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Distinguishing Family and Great Rooms

Great rooms and family rooms are two of the most important spaces in a home for gathering, and yet their individual purpose can be confused and the terms often become interchangeable. In this article, we will explain how many homeowners distinguish between these two spaces and how each space can be used within the home.

Great Room

Formal Great Room

Difference between a Great Room and Family Room

A great room is a communal space dedicated to gathering that provides a more formal setting for guests and visitors. Many great rooms are often distinguished by the inclusion of a window wall that frames a breathtaking view. On the other hand, a family room is generally a less formal setting where the family members can be more relaxed. Often times, it is even considered a multi-purpose room where a variety of activities can be conducted.

What Does Each Space Include? 

A main distinction between the great room and family room spaces is how they are furnished. A great room, for example, might include nice, formal furniture and main decorative features would be located here. Whereas, a family room, being a less formal location, can include a variety of furnishings, from a pool table, to an office desk, to an entertainment center.

Family Room

Informal Family Room

Where is Each Space Located?

In wood homes specifically, the great room will usually be found adjacent to the other main living spaces like the kitchen and dining room. It is the space where your main views are appreciated, so it is often in a central location on the main floor of the home. In contrast, because a family room has a more relaxed setting, they can be located just about anywhere in the home, from the basement, to the loft, or even the main floor.


For more examples of great rooms and family rooms, view our photo gallery.