In this room the family life is to center. Provision is to be made in it for the needs of the various members. It should then have, if possible, the best view the situation affords, plenty of sunlight, and a view of the setting sun is desirable. Its outline too should be distinctly varied either by windows or fire-place so as to make it possible for groups to gather. Cupboards for toys, fancy work, or a few books, and window seats which open - all help to meet the varying needs of family life.
This room too should open on the principal thoroughfare. It is desirable that it be the largest room of the house, oblong rather than square; a room eighteen by thirty or twenty by thirty feet makes a good-sized living room.
This is one of the most important rooms in the house. It is possibly the one place where all the family gather daily. Cheer and brightness are associated with it and its construction should, aid to both. First, as to size: It should be wide enough to allow the easy passage about it that is required in service. A minimum of eleven by thirteen and one-half feet and a maximum of seventeen by twenty-two feet seem to meet the requirements of ordinary houses. A sideboard or china closet is almost an essential. It is desirable to have it built in in a recess near the pantry door. If there be room for it a fireplace is a desirable addition but its location should be carefully considered. It is better at the end than at the side, as the heat of the fire may make the backs of the people at table uncomfortable.
The lighting is another important consideration. If that can come from the end too, it is less likely to shine in the eyes of the people at table, or to cast a shadow over those on the other side of the table. It should not, however, be placed directly in the middle of the end, but distributed by being put near the corners of the room. A secondary light may be added by smaller or irregular windows at the side. A western exposure is not preferable for a dining room. It makes the room a rather cheerless one on a winter's morning, and in the summer, by the time the family gather for the evening meal, the rays of the setting sun are likely to interfere with their comfort. So a southerly or easterly aspect is much to be preferred.
The communication with the kitchen should be easy, not direct, but through a small pantry. By this means the odors from the kitchen are avoided, and the two walls shut from the dining room the noise in the kitchen. The doors in the pantry should not be directly opposite, lest they afford a direct view into the kitchen from the dining room. It is quite evident also that this passage from the kitchen to the dining room, called by some the "dinner route," should be distinct and separate from the family thoroughfares.
The question of the communication between the dining room and the other rooms of the house beside the kitchen is an open one. In a small house where the only rooms that can be open to guests are the parlor and dining room, it seems almost necessary to have direct communication between them. On the other hand because of the close connection of this room with the service rooms and the consequent necessity, for several hours of the day, for complete separation it is desirable not to have this direct communication.