a less formal synonym and might be more appropriate if you're not actually a mediaeval lord...

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  • Ooh, it does sounds pretentious, but between this and vestibule I think it's less-wrong, making it my favorite so far. It does feel a bit like a preamble to the kitchen. Commented Oct 19, 2020 at 20:29
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    No. 'Antechamber' is conventionally a room you have to pass through to get to a single major room – a 2-node rather than a 5-node. Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 18:46
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Does this room also connect to the main entrance? If it does, the word hall would do. One of the definitions of "hall" is "a passage or lobby at the entrance of a house" (Chambers).

If the top of a flight of stairs leads to this room, it could be described as a landing.

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I am an American and I have no idea what we would call such a small room with doors opening off of it either. We actually have such a space in our house, but it is open to the hall, and because it has some shelving we usually refer to it (slightly inaccurately) as the hall closet. Having raised five children, I was often amused by the names they would invent when they did not know the common name for something. In that spirit I propose 'door-room'. Childish sounding indeed, but it describes the function exactly.

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  • Hall-closet feels like a strong contender for what to call this room if you're trying to be brief and unambiguous at the same time, but only because we have no hallway - googling it brings up images of closets in hallways. Commented Jun 27, 2023 at 15:01
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In architecture, the term for this type of space is liminal space. Some sources call it a transitional space or a transition space. This all-encompassing term can cover hallways, corridors, foyers of this type within a house.

Wikipedia's Liminality article has this brief explanation:

In architecture, liminal spaces are defined as "the physical spaces between one destination and the next." Common examples of such spaces include hallways, airports, and streets.

I've found some more descriptive terms like a transitional hall or an octagon foyer (octagonal foyer) for the specific example of an octagon shaped transitional room/space in a house.

Examples:

enter image description here
Octagon Flooring Pattern in Walnut
Transitional Hall, Minneapolis

houzz.com.au

enter image description here
The octagonal foyer has original 1910 fixtures and a season mural by Rick Muto, a Rochester artist. democratandchronicle.com

enter image description here
"Nesting antique chairs and a stone Kouros sculpture embellish an octagonal foyer." - Eric Cohler Design
pinterest.co.uk

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  • 'Liminal space' is highly hypernymic. Commented Apr 16 at 11:27
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I think I would simply call it "the connecting room".

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I like "transitional hall", as it is at the end of a hallway in my design. I prefer calling it "atrium", as the definition includes either natural or artificial light.

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