Living Rooms

Living Rooms
Genre : Lifestyle
Published : 10 Nov 2022 - Peninsula Press
'Today the ideal home remains a site of illusory ease, a space that can be wiped clean of the residues of living...'

In this radical and elegiac essay, Sam Johnson-Schlee invites readers to consider the dreams and fantasies we have about our homes, and their underlying reality.

Living Rooms blends history, theory, and memoir as it moves between the colonial trade in house plants, Proustian reminiscence, and razor-sharp critique of rentier capitalism. Johnson-Schlee suggests that, by looking closely at the places where we live, we can confront political realities that extend out into the world.

In the way we furnish our homes, might we be unconsciously imagining a different kind of life? In the way we arrange our sofas, picture frames, and our pot plants, are we dreaming of a better world? And what would it mean to reject the notion that a house should be a commodity, and to embrace the idea of a truly living room?


At the book’s end, Johnson-Schlee imagines a world where we could ‘take threads and draw lines between every interaction, every instant of collective joy, every borrowed utensil and every shared loaf’. LIVING ROOMS, itself, performs this work with eloquent enquiry: scrutinising our homes, looking closely at their fibres, and opening them out through their connections with the world.


It’s impossible to feel the same way about your home and how you furnish it after reading this joyful, revelatory, astounding book.

Olivia Laing

I loved this gorgeous and original book.

Katherine Angel

Marvellous, brilliant, and charming. You won’t ever look at your living room in the same way again.

Amelia Horgan

LIVING ROOMS explores what domestic spaces say about class and belonging, from chintz to cleanfluencers.

Book of the Day, New Statesman

A moving consideration of interiors, LIVING ROOMS is filled with pleasingly eccentric notes and digressions.

An Other Magazine

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