Interior designers love a challenge, especially when it involves a concept that is rare in today's world. I was recently asked to create a "sitting" room off a main living area. The clients wanted the room to be a "parlor" of sorts - a place where they could entertain guests in the evening part from the kitchen. Because this is such a traditional concept, it had me thinking about the origins of the idea of a parlor, and how could I make this traditional concept fit today's more contemporary look.
The first known use of the word "parlour" (we'll call it a "parlor" from now on) involved various meeting rooms in medieval monasteries. There were two separate parlors in each monastery, one for conducting internal business and one for conducting business with those not part of the monastery. Both rooms were places to speak without interrupting the daily functions of the monastery (parlour derives from the Old French word parloir or parler - "to speak").
So, what does a parlor look like in today's world? I imagine it is a comfortable room set up for conversing in small groups. It should be cozy but not too casual, grand but not stuffy. Maybe it has the ability for serving drinks or playing games - cards or something a little classier like backgammon. It's different than a living room in intent. While the examples below could all be living room, they just feel different in purpose, in layout and in style from living rooms. If would like to create a parlor in your home, here are some beautiful examples to get you started.
I hope these provide a little inspiration as you think about your home. What would you want your parlor to look like? I can't wait to hear!