How to Decorate Your Drawing Room

Your home’s drawing room is a formal space for entertaining guests. Here’s how to decorate the drawing room for comfort and style beyond the color of the walls.

By Jessi Minneci


Similar in certain characteristics to a parlor or living room, the drawing room is a space for entertaining guests of your home. And although you have probably heard the phrase before, do you know what a drawing room is, exactly?


The term drawing room is derived from the 16th-century term withdrawing room. In a large English house from the 16th to the 18th centuries, a withdrawing room was a space where the homeowners and distinguished guests could "withdraw" for more privacy.


When it comes to weighing a drawing room vs. living room, little difference exists in modern times. And although the term drawing room isn’t used as widely as it once was, a drawing room may be distinguished as the more formal of the living rooms in a home with multiple entertainment spaces.


Still, let us dig back into our English routes, put a pinky up, and discuss what you need to decorate your drawing room.


Plan the Layout

Before investing in furniture, or even placing already-owned pieces throughout the room, consider the main uses for your space.




First and foremost, think about the entrances to the room? Will there be enough space to move between chairs once your sofa is put in place? Will traffic flow smoothly throughout the room? The last thing you will want is for you and your guests to feel caged-in by furniture in a room meant for entertaining and enjoyment.


You may even want to create a list of things in your drawing room. Everyone has their own preferences on arranging furniture in living areas, and it’s OK to be creative. Just remember to determine a focal point and to create conversation areas. For example, I suggest designing a drawing room from the sofa out. Additionally, I recommend keeping these guidelines in mind no matter what:


  • Keep about 16 inches of space between couches and the coffee table.
  • Keep 2 to 4 feet of walking space free in the room’s main pathway.
  • Remember symmetry in the drawing room for a more sophisticated feel.


And remember to consider the measurements of the room and your furniture pieces. Just because a piece looks right in a store doesn’t mean it’ll feel right in your living room. Measure, measure, measure!


Add Artistic Flare

Because of its more elegant designation, the drawing room is a great area and opportunity for showcasing more sophisticated décor like art pieces.




Empty walls in your drawing room provide a blank canvas for hanging art pieces and photography, but remember; just because you’re designing with sophistication in mind does not mean you have to blow your budget. Elegant art, prints, and canvases don’t need to be expensive.


“Good” art varies from one person’s perspective to another, so it’s important to follow your instincts when it comes to adorning your room. Just remember to stick to a general color palette that matches the rest of your drawing room space.


Warm Up with an Area Rug

Even when it comes to simple living room designs, area rugs are always a welcome addition. However, choosing the right area rug could actually be more confusing than you’d imagine.




The most important consideration with a drawing room area rug is size. If too small, it can make the entire room look disjointed. For optimal aesthetic fit, each piece of large furniture in the room should be sitting on top of the rug (at least slightly). There should also be approximately 10 to 20 inches of bare floor between the edges of the rug and walls of the room.


Set the Mood with Light

Light is a huge part of any room. And when it comes to your formal drawing room, there should ideally be a sampling of each of the three main types of lighting: ambient, task, and accent.




Then after that, they need to be placed at different levels throughout the room. Consider overhead lighting, table and floor lamps, and wall sconces — depending on the space allowed by your drawing room — to round out the space. Also, take advantage of natural lighting. A bay window in a drawing room may add extra sophistication while statement drapes can help add texture to the room.


With the class and sophistication that you’ll put into decoration your living and entertaining space, the term drawing room will feel outdated no more! Take your living room to the next level by adorning the space in exquisite pieces of furniture, accents, wall accessories, and more.


After asking, “What is a drawing room?” and then stepping into your newly decorated space, your guests will be running home to renovate their entertaining areas!

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