Keep The Family Close With A Modern-Day "Keeping Room"

Posted on: 12 October 2016

One growing trend in modern homes comes from a very old American home tradition: the keeping room. What is a keeping room, and how can you design your own? Here's a primer on this classic room style.

What Is a Keeping Room?

A keeping room is simply an open room or space adjoining the kitchen that is used by guests and family members while others are in the kitchen working. Keeping rooms date back to Colonial times, when the kitchen was often the warmest room in the home due to the cooking stove. Family and friends gathered in this space to enjoy warmth and camaraderie while attending to daily chores. They sometimes slept in this room when the rest of the house was cold, too. 

What Is a Modern Keeping Room?

Some homeowners think of the keeping room as more of a place to "keep" their kids or guests out of the kitchen while they work. It may be called by other names, including a great room, a hearth room, or a family room, especially if placed in other locations in the home. A keeping room encourages family togetherness and facilitates entertaining by making it inclusive and cozy.

How Do You Furnish a Keeping Room?

A keeping room is often a well-used area of the house with lots of traffic by both kids and adults. For this reason, you will want to use durable, long-lasting furniture that doesn't stain easily and isn't fragile. But, at the same time, the furniture should be inviting and comfortable. Be sure to scale the furniture properly if your keeping room isn't a large space. If you need help determining the best sizes and shapes of furniture, bring the dimensions to the furniture store with you and use their expertise. 

Large, stuffed sofas and oversize chairs are perfect for this space, as are tables or even a desk to work at. Many modern families like to place a television or gaming station in this space if they have children or a reading nook if the kids are older.

It's a perfect place for kids to do homework and for families to share board games or other group entertainment. If you want to evoke the Colonial past in your decorating, be sure to add a table or two for working on home projects and include a fireplace to reflect the original draw of the keeping room.

A keeping room is a classic tradition for a reason. Just as it provided a place of warmth and sharing in early homes, it can create a space for your family and friends to gather and enjoy being together.