6 Essentials for a Vintage Parlor Room

Historically, parlor rooms served both social and sacred purposes in the family home. They could be used for everyday activities like reading and craft handiwork, but they were also the room of choice for special family occasions such as weddings or even funerals. Even though many households have space for reading and recreation or set aside seating areas for visiting with guests, there are a few key details that define the difference between a traditional parlor room and the usual rec-room.

1: Seating In Clusters

Because of its focus on social activities and cozy arrangements, designing the layout of your parlor room according to the vintage examples means you can mix and match different chairs and end tables for maximum effect. Providing two or more spaces for a couple of people or a small group to share a game or conversation comfortably can be done even in small rooms since these furniture pieces are easily movable. Dark woods and plush fabrics woven with detailed patterns or fashioned in jewel-tones and gemstone accessories impart that classic and traditional look.

2: Lighting For A Vintage Mood

If your household can safely use them, candles in various metal holders and sconces offer an affordable and easily adjustable lighting option for that warm, cozy feeling vintage parlor rooms are known for most. For homes without a wood-burning fireplace to set the mood, an electric model can provide heat and gentle lighting without the worry of smoke. Another way vintage look with lighting uses a chandelier, which can be small or large depending on the room’s dimensions and can also be set up with a dimming switch for more options. Everyone should have a lot of choices when it comes to getting the right amount of light in the room or for their own projects and games, so providing table lamps near every chair or couch is important.

3: Keeping A Beverage Bar

Having an area for serving light snacks and drinks should be a common feature in any parlor room going for the vintage style, even if it’s not a permanent fixture or serving alcohol. A cabinet where water bottles or cans of soda can be kept gets the same look without the fuss of making space for stemware and bar accessories, though it’s a popular look to dress up wood shelving with a dark stain so that the glassware and metal accessories add an old-fashioned class to the walls. For a mix of modern and retro, a vintage cabinet can be modified to store a mini-fridge for keeping beverages and other snacks cool, which comes in handy when the parlor room fills up for a party.

4: Mixing Different Eras

While some historians can point to periods as early as Medieval times for the first use of parlor rooms, the most popular visuals for a vintage look rely on Victorian-era details. This doesn’t have to be the case, though, since they remained an important fixture for many residential and family homes throughout the following decades. Using pieces from different time periods an still come together as a cohesive look when you work with similar color schemes and complementary patterns.

5: Displaying Books And Art

Because parlor rooms began as spaces meant for sharing ideas and conversations, reading and writing were often included in that time. Crafting skills like crochet and needlework were also favored activities in these rooms, which also extended to fine arts mediums like painting and music. Choosing books that promote conversations on intellect, culture and history and pairing that with framed art from the family or by the artists that inspire them the most will not only give the room the look it needs but make it unique to your family’s experience.

6: Storing Games And Activities

With a parlor room’s function primarily defined by sharing entertainment and activity in small or large groups, many parlor rooms developed their ornate furniture styles because of the need for storage and display. Dark wood stains with detailed engravings and bejeweled or metal fixtures offer the most recognizable vintage style, but this is where using different pieces that still tie together through different details like shape or color can give a retro homage an updated look. Glass doors and high shelves keep things easy to see at a glance but keep them out of the way and uncluttered.

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