I am fascinated by living rooms. That’s weird, I know, but bear with me. Living rooms, or sitting rooms, or dens, or parlors, or salons, or whatever you want to call them, are the strangest and most telling rooms in our houses, apartments, condos, and castles. They are the least and also most human of rooms.
Your house or apartment, like almost all human dwellings, can be divided into four basic rooms, based on functions*: sleep, waste, food, living. Sometimes these spaces are simply corners of one large room, or are combined in various ways, but if you have the Internet and are reading this blog, then chances are you have specific rooms for these functions.
The first three are the bedroom, the bathroom, and the kitchen. These are biological rooms, the rooms in your house specifically built for you to carry out your survival functions of a biological organism. You sleep (and sometimes mate) in the bedroom. You dispose of wastes and clean yourself in the bathroom. You prepare and eat food in the kitchen. Without these rooms, and the functions they allow, you would die.
The fourth room, the last room, is the one built for no specific biological function. Granted, most of us have probably slept, mated, and eaten in our living rooms at one time or another, but that’s not really what the living room is for. It’s not for anything related to our biological functions or survival.
In the living room, we relax. We read. We watch movies and TV, or play video games. We waste hours on the Internet. We welcome visitors and chat with them. It is the space where we function as social and solitary creatures, often at the same time. It is, biologically speaking, a useless room. And yet, it’s probably the room most of us like the most. The room where we feel most at home.
*You might protest that you have more rooms than this, but all are really extensions or additions to the others. Dining rooms are extensions of the kitchen; libraries, studies, sun porches, and game rooms are extensions of the living room. Sex dungeons and screw closets are extensions of the bedroom. Stairways, garages, and hallways are the spaces in between, and closest are for storage, but none of them are really rooms.