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What is a Keeping Room?

Have you noticed how people generally congregate in the kitchen at a party or how the family wants to be near the kitchen while you are cooking? The concept of the kitchen being the heart of the home is not new. In fact, the idea of a room specifically designed for family and guests that is off the kitchen is centuries old. In fact, an 18th-century colonial house would often feature a keeping room. If you’re wondering, “What is a keeping room?”  compared to the rest of the house we’ll explain.


What is a Keeping Room Used For?

A keeping room is an informal living room. The room is near the kitchen. It is great for providing a comfortable place for guests or family to hang out while the host prepares food in the kitchen.

In Colonial times, a small fireplace or a wood-burning stove provided heat for homes. People would often sleep in this area of the house to make use of the warmth while the rest of the house was cold. While the keeping room is no longer used for sleeping, it can still be a worthwhile addition to a house. With central heating, including a fireplace is optional in a keeping room; however, the functionality of this common room remains.

By putting a modern twist on this classic idea, you can create a comfortable, cozy sitting area near the kitchen. You can choose to have a small keeping room that is best suited for a few people or you can create a bigger one to fulfill multiple purposes such as a place to hang out, watch television, or do more casual family activities.


How to Furnish a Keeping Room

To properly furnish your keeping room, consider adding a sitting area like a cushioned bench or comfortable chairs. You can also use it as a game room with board games and a small table. Depending on the square footage of the room, you could also add a space for watching TV.

In a way, a keeping room serves a variety of functions. It can be a flex room, a sitting room, a living room, a crafting room, or even a breakfast nook. It is similar to a hearth room if it has a fireplace. How you use this room functionally is up to you and what works best for your family.


Keeping Room vs. Family Room

A keeping room is a common room used for a variety of purposes. It is optimal for entertaining guests in a versatile space and is best for open floor plans in houses with a modern layout.

A family room is a casual place for the family to hang out, watch television, and spend time with one another. This is an everyday living space, as opposed to a room dedicated to more formal functions like entertaining guests. Typically, a family room is located in the rear of a house, in the basement, or on the upper level of a house.

The family room is designed for a family to use it often. It often has a cozy feel and is generally viewed as a place for the family to enjoy spending time together on nights and weekends.


Keeping Room vs. Den

A den is a small room that can be used for a variety of purposes. For example, people can spend time in the room together. It can be an office or a study. The room is versatile, which can add to your home value as an added bonus.

A den typically has a television or a bookshelf, along with a limited amount of furniture. For example, a mini library with built-ins could be a focal point of a den.

Typically, this room will have more furniture and be a bigger room than a den. The location of the room is another distinguishing factor, although this is less apparent in an open floor plan design.


Frequently Asked Questions


What is another name for a keeping room?

A keeping room may be referred to as a hearth room, a flex room, or a free room.


What is a hearth room?

A hearth room has a fireplace and is a casual hang out place. The hearth room is more casual than a living room, but provides a relaxed, laid back space for people to hang out.


What does a keeping room mean?

A keeping room means a place for people to hang out that is adjacent to the kitchen. This is a great alternative to people crowding inside the kitchen while someone is trying to cook.


What is the function of a keeping room?

The size and furnishings of a keeping room may differ, but the function remains the same. It is designed to be a space for people to keep the cook company without being in the kitchen itself.


What is the purpose of a keeping room?

The purpose of this room is to revive an old-school idea into a modern, open floor plan. This additional common room is close enough to be visible from the kitchen, which allows those not cooking to rest and relax. This is great if you are hosting guests or want to keep an eye on your children without having them under your feet.


What goes in a keeping room?

This room should have comfortable seating area for your family and any guests you are hosting. You may choose to add other elements such as a television, board games, or craft supplies based on the available space and layout of the room.


What is a keeping room in house plans?

A keeping room would be near the kitchen on house plans. If there is an open concept flow, this room is especially helpful in allowing you to see other people from the kitchen.

Related: See all of the rooms in a house for all your building needs


Where does the term keeping room come from?

The term keeping room comes from the Colonial times when people stayed, and sometimes even slept, near the kitchen because it was warmer. A modern keeping room is not slept in, but it can still be a nice hang-out place for family members or guests while food is being prepared.


Is a Keeping Room Right for Your Home?

If you’re considering adding a comfortable and versatile space to your home, consider adding a combination living room or modern keeping rooms. Sure, people can hang out in the great room or at a bar peninsula while you’re working in the kitchen, but a keeping room might be better. For one, it’s closer to the kitchen than living rooms. It’s great that it’s a room adjacent to the kitchen and even works well in an open concept house.

If you have a living room or a great room to hang out in, that definitely serves a similar purpose. However, a great room might not be as close to a kitchen or a focal point of your home. So, if you want a cozy place to hang out, like hearth rooms in olden times, consider making the space near your kitchen a keeping room instead of a dining room or great room. Your guests will love it, and the person hosting guests will appreciate having them close by to talk to as well.


Related: What is a cold room in a house?

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