You could, after all, bathe in the sink if you had to, or the toilet, I suppose, in some dire emergency. But to date no one has ever lived in a living room.
It's partly a definitional thing. If you take out the breakfront, the good furniture, and the expensive lamp so that you have a place you can throw the kids, it is no longer a living room. It is now a rumpus room. No rumpusing has ever occurred in a living room, either. Rumpus rooms, family rooms, playrooms, TV rooms, kids' rooms---these are all latter-day rooms developed to cope with that big dead spot called the living room.
In my youth, and I'm sure in many youths before and since, the living room was completely barred from living. Plastic coated the furniture in case anyone lived on it. Fences were put up to keep anyone alive from wandering in, generally any of the four-footed or small-footed creatures one finds in a home.
|Pretty much everyone had them. Pic found on SodaHead.|
When you wanted to entertain, you might have guests in the living room. That's what it was for. But when you wanted to have fun, you brought them into the eat-in kitchen. The kitchen is always better.
Back in the days when the wake was held in the home of the deceased (and the family kept a vigil all night---thus the wake), where would you put the stiff? Damn straight---dead guy in the living room. So go figure that.
Couples starting out with their first home might bring the living room through many phases, none of which include life:
1) No kids -- no furniture, either. Room is empty or used for storage.
2) Furniture -- but young adults are used to hanging out in the kitchen anyway, where the beer and chips are.
3) Kids -- now the living room becomes a sealed-off place of mystery.
4) Older kids -- and now NO ONE goes in their anymore, ESPECIALLY YOU KIDS, because we WILL have nice things in this house, even if no one EVER SEES them.
5) Empty nest -- who needs this big house? Everything gets crammed into the living room-less retirement home/condo.
Maybe we should go back to calling them sitting rooms. At least it is possible to sit in them. Unlike living.