In homes that lack a parlour or drawing room, the living room may also function as a reception room for guests. Objects in living rooms may be used “to instigate and mediate contemplation about significant others, as well as to regulate the amount of intimacy desired with guests.”
A typical Western living room may contain furnishings such as a sofa, chairs, occasional tables, coffee tables, bookshelves, electric lamps, rugs, or other furniture. Traditionally, a sitting room in the United Kingdom and New Zealand has a fireplace, dating from when this was necessary for heating. In a Japanese sitting room, called a washitsu, the floor is covered with tatami, sectioned mats, on which people can sit comfortably.