State room

State room

piano nobile. The state apartments are the two sets of rooms either side of the principal dining room (Saloon) marked "B". The owners of a large house (here the Duke and Duchess and Marlborough), lived their everyday lives in, the similarly arranged but, smaller suites either side of the smaller dining room marked "O"] A state room in a large European mansion is usually one of a suite of very grand rooms which were designed to impress. The term was most widely used in the 17th and 18th centuries. They were the most lavishly decorated in the house and contained the finest works of art. State rooms are usually only found in the houses of the upper echelons of the aristocracy, those who were likely to entertain a head of state. They were generally to accommodate and entertain distinguished guests, especially a monarch and or a royal , or other high ranking aristocrats and state officials, hence the name. In their original form a set of state rooms made up a state apartment which always included a bedroom.


In England in particular state rooms in country houses were seldom used. The owner of the house and his family actually lived in the "second best" apartments in the house. There was usually an odd number of state rooms for the following reason: At the centre of the facade, the largest and most lavish room, (for example at Wilton House the famed Double Cube Room), or as at Blenheim Palace (left) this was a gathering place for the court of the honoured guest. Leading symmetrically from the centre room on either side were often one or two suites of smaller, but still very grand state rooms, often in enfilade, for the sole use of the occupant of the final room at each end of the facade - the state bedroom. Unlike the main reception rooms of later houses, state apartments were not freely open to all the guests in the house. Admittance to the state apartment was a privilege, and the further one penetrated (there were many variations, but an apartment might include for example an ante-room; withdrawing room; bedroom; dressing room; and closet) the greater the honour.

Changes from the early 18th century

From the early 18th century, as aristocratic lifestyles slowly became less formal, there was a move on the one hand to increase the number of shared living rooms in a large house and to give them more specialised functions (music rooms and billiard rooms for example) and on the other hand to make bedroom suites more private. In houses from earlier than around 1720 which survived without major structural alteration, the state rooms sometimes became a meaningless succession of drawing rooms and the original intention was lost. This is certainly true at Wilton House, Blenheim Palace, and Castle Howard. On the other hand there were a few houses, and royal palaces, most of them exceptionally large, which were laid out in such a way that the state rooms could be left in their original form, while other rooms were converted to meet the new needs of the 18th and 19th centuries, or where funds were available to simply add on extra wings to meet the new requirements. Examples of such residences with surviving state suites which have never really changed their function include Chatsworth House, and Boughton House.

The term "state" continued to be used in the names of individual rooms in some post 1720 houses (eg state dining room; state bedroom), but by then the original concept of a self contained state apartment for an honoured personage was lost, and the term "state" can be taken more accurately to mean "best".

On board a ship

On board a ship the term 'state room' defines a superior first class cabin.


*cite book
last = Girouard
first = Mark
authorlink = Mark Girouard
year = 1978
title = Life in the English Country House
publisher = Yale University Press
location =
id = ISBN 0-300-02273-5

*cite book
last = Halliday
first = F. E.
year = 1967
title = Cultural History of England
publisher = Thames and Hudson
location = London
id =

*cite book
title = The Country House in Perspective
publisher = Pavilion Books Ltd.
location =
id = ISBN 0-8021-1228-5

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • state|room — «STAYT ROOM, RUM», noun. 1. a private room on a ship with sleeping and (now usually) toilet facilities for a single person or small group of persons; cabin. 2. a private room on certain American railroad cars of the late 1800 s resembling the… …   Useful english dictionary

  • state·room — /ˈsteıtˌruːm/ noun, pl rooms [count] 1 : a private room on a ship or on a railroad car 2 Brit : a large room in a palace or home that is used for special occasions …   Useful english dictionary

  • state-room — noun see stateroom 2a …   Useful english dictionary

  • Room — For other uses, see Room (disambiguation). Rooms redirects here. For the cultural facility, see The Rooms. A room is any distinguishable space within a structure. Usually, a room is separated from other spaces or passageways by interior walls;… …   Wikipedia

  • State Library of Victoria — Established 1854 Location Melbourne, Vict …   Wikipedia

  • State Library of New South Wales — State Library of New South Wales, Mitchell Wing, exterior …   Wikipedia

  • Room 101 — is a place introduced in the novel Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell. It is a torture chamber in the Ministry of Love in which the Party attempts to subject a prisoner to his or her own worst nightmare, fear or phobia. Such is the purported… …   Wikipedia

  • State Library of North Carolina — Facts Name: State Library of North Carolina Established: 1812 State Librarian: Mary Boone City: Raleigh State: North Carolina …   Wikipedia

  • Room temperature — (also referred to as ambient temperature) is a common term to denote a certain temperature within enclosed space at which humans are accustomed. Room temperature is thus often indicated by general human comfort, with the common range of 22°C… …   Wikipedia

  • State Central Library, Kerala — State Central Library of Kerala is also known as Trivandrum Public Library.It is situated at the heart of Thiruvananthapuram city, the capital of Kerala. It is supposed to be the first public library in India. History The Library was established… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.