Ideas + Advice


What Is a Drawing Room? A Look at Formal Spaces Then & Now

A drawing room is a room in a home in which a host or hostess can entertain his or her guests. In the times of steam engines, high afternoon tea, waistcoats and top hats and petticoats and bonnets – in these times, drawing rooms were common practice. It was usually located near the front door, so guests could settle into it as soon as they entered. Continue reading for some more fun facts about these peculiar spaces!
Since the drawing rooms were for entertaining, they were decorated to the nines. They were a chance for hosts to show off their best selves – to put it bluntly, their wealth. Formal art, lush rugs, large mirrors and other such intricate decor were the capstones of a good drawing room.
Drawing rooms were also, for the most part, reserved for ladies. While the men would congregate and socialize in the dining room, the women would gather in the drawing room. (Men would talk of sports and politics; women of domestic matters.) They also sometimes went by the nickname “withdrawing room,” since the ladies would go there to withdraw.
Tea, coffee and conversation were the main reasons to retreat into a drawing room – which was often adjacent to the dining room. Where the men would meet and drink alcoholic beverages, the women would meet separately for private discussions; the two groups would then reconvene in the dining room for a meal together.
Today, drawing rooms can mean anything from living rooms to family rooms to grand foyers – and they don’t have to be formal at all. To create a modern day drawing room, focus on the seating; as long as you’ve got comfotable seating enough for guests, the decor will follow, naturally.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Articles featuring tips and advice are intended for educational purposes and only as general recommendations. Always practice personal discretion when using and caring for furniture, decor and related items.