Floor Plans and Room Setups

Ever found yourself reading through a real estate listing and wondering what a quarter bathroom is, why some houses have two kitchens and what the difference between formal and informal dining rooms is?

I got you covered — below I’ll describe some of the most commonly found room setups I encounter when showing houses in the San Gabriel Valley.

Formal vs. Informal Living Room

Some houses, usually the ones with three or more bedrooms may offer multiple living rooms. These are listed as formal and informal living rooms or as living and family rooms.

There is no hard definition, but usually (formal) living rooms are often outfitted with paintings, antiques and display cabinets. They may feature a fireplace and are where you’d welcome friends or acquaintances for high tea or a glass of wine.

A formal living room with a fireplace and paintings

In comparison, the informal living room or family room is where you’d find a TV, game consoles, a piano and generally less formal and more comfy furniture. This is where you’d spend time with family and closer friends.

This family room has a comfy couch, plenty of pillows and a TV

Formal vs. Informal Dining Room

Similar to the different types of living rooms mentioned above, houses may have a formal dining room in addition to a regular dining room or area.

The formal dining room is often characterized by being its own room, away from the kitchen with a nice, sizable dining table to provide for an upscale and intimate dining experience. This room often times is only used with guests.

Formal dining room with luxurious furniture

In comparison, your regular dining room or dining nook is where you’d sit down with your family for meals from breakfast to dinner. It’s usually located conveniently close to the kitchen, might be in vicinity of a TV and will generally be less formal.

Informal dining area by the kitchen

The Bathroom Situation

You’ll find a number of different bathroom setups that will reach from 1/4 bathrooms to full bathrooms, powder rooms and bathrooms that are part of a master bedroom or suite.

Generally, a bathroom is the sum of its parts. Toilet, shower, sink and bath tub make a quarter each.

Full bathroom with separate toilet, shower, bath tub and dual sinks

They don’t necessarily have to be separate features though. A bath tub with a stand up shower qualifies as a half bathroom by itself.

Toilet, bath tub with stand up shower and sink make for a full bathroom

On the smaller end of the spectrum, you find rooms with a toilet and small sink or so-called powder rooms. In rare cases you might find rooms that feature a toilet or a sink only.

Powder room with small sink and toilet

Master Bedroom vs. Master Suite

Think of this in terms of a hotel — suites usually offer an extra room or area where you can sit on a sofa, a balcony or an extra large walk-in closet.

Generally master bedrooms are characterized by having their own separate bathroom and walk-in closet.

Master bedroom with dual walk-in closet and bathroom

Master suites — often times entered through a double-door, feature an extra room or area to sit down and read, a patio or large balcony plus the amenities of a master bedroom.

Master suite with patio, sit-down corner, walk-in closets and bathroom

Two Kitchens?

Occasionally you’ll see houses that not only have a sizable kitchen — often times with multiple fridges and stoves — but also a second, smaller kitchen with another stove and fridge.

The additional, smaller kitchen constitutes a so-called Wok Kitchen. This place comes in handy when you’re preparing foods that require frying, grilling or are of generally smelly nature. It helps to keep your open kitchen, living and dining rooms free of scents.

Large kitchen with second, smaller Wok Kitchen in the background

Attached vs. Detached Garage

This means what it literally says — the garage is either physically attached to the main house or its own building on the property. Attached garages can be under the living area or attached on ground-level. Depending on the setup, garages may not only be used to park cars but also hold storage or laundry areas.

A detached double double garage

Any more questions?

Let me know if you find other rare room types or if you have any more questions!