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From Great Room to Gathering Room

By Paul Bielinski, CEO & VP

Family room. Living room. Great room. Gathering room. No matter which term you or your family uses, we’re sure you’ve heard them all. We know we have. But, what’s the story behind these spaces? And how does it impact your home?

The Evolution

Decades ago, it was popular to have two separate rooms: the family room and the living room. And each had their own purpose. The family room was meant for spending time together — watching television or relaxing. While the living room was mainly for “entertaining only” — designed for hosting needs.

As shifts in housing designs and layouts came throughout the decades, it became more popular to combine the two rooms into one. And, that’s when the term was colloquially shortened to living room.

But where does the term great room come from? Although it did become a universal term in the housing industry, most don’t know it is often misused. A great room actually refers to a living area with a 2-story ceiling — typically found in 1.5-story homes.

And now, there’s a newer term on the building block.

Defining Gathering Room

The term gathering room actually stems from the builder community. The naming convention was changed to “gathering room” to emphasize the use of the living space. As the name implies, it’s used for gathering — for family game nights, watching football games with friends, and enjoying quality time with guests. It’s all about multipurpose being summarized into one simple word.


Placed Just Right

Gathering rooms are a necessity. So when it comes to Bielinski Homes, there isn’t a floor plan we have that doesn’t come with a gathering room. Whether it’s a ranch home, a two-story, or a condominium.

And with nearly 50 floor plans, you can get the layout you need. Maybe you like the added privacy of the gathering room being toward the rear of the home. Or maybe you like the welcoming feeling of a front-focused room. We focus on placement, so no matter your personal preference, there’s something for you.

Features of a Gathering Room

Gathering rooms aren’t just about layout, however. There are several design elements that help make this space feel like home.

The most notable element is the fireplace with countless design and architectural options — whether it’s having a mantel or no mantel at all, or choosing between stone and ceramic. And when you go ceramic, you have so much design freedom — with different patterns, colors, and shapes — all while keeping everything feeling modern.


Different ceiling treatments help create a feeling of openness. Although there are numerous options, coffered ceilings are the most popular, and they give you a sense of extra space. Plus, this is another feature that allows for personalized expression. Add paint, wood planks, or even wood beams to get the look and feel you desire.

And let’s not forget how important the view from the gathering room is. Different floor plans also call for different needs — varying types of windows or patio doors. It’s all about the scenic beauty, so we do our best to create the optimal view for each plan.

Get ready to design and gather with loved ones when you find the floor plan that speaks to you.

Paul Bielinski - CEO & VP

About the author

As a Bielinski, Paul has been surrounded by construction since he was born. After cutting his teeth on the East Coast, Paul returned to the family business in 2001. Now, as CEO & VP, he is looking forward and blazing a trail towards the future of building homes. He strives to continue pushing eco-friendly building techniques, embracing the latest technologies, and creating floor plans designed for modern life.

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