The real estate sector loves coming up with new and sometimes confusing terms to describe things that already have familiar names. One term that has become ubiquitous, but is not always well understood, is the great room.

Great rooms are not the same as living rooms or front rooms, but that doesn’t mean they serve different purposes. So just what is a great room, and what is it for? Let’s find out.

As most real estate agents and new home sales consultants will tell you, a great room is a large space on the ground floor, located in or near the center of the home. A great room can be used like a living room, meaning it can fit couches, comfy chairs, and a television that people can gather around. But the space is larger than a typical living room, so while a great room can act as a living room, a living room can’t necessarily act as a great room.

The Benefits of a Great Room

With the extra space, great rooms can accommodate different types of furniture that can be arranged into nooks and sections for multiple purposes.

For example, a great room can have couches for family gatherings, cozy chairs in the corners or around a mantle for reading and relaxing, a bar for entertaining, coffee tables for eating, and unobstructed spaces for children to run and play in.

Because great rooms have open floor plan layouts, meaning they don’t have walls separating the different seating sections, the entire space feels roomy and welcoming to a whole host of activities.

The main thing to keep in mind when it comes to great rooms is their multi-purpose function. While a living room can be a good place to hang out or entertain guests, a great room is well-suited to eat, relax, entertain, live, and play in.

While great rooms often contain short tables for sitting and eating or drinking around, they’re not replacements for dining rooms. However, because of great rooms’ open plan layouts, they often lead into kitchens and dining rooms in a house.

If you’re wondering whether a great room may take up too much space, or how to get the most use out of that space, here’s some great room ideas to keep in mind.

4 Ways to Make the Most of Your Great Room

1. Transitions

Because great rooms connect to other rooms in the house, it’s important to make those spaces feel distinct. Choosing specific transitions are an excellent way to achieve this. For instance, ceiling beams and decorative archways quickly signal a change of space. Additionally, alternate light fixtures or flooring materials are easy ways to seamlessly maintain the characters of the kitchen or dining room.

2. Accents

In addition to including different kinds of furniture, adding decorative trim to the walls and choosing distinct color palettes can help differentiate all the sections of a great room. Warm colors around cozy chairs and cool colors around larger seating areas can make the whole great room feel more intimate and manageable.

3. Floating furniture

While people tend to push furniture toward the walls, one of the best aspects of a great room is its capacity for floating furniture. Leaving couches, tables, ottomans, and chairs out in the open can make the space feel more enticing to use. Especially for great rooms with a large square footage, there’s nothing less hospitable than sitting against a wall and feeling like you’re ten feet from the nearest person.

4. Large Windows

If you’re looking for more natural sunlight, great rooms are a fantastic way to increase your home’s amount of natural light and cut down on the electrical energy required to light the room. That’s because great rooms tend to have large windows on multiple exterior walls, which let a lot of sunlight in. Plus, the lack of interior dividing walls allows the light to bounce around uninhibited.

Now that you know what a great room is, take a look at K. Hovnanian’s communities located all across the country and find the home that’s right for you.