Talking about your home (rooms)

Adverts for homes are a little different in the UK than in Finland, or indeed the US. In this article I shall stay with British English, but include synonyms (as many rooms have more than one name, depending on things like area and social class). In Finland, houses and flats are advertised as having, firstly, so many square metres of floor space, then as having so many rooms + kitchen + sauna etc. In the UK, the first item is the type of dwelling and number of bedrooms. Here is an example for a flat in a new, up-market development in the south of England, taken from an estate agent’s advert:

2 bedroom apartment for sale
Key features:
Apartment from £132,000
2 bedrooms, 1 with ensuite
Allocated Parking
Master Bedroom – En-suite shower
Living/Dining Room

This contemporary apartment has an open-plan kitchen/living room/dining area great for entertaining friends as you can still be sociable whilst cooking in the fitted kitchen area. Hallway storage cupboards are great for tidying things away, the bedrooms are a good size and there’s a beautifully finished bathroom.

Room Dimensions
Bedroom – 3.06 x 3.55 metres, 10’0” x 11’7”
Master Bedroom – 3.35 x 3.22 metres, 10’11” x 10’6”
Kitchen – 1.91 x 3.49 metres, 6’3” x 11’5”
Living/Dining Room – 3.49 x 4.70 metres, 11’5” x 15’5”

As you see, the phrase ‘ground floor’ is used, equivalent to the 1st floor in Finland and the US. The number of square metres (or indeed feet) is not stated, just the room dimensions. One bedroom has an ‘ensuite’ bathroom.

My second example is of a 2-bedroom terrace house:

Key features:

Ground Floor
reception room – 14’4” into bay x 9’9” coving to smooth ceiling, feature fireplace with wood surround and tiled hearth, t.v. aerial point, power points, radiator with thermostatic valve, telephone point, wood floor, double-glazed window to bay with decorative top opening casements 

reception area/study – 17’9” x 5’8” widening to 8’4” stairs to first floor, under stairs cupboard housing gas and electric meters, additional storage cupboard, power points, radiator, wood floor, double-glazed french doors with opening casements over leading to garden, glazed panel door to kitchen

kitchen – 10’0” x 8’5” range of floor units with work surfaces over, stainless steel sink unit, mixer tap, tiled splashbacks, ‘Belling’  gas oven with hob over, power points, space and plumbing for automatic washing machine and dishwasher, additional space for fridge freezer, smooth ceiling, inset spotlights, double-glazed window, double-glazed door leading to garden

1st Floor

Landing –  Coving to smooth ceiling, inset spotlights, access to roof space, borrowed light panel from bathroom  bathroom – Suite comprising panelled bath, mixer tap with shower attachment, pedestal wash hand basin, low level w.c., ½ tiled walls (fully tiled to bath area), heated towel rail, coving to smooth ceiling, inset spotlights, laminate floor, obscure double-glazed window 

bedroom 1 – 13’1” x 12’0”  radiator with thermostatic valve, power points, dimmer switch, laminate floor, double-glazed window 

bedroom 2 – 13’0” x 8’4” built-in wardrobe, additional high level built-in cupboard, radiator with thermostatic valve, built-in cupboard housing central-heating boiler, power points 

Lastly, here is an ad for a very expensive, upmarket detached house with sea views:

5 bedroom detached house for sale – Guide Price – £1,375,000

Key features:

  • Modern Detached Family Residence
  • Contemporary Style Accommodation
  • Five Bedrooms & Five Reception Rooms
  • Four En-Suites Plus Family Bathroom
  • Balconies to Primary Rooms overlooking the Seafront
  • Detached Garage Block
1st Floor rooms:
Hallway – drawing room – sitting room – study – dining room – kitchen/breakfast room – separate cloakroom
2nd Floor rooms
1st floor landing – bedrooms 1-4 all ensuite – first floor second landing with staircase rising to top floor and potential separate annex.
Top floor rooms:

Top floor landing – family room with skylight windows, access to storage eaves, and balcony overlooking the sea – bedroom 5 – bathroom with jacuzzi

Now then, there is a lot of information here, and probably some unfamiliar words. Estate agents don’t write exactly the way that ordinary people speak, and are very good at making a negative point sound positive (e.g. small = compact 😉 Here are some ‘translations’ and synonyms:

Reception room: this can mean a living room, a dining room or a study. It is a place where you can ‘receive’ people and entertain them.
A wardrobe is a closet or cupboard designed for hanging clothes.
Fitted furniture is built in to the wall, you can’t just move it around.
A closet is a small room for storage and cleaning materials.
Coving is a rounded moulding between the wall and the ceiling.
Ensuite usually means a shower or bathroom directly connected to a bedroom, and normally private.
A pantry or larder is a food storage room close to the kitchen.

Other features:

Skirting board is a wooden strip fitted to the wall at floor level. It used to be 150 mm high, and about 20 mm thick, but these days much smaller, as little as 30 mm high.
Windowsills are the shelves at the bottom of the window frame, inside the house. People generally put plants and photos on them.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sartenada
    Feb 24, 2012 @ 08:41:17

    Are there any drying cupboards for dishes in kitchen?

  2. assignment writing help uk
    Jan 26, 2015 @ 07:38:19

    Hi there! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be
    okay. I’m absolutely enjoying your blog and look forward to new updates.

  3. Malcolm Pemberton
    Jan 26, 2015 @ 09:58:22

    I don’t tweet much, but you’ll find me here:
    Malcolm Pemberton@MCP53
    I’m glad you like my blog 🙂

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