A room for living: Private and public aspects in the experience of the living room

Rechavi T. B.

JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY, vol.29, no.1, pp.133-143, 2009 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 29 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2008.05.001
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.133-143


This paper presents findings from a study on people's Uses and experiences of their living rooms, The researcher conducted in-depth interviews with sixteen middle-class residents of the Metropolitan New York area. Interviews were conducted in participants' living rooms, and were supplemented by observations, sketches and still-photographs. In the past, social scientists have viewed the living room as serving the purpose of communicating the dwellers' image to guests. Findings from the present study show that dwellers may use their living rooms not only to host guests, but also for their own solitary uses, as well as for sharing time with partners. All uses were found to be meaningful and pertinent to the dwelling experience. Findings also reveal that the living room may provide opportunities for intimacy between dwellers and their partners, as well as between dwellers and their guests. For all participants living rooms contained objects that were highly meaningful to them. It is suggested that objects in the living rooms are used to instigate and mediate contemplation about significant others, as well as to regulate the amount of intimacy desired With guests. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.