Decor Snob Interior Design Ideas and Inspiration
What the Heck is a Parlor Room?

A quick case study about the need for an old school parlor

By Blake Lockwood | Curated by Blake Lockwood | Reviewed by Blake Lockwood

Blake Lockwood, the seasoned interior designer behind Decor Snob, has made a name for himself with over 30 years of industry experience. As a member of esteemed associations such as the NCIDQ, CIDA, NAAB, and CCIDC, he upholds high standards in his work.  His content is always people-first, reliable, and engaging.

Parlor room
A parlor room is a formal living space typically found in older homes. It was traditionally used for entertaining guests and holding social gatherings. Today, parlor rooms are often used as a more elegant and sophisticated area for relaxation or hosting special events.

Back in the Day Parlors Were for Fancy Guests

The word “parlor” comes from the French parler meaning “to speak.” Back in the Victorian era, parlors were swanky living rooms decked out to impress guests.

Wealthy familes put their best stuff here – think fancy art, pianos, and sculptures. It was all about looking rich for visitors.

Parlors were near the entryway, keeping the rest of the casa private for family time. Guests didn’t just hang in the parlor – it was reserved for special occasions.

Now Parlors are Cozy Multi-Purpose Rooms

In modern homes, parlors are more laidback and functional. The decor is comfier for chilling with friends. But they still tend to skip big TVs and tech, keeping that old-school vibe.

Since parlors connect to the entryway, they make a great waiting room when guests arrive before the party’s ready. With their natural light and distance from clatter, they also work nicely as home offices or yoga zones.

Bottom line – parlors today are multipurpose spots suited to your family’s needs. From libraries to game rooms, the possibilities are endless!

Design Ideas for Tricking Out Your Parlor

To design a welcoming parlor, I suggest cozy seating, warm lighting, and textured fabrics. Paint or bold wallpaper packs a punch. Or get fancy with a lacquered ceiling!

modern parlor

Built-in speakers let you set the mood with tunes without cluttering up the minimalist vibe. Keep furniture upright and conversational to encourage quality time.

Display meaningful art and family photos for a personal feel. Our homes reflect our spirit, so make your parlor distinctly you!

Worth It? Depends on Your Goals!

For new construction, a formal parlor may not make your must-have list. But for older homes, they’re an opportunity to make your mark.

Remodeling a parlor is the perfect DIY project for crafting a custom sanctuary that fits your family’s lifestyle. And preserving period details maintains the classic ambiance.

Whether you chill in your parlor daily or just occasionally, a touch of old-world charm never hurt! But keeping things functional is key.

At the end of the day, how much you use your parlor will determine if it’s worthwhile. Make it work for your needs and it’ll be a space to treasure.

Alright decor devotees, let me know if you have any other parlor predicaments! I’m here to lend my expertise on revamping these historic gems into your own personal hangout. Until next time!

Photo: Simply Home Decorating
Photo: Batiik Studio
Photo: Studio Whitford

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2 Responses

  1. Love the emphasis on repurposing parlors for modern needs. Who needs another TV room? A cozy parlor for reading, music, or conversation sounds much more inviting.

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