descriptors / writers resources

11 Ways to Describe Rooms

For the next few months, weekly writing tips will include word choice suggestions. That includes:

  • colorful and original descriptions
  • pithy words and phrases
  • picture nouns and action verbs
  • writing that draws a reader in and addicts them to your voice

I keep a  collection of descriptions that have pulled me into the books. I’m fascinated how authors can–in just a few words–put me in the middle of their story and make me want to stay there. This one’s on how to describe rooms.

A note: These are for inspiration only. They can’t be copied because they’ve been pulled directly from an author’s copyrighted manuscript (intellectual property is immediately copyrighted when published).describe a kitchen

  1. Viking, Miele, KitchenAid, Sub-Zero, separate freezer, wine cooler, radiant bulb cookers. Stainless steel and oak. Pots and implements sat in glass-doored cabinets along one entire wall.
  2. Oversized reading chair
  3. A lazy Susan in the middle of the table
  4. Between them was a pot of something steaming and one upside-down mug and an ashtray with a cigarette burning in it.
  5. Past the lobby, a central dining area held a dozen tables, all filled with patrons. A din of laughter and chatter, in Mandarin, inhabited the space as waiters moved quickly between tables.
  6. I could settle into a deep overstuffed couch,  order a beer from a tuxedoed waiter and listen to the harp.
  7. On top of the table were two tea cups, both filled, tiny clouds of steam rising up from the tea. Two plates, on top of one was a hard-boiled egg, cracked open, and a piece of rye toast, a bite missing.
  8. Cabral’s threadbare apartment where like his bandmate Hernandez, he lived alone and sparely. There was no sign of a wife or children. No framed photos, no school drawings on the refrigerator.
  9. Entering this room always felt like entering a time warp.
  10. The walls were lined floor-to-ceiling in bookshelves, every inch filled, and in the corner of the room as a simple desk, neat and orderly, a few piles of paper stacked in the middle, and a small light on. In the center of the room, two red sofas faced each other across a large, round glass coffee table.
  11. Dickensian warren piled high with yellowed catalogs

More descriptors:

17 Ways to Describe Law Enforcement

24 Ways to Describe Pain

57 Ways to Describe Talking in a Novel

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her book at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.

42 thoughts on “11 Ways to Describe Rooms

    • There’s definitely a balance. Some authors do so much describing, I’d call them ‘setting-drive’ as opposed to character- or plot-driven. I like equal measure of all three.


  1. Excellent post… these expressions are so useful for those of us who speak-read-write English as a First Foreign language… Thanks for sharing Jacqui… Sending best wishes. Aquileana 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sorry–I don’t remember. I often thought I should include credit, but I know I would have not kept the list then. And as long as I’m well below 10% of the book, I’m within copyright laws. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A great list, Jacqui. How a person lives describes who they are as much as what they say, where they work, and how they choose to dress. Other items to consider are the view from the windows, the lighting, the height of the ceiling, and the sounds, as music playing or TV chatter.

    Liked by 1 person

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