Al's Writing Block

  • Inspirations

March 23, 2013

Writing: how to describe a room.

  • Keep it simple.
  • Talk about colors, patterns, decor, and unique architectural details, if they're relevant.
  • Talk about furnishings and props, especially if characters use them.
  • Talk about anything in the room if it reveals something about the characters within. 
  • Talk about space.
  • Talk about unique details that readers may not usually associate with a given place (especially for sci-fi and fantasy works, where the settings are purposefully different anyway).
  • Describe it naturally with your own personal writing style and sensibilities.
  • Get technical or overly-explicit.
  • Divulge in unnecessary details.
  • Tell about room's atmosphere or impression; show it instead.
  • Overthink or overdo things.
  • Dump details in one long paragraph.
  • Describe things in a dull, dry, choppy, or uninteresting manner; use your natural narrative voice.
  • Describe things that the reader will already assume for a given place, especially if such things don't contribute to the story.


creative writing describing a room

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

i like ur writing style....

You are a great writer. I'll uses some of your examples in the future.

Brilliant, brilliant writer you are!

creative writing describing a room

Thanks for this write up. Very well done.

Thank you. I came from Doug Walker's review of the second episode of Avatar: the Last Airbender where he talked about how the show makes you feel like you're in a room, and so I was wondering how one might do that in writing.

Thanks the writer

really helpfull thank you

Thanks, this has really been helpful.

This was really helpful thank you very much.

creative writing describing a room

Little Ghost Hands

Even a single voice can lure masses into the forest

  • Jan 26, 2021

Room Description? How?

creative writing describing a room

Hello, lovelies!

So, giving a good description of anything in your story tends to give any author a mini heart attack. However, describing a room seems to be particularly difficult.

Writing tips often range from "be as detailed as possible" to "don't be detailed at all, it will bore your audience". Well, what are we supposed to do then?

The truth is, there isn't a single step-by-step way of bringing a room to life. It typically all depends on the author's own style and the genre they are writing in. You wouldn't use the same words to describe a cold, damp prison, as you would a cosy, little tea-shop, for example.

However, there are some techniques I have found in practise, that have been extremely helpful in my own writing. These can both give the audience a feel for the atmosphere the room is supposed to have, and give some concrete clues to what the room looks like.

So, I thought I would share them with you!

Whenever a reader is introduced to something new, particularly a new room, the easiest way to settle their imagination is to start narrowing down the space. This way, when you start adding things like furniture, colours and decorations, it will fit easier in their mind.

You don't need to add those things right after having described how big, wide, or tall the room is, however. Rather let those things come out as they become relevant to reader. I will address this further later on.

For shape, you don't necessarily have to add any descriptive words, since most rooms are either square or rectangle anyway. Only when the room defects from that, like round or triangular, is it handy for you to add the shape of the room, otherwise it may come across as either patronising or overbearing.

The size and height of the room is what will inform the reader the most in terms forming a basis of an image in their head. On top of that, depending on the wording you use, it's an ideal moment to give off whether the reader should feel comfortable or unsettled in this room.

For two short examples: if a room is small, the word 'tiny' or 'snug' is going to bring out a more positive reaction, as supposed to 'cramped' or 'suffocating', and if a room is tall, the word 'towering' is going to make the reader feel more overwhelmed than 'elevated'. So, if the character is meant to feel uneasy in this room, or is simply not in a good place mentally themselves, using words with more negative connotations to describe a room is a good way to illustrate that. The same goes for positive words if the character is meant to feel comfortable.

This works as an initial description if the furniture isn't overwhelmingly packing up the space or if the room isn't depressingly empty. However, if the furniture does have a deep effect on the room in terms of how it fills it up, that is what a character will most likely notice first.

This is an excerpt of the paragraph where I describe the dining room of the Girl House in my in-progress novel:

"Chipped, white paint on long rows of chairs on either side of an equally long table filled most of the long, narrow space, packed further by a stone fireplace on the right and a cabinet full to bursting with plates, cutlery and cups on the left. Not to be outdone, the top of the cream-coloured curtains were adorned by various bundles of holly and mistletoe, their bright red and white berries intertwining with the dried green of the leaves, scraping over the greyish brown-painted walls."

-Chapter 1. Morning Cinnamon

I chose to address the table here first, because not only did it tell something about how it affected the space around it, but it also led me easily into describing the rest of the things in the room, since it's the central piece of furniture.

However, had the table, or any other furniture, not been such an overwhelming presence, it would've been a better call to start describing the room as a long, slender room with a fireplace at the end, and then start describing what else the character sees in it.

So, first determine whether you want to start from the room size to what's inside, or start from the furniture, and allow that to tell the size of the room. This will mostly depend on which one will be most noticeable to the character.

In my own excerpt, I chose to immediately describe the rest of the scene in one fell swoop. However, that doesn't mean it works with everything, If a room is particularly detailed, or the character is sitting at an angle where only part of it is visible to them, it doesn't make sense to immediately describe everything. If a room is less hectic, and is in full view of the character, you can get away with it more.

Another reason to keep part of a room in the dark, is if there is something in there that's relevant to the plot that can't be discovered yet, and so it's not paid attention to. However, if room is needed for a couple of more scenes, and therefore has to be established to the reader already, it makes more sense to describe it fully. That was my reasoning for the way I wrote the excerpt above.

Colour and Light:

Similar to space, the way you describe colour and lighting is going to partially depend on the mood you are trying to convey, either because of the season, time of day, or just the general atmosphere.

Lighting especially plays a big part in this, since it will determine the shadow angles, what a character is able to see, and how dull or bright the material and colours are going to be visible to them. So, first decide what the light source in the room is going to be, in order to have a focus point. Then determine how strong the light source is, so you know its reach and how much of the room it will show. Finally, think of the warmth and colouring of the light, because this will act as a 'filter' of some sorts for what the room will look like to the reader and the characters. A small, flickering candle is going to make a room look a lot different to midday winter sunlight coming through floor-to-ceiling windows. So, make sure you have a clear image of what is causing the room to be visible.

The 'filter' of the lighting is going to influence the colours of walls and furniture to some extent as well, but more than anything, the colours and lighting are going to work together to form 'the aesthetic'. Any colour can be mixed with any lighting, but each combination is going to have its own atmosphere, which you can use to your advantage.

For example: the living room in the Girl House is first introduced when it is dark, meaning that the light source comes from the large fireplace. This gives me a filter of reddish orange light with a limited reach, so the furniture and ceiling are going to have a lot of long shadows. This works for me, because a ghost story is about to be told, and I can use the shadows to convey an unsettling mood. The walls here are already a warm, brown colour, because of the wood, so the colour warmth is amplified by the light filter. The same goes for the furniture, which are variations of faded red and brownish yellow.

However, had the colours been different, the mood and feel of the room would have been different as well. The already warm colours are both meant to give a sense of homeliness and cosiness, but also act as a contrast to the dark, freezing winter outside. If the colours were of a colder variety, like grey or blue, that contrast wouldn't be as strong, and the room may have a more calm or tranquil feel, as supposed to cosy. However, with the light from the fireplace, the colours also wouldn't be as pronounced, because of the clash of warm and cold.

So, if you want your room to have a pronounced feeling, make sure the lighting and colours both match the atmosphere of that feeling, and enhance each other. If you want it to be more muted, or even distorted, you can make the colours and light clash instead. This will help you bring out the atmosphere you want in a more practical way.

Surfaces, Smell, and Sounds:

Sight isn't the only way you can inform the reader about a room, especially when it comes to surfaces. A character will typically touch the furniture or move around the room in some way, meaning they will experience the room in more ways than just through their eyes.

Think about the material and the quality of the furniture, and whether they feel soft, hard, smooth, stringy etc. Think about whether they are comfortable for the character or not. Even consider whether they make a sound when being sat on or not.

How a surface feels can tell you a number of things about not only the state of the room, but also the people occupying it. Specifically, by telling the reader about the age of the furniture, and how well the room is being cleaned and taken care of, they can get a feel for both the economical state of the characters, or simply how much they care about hygiene and appearance.

Each room also tends to have a distinctive scent, whether because of cleaning, incense, age, fabric, smoke, or other factors. These can help distinguish one room from another, as well as tell something about the people occupying the room in question. For example: the room smells very heavily of perfume, it may indicate that particular space is mainly used by wealthy ladies. Or, if a room smells awful, it can show it hasn't been cleaned in a while.

I said before you should consider the sound of furniture when it's being used, but the sound of the rest of the room is just as important. A floor's material, for example, can be explained just by the sound of footsteps alone. Smooth, marble isn't going to creak, and heels on carpets aren't going to click in echoes.

Consider the space as well when thinking of the sound, particularly how the voices of the characters are being carried through the air. Small rooms with flat ceilings, for example, aren't going to have as much as of an echo as large, tall rooms with a curved ceiling.

These can be considered details, which can add character and depth to a room. So, you don't need to immediately address these when first introducing the room to the reader. However, as the room gets explored, they are handy tools in creating the atmosphere you want, without having to just rely on the room's looks to do so.

I hope these are at least somewhat helpful for you all, and if you have something you would like me to cover, let me know in the comments!

Goodbye, lovelies!

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Lea`Brooks Contributor Contributor

How would you describe this room.

Discussion in ' Word Mechanics ' started by Lea`Brooks , May 20, 2016 .

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('funpub_f1b367bd6792475d64a3a77ce396aac3'); }); This is essentially what a bedroom looks like in my story (though it's much wider). Two solid walls and two others covered with these open archways. But I'm struggling to write it so that it makes sense. Any pointers?  


Witchymama Active Member

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('funpub_f1b367bd6792475d64a3a77ce396aac3'); }); Ok first of all, I now know what I want for my dream bedroom. You could describe it as open air. I don't know, but I would probably describe the room based on directional views from inside it. What does the character see when on the bed? While sitting at the vanity?  
googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('funpub_f1b367bd6792475d64a3a77ce396aac3'); }); Witchymama said: ↑ Ok first of all, I now know what I want for my dream bedroom. You could describe it as open air. I don't know, but I would probably describe the room based on directional views from inside it. What does the character see when on the bed? While sitting at the vanity? Click to expand...


SethLoki Retired Autodidact Contributor

creative writing describing a room

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('funpub_f1b367bd6792475d64a3a77ce396aac3'); }); A colonnade style bedroom, its high ceiling supported by ornate and proud alabaster columns, each arched precisely to the other. All grand inside too with a marbled open space that's purposely mezzanined fore and aft to afford views of the city and countryside.  


matwoolf Banned Contributor

creative writing describing a room

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('funpub_f1b367bd6792475d64a3a77ce396aac3'); }); Open air room with big concrete posts supporting the ceiling, and a flush vanity.  


Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

creative writing describing a room

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('funpub_f1b367bd6792475d64a3a77ce396aac3'); }); matwoolf said: ↑ Open air room with big concrete posts supporting the ceiling, and a flush vanity. Click to expand...


googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('funpub_f1b367bd6792475d64a3a77ce396aac3'); }); Really, what was the curious slogan scripted over the way to Geoffrey's chamber, and in this place of such atmosphere, she stroked her neck.  

Cave Troll

Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('funpub_f1b367bd6792475d64a3a77ce396aac3'); }); It reminds me of something either from an Italian Villa, or of a Romanesque inspiration. Though I would like to think there would be windows on a bedroom that lavish and extravagant, otherwise it would be littered with all sorts of things you would not want in there. Otherwise that is what I would describe it as in terms of what it looks like, using the main features of the room itself. It was of columns that held the ceiling high and off the marble floor, and the large panes of glass filling the archways of the ornate pillars.  
googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('funpub_f1b367bd6792475d64a3a77ce396aac3'); }); Cave Troll said: ↑ It reminds me of something either from an Italian Villa, or of a Romanesque inspiration. Though I would like to think there would be windows on a bedroom that lavish and extravagant, otherwise it would be littered with all sorts of things you would not want in there. Otherwise that is what I would describe it as in terms of what it looks like, using the main features of the room itself. It was of columns that held the ceiling high and off the marble floor, and the large panes of glass filling the archways of the ornate pillars. Click to expand...
googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('funpub_f1b367bd6792475d64a3a77ce396aac3'); }); They had glass, but ok... Can I get a partial credit for ornate pillars and archways?  


peachalulu Member Reviewer Contributor

creative writing describing a room

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('funpub_f1b367bd6792475d64a3a77ce396aac3'); }); A columnated breezeway that the garden was starting to claim. Vines had already woven through the archways.  
googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('funpub_f1b367bd6792475d64a3a77ce396aac3'); }); Cave Troll said: ↑ They had glass, but ok... Can I get a partial credit for ornate pillars and archways? Click to expand...
googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('funpub_f1b367bd6792475d64a3a77ce396aac3'); }); Four stumps, thick, cold stumps, stretched to an ornate high roof, decorated in our legends of antiquity. I touched the clasp of my toga, and caught by gust it flew seawards, my message clear to Mark Anthony. 'Huh, hmm, huh, huh, errr,' he said, spirit forces caught in his throat. The senator tore at his groinplate, and candle lit, draped the plate across my full Arabian breasts. 'Retain modesty of Aristotle,' he said, his penis swinging in shadow, the one horizontal stump climbed this house of vertical attraction. I knew how it would not be long, how our bath time together, how a dozen individual slaves attending to our sexual whims would bring us to the verge of very, very burst on this mountain top, under gods. Oh do shut up, dick head.  
googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('funpub_f1b367bd6792475d64a3a77ce396aac3'); }); Never mind.... (whistling and walks away) @Lea`Brooks  
googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('funpub_f1b367bd6792475d64a3a77ce396aac3'); }); I built it in the Sims, but it's not letting me upload it....  
googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('funpub_f1b367bd6792475d64a3a77ce396aac3'); }); Lea`Brooks said: ↑ I built it in the Sims, but it's not letting me upload it.... Click to expand...
googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('funpub_f1b367bd6792475d64a3a77ce396aac3'); }); Ha-ha! I figured it out. Observe: Preferably, the brown fences in arches would be stone fences. But I don't have the option to do that.  
googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('funpub_f1b367bd6792475d64a3a77ce396aac3'); }); Fab–but (as mentioned on a concurrent thread) poss a bit draughty. If that bed were mine I'd be draping the 4 poster with material all diaphanous like for excluding mozzies and a more secure sense of snug. Stop press. Cue Twilight Zone leitmotif. Wifey here has just loaded up Minecraft and by strange coincidence is crafting something similar (not asked for her motive); I was peering into this writing forum world at your image while over the lid of laptop something quite similar is being worked on in another virtual arena. I think it's spooked me a little.  
googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('funpub_f1b367bd6792475d64a3a77ce396aac3'); }); SethLoki said: ↑ Fab–but (as mentioned on a concurrent thread) poss a bit draughty. If that bed were mine I'd be draping the 4 poster with material all diaphanous like for excluding mozzies and a more secure sense of snug. Click to expand...


IHaveNoName Senior Member Community Volunteer

creative writing describing a room

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('funpub_f1b367bd6792475d64a3a77ce396aac3'); }); The room was large, tiled in marble, with a small fireplace at one end. Two of the walls were colonnades; beyond them lay balconies.  

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List of Great Adjectives to Describe a Room

Table of Contents

To portray the right picture, you need adjectives. You need adjectives to describe a room if you’re writing a story or an essay.

Descriptions give you concrete details and show that you’re capable of thinking critically in writing. In your English speaking and writing tests, you need adjectives to impress the teachers who will grade your essays.

You must be able to describe things in a way that holds your readers’ attention. For a room, you must write in a way that vividly shows you know your room by discussing furniture, accessories, decorations, or paintings.

This article teaches how to describe a room in great detail. Let’s Jump right into it!

white wooden coffee table near white sofa

What Is a Room?

A room is an enclosed space within a building, defined by its walls, floors, and ceilings. Anything that divides the space is a room, such as stairwells, hallways, and windows.

The distinction of “room” is a somewhat subjective classification. Rooms depend on their purpose, but we recognize them as spaces within one large building.

Sentence Examples of a Room

  • The room has lots of books in it.
  • Mike’s room has coral walls.
  • Take the room located on the second floor.
  • The room has an ambiance of peace and rest.

Best Adjectives to Describe a Room

These adjectives give a general idea about the character of a room . Some of these adjectives are bland, crowded, cozy, dark, and plain. The description of a room might be the following:

  • Old-fashioned
  • Controversial
  • Filled with natural light

Synonyms Related to Room- Meanings and Sentence Examples

Many words can replace the word “room.” Other words describing a room are chambers, hallway, living room, and study.

1. Chambers

A chamber is a room, usually with one or more openings, in a building. We can also describe a chamber as an ample space typically used for formal gatherings.

Sentence Example: “The Jacksons live in a chamber near the high school.”

A hallway is a passage (usually indoors) that connects one room or area to another. It is generally long and narrow (up to 4-meters wide in buildings), constituting a path through the building.

Sentence Example: The hallway is full of all types of students.”

3. Living Room

The living room is a living space where visitors relax after a long and tiring day. This might not be the most important room. It can also be defined as the central living space in the home of a family or an individual.

Sentence Example: “The living room was full of loud noises and music.”

The word “space” is any area with no fixed boundaries and cannot be filled with other setups, objects, or geography. It’s important to remember that space is a fluid term that can signify many different things.

On the other hand, we can also describe space as a large area that can be used by anyone who wants to.

Sentence Example: “The space was so empty that it was eerie.”

A bedroom is where one sleeps, wakes up, or relaxes. It is usually a private room in the home of someone who values privacy.

Sentence Example: “Your bedroom is a mess; Fix it!”

Many words can be used as adjectives to describe a room . We hope you had fun with this article and learned something new!

List of Great Adjectives to Describe a Room

Abir Ghenaiet

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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How to Describe a Room in English

creative writing describing a room

You might have to describe a room in English.

The most likely situation for doing this would be in the speaking part of the IELTS test. But it could also be in any other speaking or writing test too.

But it is also just a great exercise for you to improve your general English. Being able to describe anything in English shows you have a good command of the English language.

But where to begin?

How to do it? Where to start?

I am here to show you how.

So let’s get started.

Table of Contents

When describing anything — could be an object, a person, a building or a city — you should always start with the basic components.

In the case of describing a room that means you should think of the following questions:

What kind of room is it?

What size is it?

What shape is it?

Let’s go through the questions one by one.

What Kind of Room

In a normal house we have:

Living room

There could also be:

Dining room

Garden shed

For the sake of simplicity, we will use living room as our example.

The mistake that many students make when talking about the size of something is that they often try to be very precise. They might say something like: It is 6 metres long and 3 and a half metres wide, so that is 21 square metres in size.

creative writing describing a room

You don’t need to talk like this. Not unless your job requires that you are exact. But most people have no idea how big the rooms are in their home.

So you can use words to describe the size. Like this:

My living room is pretty big

The living room is huge

My living room is about normal size

It is tiny!

It’s a bit small

It’s kind of big/small

Now does this say anything about the size of the room? Not really.

These terms are relative to the person speaking. So if you say My living room is really small . I might think it is small but if I saw it, I might think it’s average size.

It doesn’t matter.

If you use size words — big, huge, tiny, small — the examiner listening to you has a mental picture of how big the room is. It is enough for him to have an idea of what you are talking about.

Rooms generally come in two shapes:


So you can say:

The living room is a rectangle shape      

It is shaped like a square

Put It All Together

So if you combine all three of these elements — what kind of room, what size and what shape — you could have something like this:

The room I want to talk about is the living room. It’s pretty big, maybe the biggest room in the whole house. It’s shaped like a rectangle.

I would like to talk about the living room in my home. It’s like a normal-sized room I suppose and it’s rectangular in shape.

Our living room is kind of small. It’s a rectangle shape just like most rooms in people’s houses.

So that is the basics — what kind of room it is, the size and the shape.

When you say something like this, you are providing a good introduction to the room you are going to talk about.

Then you can go into more detail.

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The Details

When we talk about the details of a room, it means we talk about the following:

The Colour Scheme

The furniture.

The Window and the View

Most living room decorations are designed to make the family feel comfortable and at ease in their own home.

You could describe the decor as being:







And that could be enough.

The examiner is not expecting you to describe all the features of the decor in the living room. There may be certain elements or features in your living room that stand out.

creative writing describing a room

So you may have a large painting on the wall — if so, then you can describe the painting and say who bought the painting.

For example:

We have a painting of two dogs on the wall of our living room. The dogs walking in a field somewhere and it looks like an old painting but it is not.

My mum bought it in a local shop because she liked the look of it and wanted to have a painting on the wall to make it look less boring.

Or maybe you have a piano in the room:

My mum and dad bought a piano years ago because they wanted me to learn when I was a child. But I was never any good at playing the piano so it just sits there.

It’s more for decoration now.

Are you talking about the painting, the piano or the living room?

You are talking about the living room. The painting and the piano are part of the living room and the little stories you tell about these things are all part of your talk.

In this part, you just talk about the main colour of the room.

Most living rooms are white so just say that.

The living room is white.

There may be other colour elements in the living room but you need to say the main, most important colour first.

creative writing describing a room

Don’t say something like My living room is white, red, green, purple and black.

Your living room may have other colour elements but you need to describe those elements. Don’t just reel off a list of colours!

So you could say:

The living room is white but the window frames are dark red.

Our living room is white but one wall is painted light green.

This is where you can go into more detail.

Let’s look at the main furniture items in people’s living rooms.

Coffee table/tea table

TV stand/TV



These cover the main kinds of furniture that people have.

And this is how you can talk about these things:

We have a big sofa in the living room. It’s dark blue and made of some kind of soft fabric — I’m not sure what it is. But it is very comfortable. Sometimes I like to lie on the sofa and listen to music or read a book.

The sofa in my living room is made of leather and it’s white. My mother always worries about it being clean enough. We sit on it when we want to watch the TV.

And again, if you talk about the things you like to do on the sofa — watching TV, reading a book — this is still part of your talk about the living room.

creative writing describing a room

You can say similar things about an armchair:

My dad likes to sit in the armchair. He watches the news on TV then falls asleep.

Sometimes our cat jumps on to the armchair. My mum gets very angry about this.

Then you can talk about things like the coffee table and floor lamp.

We have a coffee table in the living room. It’s between the sofa and the TV. We out drinks on it and snacks we are eating. We also keep the TV remote on it. It’s a wooden table but has a glass top so it is easy to keep clean.

The floor lamp is next to the sofa. The light is softer than the ceiling light so it is more comfortable in the evening.

Then curtains:

The curtains are light grey. We keep them open during the day and close them at night. We close them and we have more privacy in the evening.

TV Stand/TV:

We have a big flat-screen TV in the living room. It is on top of a large TV stand. We can put other things on the stand too.

My mum has a little figure of a horse on the stand.


There is a rug on the floor. It’s dark red and made of wool. It’s very comfortable under your feet in the evening.

My dad always complains if we put our shoes on it because it makes it dirty.


There is a bookshelf in the corner of the living room. It is full of books but mostly my mum and dad’s books. I keep my books in my own room.

But it makes the living room look nice. It’s nice to see shelves filled full of books. It makes the room seem warmer.

On the wall, we have a large mirror. My mum bought it in an antique shop. I think it was quite expensive.

It makes the room seem bigger because of the reflection.

My mum always uses it to check her hair before she goes outside.

These are just some simple ideas of things you can say about furniture in the living room.

You can say what each item is made of and the colour but you can also add little stories too. The examiner will always like to hear stories in the IELTS test.

Window and View

Lastly, you can talk about the window and the view outside.

creative writing describing a room

You just say where the window is and the size of it. Then you say what you can see outside.

We have a large window at the end of the living room. When I look outside, I can see the houses opposite our own house. I can also see the road outside.

We have only one small window and I can barely see anything outside. Just a wall. But the window lets in some light.

And that covers the details of the living room.

Now you can talk about how you feel about the room.

Why do you like this room?

This is where many students miss some valuable thing to say in the IELTS test. Usually, they just say if they like something or not.

This is not enough . You need to say WHY you like something.

So with our example of the living room in your house, just think of all the reasons why you like your living room.

I have put some examples below:

I like the living room because it is usually quiet and I can just lie on the sofa and relax, read a book or listen to music.

I like our living room because it is so airy and light. It feels very bright in the room.

I like the view from the living room. We look out over a nice park.

I like the two paintings in our living room. They are portraits of people from long ago. I look at them and get lost in another world.

Saying what you like about something is very simple. Just say what you like and why you like it!

What do you dislike about this room?

Equally, you can say what you don’t like about the living room.

I have listed some ideas below:

I don’t like the living room because it is always noisy and filled full of people. It drives me mad as there is nowhere to sit and be quiet.

I don’t like the living room because my dad is always watching TV there. And he is always watching the news — it’s so boring!

I don’t like the living room because it is so hot in there. The sun shines right through the window and makes it too stuffy.

Just as when you talk about the reasons why you like the living room, it is just as important to talk about why you dislike it.

What do you do in this room?

And finally, you need to say the activities you like to do in the living room.

Let’s go through a list of things that many people do in the living room.

Talk to my family

Read a book

Watch a movie

Talk to my friends on the phone/online

Do my homework

Study something

When describing a room, you can definitely say the kind of things you like to do in the room. This is all part of the description of the room.

creative writing describing a room

And by talking about things you do in the living room, this may lead to a little story and that is always helpful.

Let me give you an example from my own life:

I like to watch movies in the living room with my wife. But she only likes certain kinds of movies. If I select a movie, she usually thinks it is boring and asks me to change it.

But if we watch a movie we both like it is very relaxing. We eat snacks and drink hot tea while watching the movie.

Am I talking about watching movies or describing the living room?

And the examiner would like what I said and it would be great in the IELTS test.

That is about it.

Remember the format when describing the room.

The Details — the decor, the colour scheme, the furniture, the window and the view

Why do you dislike this room?

What do you like to do in this room?

Go through all of these things and you can’t go wrong.

Now why not try by yourself or with your friends?

You can choose the room you are in. Or go online and look at pictures of rooms you can find on the internet.

Just keep practising and you will see great results.

Good luck and let me know in the comments below!

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18 thoughts on “how to describe a room in english”.

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This is great advice for students preparing for the IELTS test or for any English class or presentation. There is almost nothing better to hone your English than to describe things. It puts all the students’ skills and vocabulary to the test!

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That’s good to know Leona! I plan to write a few more ‘describing things’ articles.

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I DON’T KNOW what it is the meaning of IELTS, BUT you know what I like it in this IELTS is MORE HELPFUL to my FINAL REQUIREDMENT IN describing a room.

Hi Charlotte, many thanks for reading! IELTS means International English Language Testing System. Check this link for more info:

Yes, this lesson is very good because as David says it may come up in the IELTS exam and students need to be prepared to talk about anything from many different angles.

Many thanks Leona!

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It was really helpful Big thanks

You’re welcome, Ahmed!

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It’s a wonderful presentation of my first class on: tell me something about your…….

Hi Morris, glad you liked it!

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I admire you so much, sir. You spent your time and effort to help many people so that they’re good at English. Best wishes for you.

That is very kind of you to say so, Van! Best wishes to you too!

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It is a very inspiring topic.

Hi Eirik! Many thanks! I hope it was useful to you.

I read almost all of your stuff, and I was extremely amazed with the guide. You are the best!

That is really good to hear, Eirik! I am so glad that you like what I write. Many thanks and have a great day!

You too! Good luck in the future, and I will be following you. 🙂

Many thanks, Eirik!

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Writing Forward

A Guide to Descriptive Writing

by Melissa Donovan | Jan 7, 2021 | Creative Writing | 8 comments

descriptive writing

What is descriptive writing?

Writing description is a necessary skill for most writers. Whether we’re writing an essay, a story, or a poem, we usually reach a point where we need to describe something. In fiction, we describe settings and characters. In poetry, we describe scenes, experiences, and emotions. In creative nonfiction, we describe reality. Descriptive writing is especially important for speculative fiction writers and poets. If you’ve created a fantasy world, then you’ll need to deftly describe it to readers; Lewis Carroll not only described Wonderland  (aff link); he also described the fantastical creatures that inhabited it.

But many writers are challenged by description writing, and many readers find it boring to read — when it’s not crafted skillfully.

However, I think it’s safe to say that technology has spoiled us. Thanks to photos and videos, we’ve become increasingly visual, which means it’s getting harder to use words to describe something, especially if it only exists in our imaginations.

What is Descriptive Writing?

One might say that descriptive writing is the art of painting a picture with words. But descriptive writing goes beyond visuals. Descriptive writing hits all the senses; we describe how things look, sound, smell, taste, and feel (their tactile quality).

The term descriptive writing can mean a few different things:

  • The act of writing description ( I’m doing some descriptive writing ).
  • A descriptive essay is short-form prose that is meant to describe something in detail; it can describe a person, place, event, object, or anything else.
  • Description as part of a larger work: This is the most common kind of descriptive writing. It is usually a sentence or paragraph (sometimes multiple paragraphs) that provide description, usually to help the reader visualize what’s happening, where it’s happening, or how it’s happening. It’s most commonly used to describe a setting or a character. An example would be a section of text within a novel that establishes the setting by describing a room or a passage that introduces a character with a physical description.
  • Writing that is descriptive (or vivid) — an author’s style: Some authors weave description throughout their prose and verse, interspersing it through the dialogue and action. It’s a style of writing that imparts description without using large blocks of text that are explicitly focused on description.
  • Description is integral in poetry writing. Poetry emphasizes imagery, and imagery is rendered in writing via description, so descriptive writing is a crucial skill for most poets.

Depending on what you write, you’ve probably experimented with one of more of these types of descriptive writing, maybe all of them.

Can you think of any other types of descriptive writing that aren’t listed here?

How Much Description is Too Much?

Classic literature was dense with description whereas modern literature usually keeps description to a minimum.

Compare the elaborate descriptions in J.R.R. Tolkien’s  Lord of the Rings  trilogy  with the descriptions in J.K. Rowling’s  Harry Potter series  (aff links). Both series relied on description to help readers visualize an imagined, fantastical world, but Rowling did not use her precious writing space to describe standard settings whereas Tolkien frequently paused all action and spent pages describing a single landscape.

This isn’t unique to Tolkien and Rowling; if you compare most literature from the beginning of of the 20th century and earlier to today’s written works, you’ll see that we just don’t dedicate much time and space to description anymore.

I think this radical change in how we approach description is directly tied to the wide availability of film, television, and photography. Let’s say you were living in the 19th century, writing a story about a tropical island for an audience of northern, urban readers. You would be fairly certain that most of your readers had never seen such an island and had no idea what it looked like. To give your audience a full sense of your story’s setting, you’d need pages of detail describing the lush jungle, sandy beaches, and warm waters.

Nowadays, we all know what a tropical island looks like, thanks to the wide availability of media. Even if you’ve never been to such an island, surely you’ve seen one on TV. This might explain why few books on the craft of writing address descriptive writing. The focus is usually on other elements, like language, character, plot, theme, and structure.

For contemporary writers, the trick is to make the description as precise and detailed as possible while keeping it to a minimum. Most readers want characters and action with just enough description so that they can imagine the story as it’s unfolding.

If you’ve ever encountered a story that paused to provide head-to-toe descriptions along with detailed backstories of every character upon their introduction into the narrative, you know just how grating description can be when executed poorly.

However, it’s worth noting that a skilled writer can roll out descriptions that are riveting to read. Sometimes they’re riveting because they’re integrated seamlessly with the action and dialogue; other times, the description is deftly crafted and engaging on its own. In fact, an expert descriptive writer can keep readers glued through multiple pages of description.

Descriptive Writing Tips

I’ve encountered descriptive writing so smooth and seamless that I easily visualized what was happening without even noticing that I was reading description. Some authors craft descriptions that are so lovely, I do notice — but in a good way. Some of them are so compelling that I pause to read them again.

On the other hand, poorly crafted descriptions can really impede a reader’s experience. Description doesn’t work if it’s unclear, verbose, or bland. Most readers prefer action and dialogue to lengthy descriptions, so while a paragraph here and there can certainly help readers better visualize what’s happening, pages and pages of description can increase the risk that they’ll set your work aside and never pick it up again. There are exceptions to every rule, so the real trick is to know when lengthy descriptions are warranted and when they’re just boring.

Here are some general tips for descriptive writing:

  • Use distinct descriptions that stand out and are memorable. For example, don’t write that a character is five foot two with brown hair and blue eyes. Give the reader something to remember. Say the character is short with mousy hair and sky-blue eyes.
  • Make description active: Consider the following description of a room: There was a bookshelf in the corner. A desk sat under the window. The walls were beige, and the floor was tiled. That’s boring. Try something like this: A massive oak desk sat below a large picture window and beside a shelf overflowing with books. Hardcovers, paperbacks, and binders were piled on the dingy tiled floor in messy stacks.  In the second example, words like  overflowing  and  piled are active.
  • Weave description through the narrative: Sometimes a character enters a room and looks around, so the narrative needs to pause to describe what the character sees. Other times, description can be threaded through the narrative. For example, instead of pausing to describe a character, engage that character in dialogue with another character. Use the characters’ thoughts and the dialogue tags to reveal description: He stared at her flowing, auburn curls, which reminded him of his mother’s hair. “Where were you?” he asked, shifting his green eyes across the restaurant to where a customer was hassling one of the servers.

Simple descriptions are surprisingly easy to execute. All you have to do is look at something (or imagine it) and write what you see. But well-crafted descriptions require writers to pay diligence to word choice, to describe only those elements that are most important, and to use engaging language to paint a picture in the reader’s mind. Instead of spending several sentences describing a character’s height, weight, age, hair color, eye color, and clothing, a few, choice details will often render a more vivid image for the reader: Red hair framed her round, freckled face like a spray of flames. This only reveals three descriptive details: red hair, a round face, and freckles. Yet it paints more vivid picture than a statistical head-to-toe rundown:  She was five foot three and no more than a hundred and ten pounds with red hair, blue eyes, and a round, freckled face.

descriptive writing practice

10 descriptive writing practices.

How to Practice Writing Description

Here are some descriptive writing activities that will inspire you while providing opportunities to practice writing description. If you don’t have much experience with descriptive writing, you may find that your first few attempts are flat and boring. If you can’t keep readers engaged, they’ll wander off. Work at crafting descriptions that are compelling and mesmerizing.

  • Go to one of your favorite spots and write a description of the setting: it could be your bedroom, a favorite coffee shop, or a local park. Leave people, dialogue, and action out of it. Just focus on explaining what the space looks like.
  • Who is your favorite character from the movies? Describe the character from head to toe. Show the reader not only what the character looks like, but also how the character acts. Do this without including action or dialogue. Remember: description only!
  • Forty years ago we didn’t have cell phones or the internet. Now we have cell phones that can access the internet. Think of a device or gadget that we’ll have forty years from now and describe it.
  • Since modern fiction is light on description, many young and new writers often fail to include details, even when the reader needs them. Go through one of your writing projects and make sure elements that readers may not be familiar with are adequately described.
  • Sometimes in a narrative, a little description provides respite from all the action and dialogue. Make a list of things from a story you’re working on (gadgets, characters, settings, etc.), and for each one, write a short description of no more than a hundred words.
  • As mentioned, Tolkien often spent pages describing a single landscape. Choose one of your favorite pieces of classic literature, find a long passage of description, and rewrite it. Try to cut the descriptive word count in half.
  • When you read a book, use a highlighter to mark sentences and paragraphs that contain description. Don’t highlight every adjective and adverb. Look for longer passages that are dedicated to description.
  • Write a description for a child. Choose something reasonably difficult, like the solar system. How do you describe it in such a way that a child understands how he or she fits into it?
  • Most writers dream of someday writing a book. Describe your book cover.
  • Write a one-page description of yourself.

If you have any descriptive writing practices to add to this list, feel free to share them in the comments.

Descriptive Writing

Does descriptive writing come easily to you, or do you struggle with it? Do you put much thought into how you write description? What types of descriptive writing have you tackled — descriptive essays, blocks of description within larger texts, or descriptions woven throughout a narrative? Share your tips for descriptive writing by leaving a comment, and keep writing!

Further Reading: Abolish the Adverbs , Making the Right Word Choices for Better Writing , and Writing Description in Fiction .

Ready Set Write a Guide to Creative Writing

I find descriptions easier when first beginning a scene. Other ones I struggle with. Yes, intertwining them with dialogue does help a lot.

Melissa Donovan

I have the opposite experience. I tend to dive right into action and dialogue when I first start a scene.

R.G. Ramsey

I came across this article at just the right time. I am just starting to write a short story. This will change the way I describe characters in my story.

Thank you for this. R.G. Ramsey

You’re welcome!


Great tips and how to practise and improve our descriptive writing skills. Thank you for sharing.

You’re welcome, Bella.

Stanley Johnson

Hello Melissa

I have read many of your articles about different aspects of writing and have enjoyed all of them. What you said here, I agree with, with the exception of #7. That is one point that I dispute and don’t understand the reason why anyone would do this, though I’ve seen books that had things like that done to them.

To me, a book is something to be treasured, loved and taken care of. It deserves my respect because I’m sure the author poured their heart and soul into its creation. Marking it up that way is nothing short of defacing it. A book or story is a form of art, so should a person mark over a picture by Rembrandt or any other famous painter? You’re a very talented author, so why would you want someone to mark through the words you had spent considerable time and effort agonizing over, while searching for the best words to convey your thoughts?

If I want to remember some section or point the author is making, then I’ll take a pen and paper and record the page number and perhaps the first few words of that particular section. I’ve found that writing a note this way helps me remember it better. This is then placed inside the cover for future reference. If someone did what you’ve suggested to a book of mine, I’d be madder than a ‘wet hen’, and that person would certainly be told what I thought of them.

In any of the previous articles you’ve written, you’ve brought up some excellent points which I’ve tried to incorporate in my writing. Keep up the good work as I know your efforts have helped me, and I’m sure other authors as well.

Hi Stanley. Thanks so much for sharing your point of view. I appreciate and value it.

Marking up a book is a common practice, especially in academia. Putting notes in margins, underlining, highlighting, and tagging pages with bookmarks is standard. Personally, I mark up nonfiction paperbacks, but I never mark up fiction paperbacks or any hardcovers (not since college).

I completely respect your right to keep your books in pristine condition. And years ago, when I started college, I felt exactly the same way. I was horrified that people (instructors and professors!) would fill their books with ugly yellow highlighting and other markips. But I quickly realized that this was shortsighted.

Consider an old paperback that is worn and dog-eared. With one look, you know this book has been read many times and it’s probably loved. It’s like the Velveteen Rabbit of books. I see markups as the same — that someone was engaging with the book and trying to understand it on a deeper level, which is not disrespectful. It’s something to be celebrated.

Sometimes we place too much value on the book as a physical object rather than what’s inside. I appreciate a beautiful book as much as anyone but what really matters to me is the information or experience that it contains. I often read on a Kindle. Sometimes I listen to audio books. There is no physical book. The experience is not lessened.

I understand where you’re coming from. I used to feel the same way, but my mind was changed. I’m not trying to change yours, but I hope you’ll understand.


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The GSAL Journal

The GSAL Journal

Passion, Curiosity & Creativity

An Old-fashioned Room

creative writing describing a room

Oliver – Year 7 Student

Editor’s Note : Students were asked to complete the following creative writing task under timed conditions: ‘Describe an old-fashioned room as suggested by the picture’. Oliver’s response demonstrates some truly fantastic writing. ADM

creative writing describing a room

The room had a musty odour, evocative of grandparents’ houses – the type that makes you feel safe and cosy. It was lit dimly by a tall lamp in the corner with a green lamp shade decorated with light, undulating patterns, all but lost under a thick coat of dust. There was drab, vile, green wallpaper; dark green contrasting curtains; a wide, thin rug with tassels on. A wooden rocking chair sat in the corner, furnished with an old, dilapidated cushion. A small, coal fireplace graced one wall beneath was a white, marble mantelpiece. On top of the mantelpiece danced porcelain figurines and ornaments.

On walls hung portraits of long forgotten people, who looked about the room with a proprietorial air. There was a sofa against one wall – a bland, beige coloured lump, which looked as if it would be itchy if you sat on it. A pink doll’s house was pushed up against a wall and enveloped in dust. It looked sad and lonely, as if it knew it would never be played with again. Next to it sat a hobby horse with chewed-looking ears, missing its rocker.

If you looked out of the ornate window, you would see an overgrown jungle of a garden: brambles and an oak tree with branches like twisted fingers and gnarled, twisted roots protruding from the ground like snakes.

This was my home, all those years ago.

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Writing activity: describe a classroom.

Winslow Homer - The Country School

Describe a classroom is the perfect writing activity for schools. Maybe you’re in a classroom right now. If so, you can write about that. If not, you can imagine any sort of classroom you like. It may be one classroom in particular, or it may be an amalgamation of several, or of all the classrooms you’ve ever set foot in. Or you might make it up completely.

creative writing describing a room

Write what you see and imagine, not what you know.

Blackboards are really quite green, aren’t they? I wonder who scribbled on the board in the photo above. Do you think it was the teacher? What happened? This is a creative writing about setting, but I want you to imagine what happened in that classroom just before you wrote about it. This will affect the atmosphere in the room.

First, imagine the outside of the building. Is it a modern building or old? What’s it made of? Is it well-maintained, or in a state of disrepair? Whatever you imagine, exaggerate a little. If there’s a flight of steps leading up to the classroom, you might instead write of a long, winding staircase. Because that’s how it sometimes feels, if you don’t want to go to class.

Now we’re inside the classroom. In your mind, is it full of people, or are you alone? If you’re alone, why? Maybe you’ve been kept back after class. Perhaps you just imagine a teacher in there, preparing a lesson, or a magic potion to cast over his students tomorrow.

What’s on the walls? If you’re writing a fantasy scene, it’s sometimes better to ground the fantasy in reality by describing what might well be on the walls of a real classroom.

What’s the mood? This classroom looks like a cheerful place with a fun teacher.

creative writing describing a room

This looks like a dreaded exam room.

creative writing describing a room

So does this one. Sometimes it’s more fun to write about an unpleasant place than a happy one. Look at the details . What do you notice after a few minutes that you did not immediately see?

The windows cast squares of white upon the wall.

The linoleum tiles are lifting in places, perhaps where the cleaner spilled a bucket of water. (You can imagine whatever you like. The more you imagine the more interesting this will read to others, who will never imagine exactly the same thing as you do.)

Ask why. Why are all these chairs pushed to the back, and why are the red ones clustered together? Who sits in the red chairs, do you think?

What happened to the children who used to study here?

Notice the smallest detail . If you’re in a classroom right now, this will be easy. Perhaps there’s a lump of chewing gum stuck to the underside of your desk. (No, don’t check.) Or perhaps there are stains on the carpet.

creative writing describing a room

See how this teacher doesn’t wipe previous sums from the board before starting on another. It looks a little as if he can’t remember his equations, so he tapes them above the board as reference. Notice the way the light bounces off his head. What is the most distinguishing thing about the teacher in your classroom? (Tip: don’t choose the teacher who’s going to be grading this particular paper.)

Now, your eyes are only of so much use.

How does your classroom smell? I can smell wet wool, because it’s been raining and every student wears a green, woollen jersey. The girls wear oatmeal woollen tights.

I smell orange peels and peanut butter, because it’s after lunch and 28 students just ate their lunches in here. No doubt some of them stuffed their waste between the bar heaters and the wall.

What can you hear? Even a quiet classroom is seldom without noise. If it is, you might hear the sound of biro on paper. I hear the rain outside, and students from an adjacent classroom about to visit the library. I hear someone at the back of the room tapping a ruler on the desk, absentmindedly but annoying.

Start with the largest detail, and zoom like a camera down to the most minuscule. Make stuff up. Let your mind make diversions. Imagine what has happened, what will happen, what maybe happened and what probably didn’t happen but is interesting anyway.

Write for ten minutes. Then see where you are. You may be surprised.


The windows of our brand new schoolroom were high enough so we couldn’t see anything out of them except the sky. Today the sky was a hazy blue, a warm, drowsy colour. I wasn’t looking at it, but there it was, at the edge of eyesight, huge and featureless and soothing, rolling on and on like the sea. One of the window panels was open and some flies had come in. They were buzzing around, bumbling against the glass, trying to get out. I could hear them, but I couldn’t see them, I couldn’t risk turning my head. I was supposed to be thinking about last . […] It was afternoon, it was May, the trees outside were flowering, pollen was eddying everywhere. The classroom was too hot; it was filled with a vibration, the vibration of its newness — the blond wood of its curved, modern metal-framed desks, the greenness of its blackboards, the faint humming of its fluorescent lights, which seemed to hum even when they were turned off. But despite this newness there was an old smell in the room, an ancient, fermenting smell: an invisible stream was rising all around, oily, salty, given off by twenty-five adolescent bodies stewing gently in the humid springtime air. “My Last Duchess” by Margaret Atwood

creative writing describing a room


  • A short story set entirely within the boundary of a classroom is “ Carnation ” by Katherine Mansfield.
  • In many scenes set in classrooms, windows are highly symbolic. A character will often feel trapped within a classroom, and uses the scene outside the window to allow their mind to wander. Windows are highly symbolic .

creative writing describing a room

Header painting: Winslow Homer – The Country School


creative writing describing a room

On paper, things look fine. Sam Dennon recently inherited significant wealth from his uncle. As a respected architect, Sam spends his days thinking about the family needs and rich lives of his clients. But privately? Even his enduring love of amateur astronomy is on the wane. Sam has built a sustainable-architecture display home for himself but hasn’t yet moved into it, preferring to sleep in his cocoon of a campervan. Although they never announced it publicly, Sam’s wife and business partner ended their marriage years ago due to lack of intimacy, leaving Sam with the sense he is irreparably broken.

Now his beloved uncle has died. An intensifying fear manifests as health anxiety, with night terrors from a half-remembered early childhood event. To assuage the loneliness, Sam embarks on a Personal Happiness Project:

1. Get a pet dog

2. Find a friend. Just one. Not too intense.


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Helping writers become bestselling authors

Setting Description: Emergency Waiting Room

June 5, 2010 by ANGELA ACKERMAN

creative writing describing a room

Automatic sliding doors, beat-up chairs (filled with people who have: broken limbs, cuts, red noses, bruising, scrapes, holding garbage bins to throw up in, are wearing surgical masks, are crying, have been beaten, are holding onto the person next to them for support, reading magazines, books, clutching at purses or holding tight to jackets slung over an arm, leaning back in their chair asleep), overflowing garbage bins, half finished coffee containers

Whispering, crying, uneven or distressed breathing, the sound of someone throwing up, moaning, groaning, whimpering, pleasing, praying, newspapers rattling, arguing, magazine pages flipping, the papery slide of a book page being turned, the pop and fizz of a pop can being opened, static-y police & security radios

Antiseptic, cleaning products, hand sanitizer, vomit, BO, sweat, booze breath, coffee, taco chips, perfume, hair products, cough drops, air conditioned & filtered air

Coffee in a container, pop, juice and water from a container, snack foods from a vending machine, mints, gum, nicorette. Most people try hard not to eat in the waiting room because of the risk of exposure to airborne and surface contaminants.

Thin padded or plastic seats offering little comfort or room, metal arm rails digging into forearms, making oneself ‘small’ and holding self straight to avoid touching those to either side, twisting the admittance band on wrist, rolling shoulders, crossing and recrossing legs, twisting a wedding band, rubbing eyes, pinching bridge of the nose, rubbing arms and shaking self in an attempt to stay awake

Helpful hints:

–The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.

I stared down at my hands, twisting and knotting them as if doing so would hold back the turmoil inside me. Despair roamed the room, expelled on the breath of worriers like me and those doing their best to bite down on the pain that brought them here.

–Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Simile)

After the symphony of coughing, hacking and wheezing that greeted Becky in the ER waiting room, she found the closest antibacterial hand dispenser and starting working it like a gambling addict hitting up a VLT machine.

Think beyond what a character sees, and provide a sensory feast for readers!


Setting is much more than just a backdrop, which is why choosing the right one and describing it well is so important. To help with this, we have expanded and integrated this thesaurus into our online library at One Stop For Writers . Each entry has been enhanced to include possible sources of conflict , people commonly found in these locales , and setting-specific notes and tips , and the collection itself has been augmented to include a whopping 230 entries—all of which have been cross-referenced with our other thesauruses for easy searchability. So if you’re interested in seeing a free sample of this powerful Setting Thesaurus, head on over and register at One Stop.

The Setting Thesaurus Duo

On the other hand, if you prefer your references in book form, we’ve got you covered, too. The Urban Setting Thesaurus and The Rural Setting Thesaurus are available for purchase in digital and print copies. In addition to the entries, each book contains instructional front matter to help you maximize your settings. With advice on topics like making your setting do double duty and using figurative language to bring them to life, these books offer ample information to help you maximize your settings and write them effectively.


Angela is a writing coach, international speaker, and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also is a founder of One Stop For Writers , a portal to powerful, innovative tools to help writers elevate their storytelling.

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Reader Interactions

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June 7, 2010 at 10:50 pm

Great job, Angela!

Having spent more time with my late husband in the ER than I care to remember, I’d add:

Triage area Casting room (for broken bones) X-Rays/CAT Scan IV’s Blood pressure cuffs Isolation room for those with lowered immune system (there’s a name for it, but I can’t recall what it is). Heart monitors Admissions clerks taking information with computers on portable carts.

I could probably come up with more, but it’s late. 🙂

Blessings, Susan

June 7, 2010 at 6:31 pm

Since I’ve spent too much time in too many emergency rooms, your post struck a true chord with me.

It seems you’re fond of zombies. I found a new author site that details a zombie I don’t think I ever before read about :

Not mine. That would be too tacky. But blog just starting out. Lena shows great promise, and I thought it might be nice for all of us to pop in and surprise her with a warm, friendly hello. Roland

June 7, 2010 at 2:19 pm

The whiff of hand sanitizer hangs heavy over this post, Angela. In fact, I feel a cough coming on. I hope I’m not catching something. Or worse, getting MRSA!!!! AHHHH!!!

Hope your hubby is feeling better and life is getting back on an even keel.

June 7, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Great post! I’ve recently learned to do this…to close my eyes and take each sense at a time. To actually put myself there in the moment and write it. Not on the first draft, necessarily, but certainly on the revision. I’ve been there in the ER, and you put me right there again while sitting at my work desk!

June 7, 2010 at 1:42 am

wow angela, i’m always blown away by your attention to detail! another great post!!

June 6, 2010 at 6:05 pm

Thanks everyone for sharing and commenting. Sladly yes, this one os personal experience, although my waiting time was closer to ten fun-filled hours. Still, I filled the time looking at the room and the people, knowing it was a perfect setting to blog about. It helped pass the time a bit.

Sorry for everyone who is all too familiar with this one. Still I hope it helps anyone writing hospital ER room scenes (like the awesomo Lisa and Laura!)

June 6, 2010 at 4:55 pm

The crazies really do come out during a full moon. Can’t explain why, but working in an ER, I’ve experienced it!

June 5, 2010 at 11:47 pm

Excellent post – sounds like you were speaking from experience there 🙂

Shauna (murgatr)

June 5, 2010 at 11:41 pm

Great post! I write note like this every time I travel. 🙂

June 5, 2010 at 11:19 pm

The example with the simile made me laugh. I could perfectly visualize the gal working the sanitizer pump.

Actually they were all great. The sampling of senses have a wonderful amount of detail. Even though I hope none of us need to experience an ER visit personally.

June 5, 2010 at 10:12 pm

There’s part of our WIP set in a hospital and this post makes me itch to edit! Great work!

June 5, 2010 at 9:24 pm

Nice post. This is where I lack and it helps to think of it this way. Thanks,

June 5, 2010 at 2:22 pm

This is a place I know only too well. But at least the new Children’s Hospital ER is much nice than the old one.

June 5, 2010 at 12:20 pm

I’ve worked in quite a few hospitals and this is a good assessment. Though depending on the hospital (and the country), you could definitely work in even more smells!

June 5, 2010 at 12:18 pm

This is fantastic! It captured the feel of an ER room perfectly! Great inspiration, thanks!

June 5, 2010 at 11:13 am

Great stuff and timely for me considering how much time I have spent in hospitals recently. There is something about the combination of antiseptic smell and the ever present glare of white halogen lights that really destroys me when I am in a hospital, especially if I have to spend a long, cold night in an Emergency Room corridor with a grieving relative.

June 5, 2010 at 9:59 am

Great job evoking a place we’d rather not spend too much time in!

June 5, 2010 at 8:02 am

Angela, another extraordinary crafting post! Thanks for being so informative time and time again 🙂

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Dystopian Creative Writing: The Room

Here is an excellent exemplar of creative writing based on the conventions of Dystopia.

This is a student piece written by Mohamed Zakaria bin Mohamed Said. It is entitled, ‘The Room’. Thank you for sharing your writing.

The small dull-grey clock read 8:30am. I rise from the simple white linen and I look over the suffocating space around me that I have lived around me that I have lived in my entire life. The room consists of a bed, old and rickety, a chair and desk, both are brown and worn and a small toilet. I find none of the qualities in these objects beautiful because they are not mine. I have only ever known the dry dusty room that is laid out so precisely before me.

 I move through my room with a sense of nostalgia that finds me at the beginning of everyday. Eyes on my ceiling monitor me like old owls. I feel trapped under their gaze. At 8:40am, the desk in front of me materializes food on a shiny transparent plate and as I eat, I weigh my past against my future. Both are without change. I try to think about who I am and where I came from, but these thoughts lead me to the fact that my identity is defined by the confines of the space around me. I stare up into the eyes again. My whole life I have been under their withering gaze, stripped of my humanity, a captive and dying prey.

My clock shows 9:00am and I begin the next part of my day. The struggle of staying sane . I have no concept of years, months, weeks, or days but only the time that I get from my old clock. I have no control over my life, that is in the hands of creatures that watch    me through their mechanical eyes. Time is transcendent, it proves to me that I exist. Do the white eyes control that as well?

Out of the corner of my eye a silhouette emerges, moving slowly. A spider crawls up over the chair looking about occasionally as he makes his way up to his web. The hairs on his legs shine silver and his black eyes reflect the grey room around him. I walk over to the chair to find the empty plate and I place it over the spider. At first the spider notices nothing of his new enclosure but he eventually realizes. He did not notice the plate or the change in air pressure but the spider noticed my piercing gaze burn through the plate. He felt surveyed and it was only then that the spider found his incarceration. Panic and claustrophobia enclosed the old grey spider like suffocating smoke. His black eyes darted about, his legs thrashed against the walls of the glass. Eventually the spider will die, but until then he would be stuck in a world fixed by the spaces around him. But I will never let that fate befall anyone and I release the spider.

At 9:30, something different happened. I was talking to the eyes in my ceiling when tears or fury and fire filled my eyes, and I wanted the creature in the ceiling to feel justice. A fire started, I felt incensed and betrayed I wanted somebody to understand. I wanted to communicate to the monster that what they were doing to me was wrong. I moved quickly across the room to use my strength against the worn chair and the brown desk. They were part of the reason that I was alive and trapped here. I was a fire, screaming, yelling and overcome with hatred. The sound of my voice became distorted and monstrous as it echoed from the walls. I was distraught and I wanted to become violent. A fire needs oxygen and I was running out of it in my enclosure.

After that it all changed. The light next to the eyes in my ceiling died. The light over my head burnt out. Everything around me was like infinite night. There was no sound but my racing heart and my rapid breathing. I am going to die. I had angered the creatures that kept me here. I had made them upset and they are going to kill me like I was going to kill the spider under the plate.

A part of the grey wall slid open revealing a long white clean open corridor. There was a wave of fresh cool air and smell that was pleasurable compared to the rancid stink in my room. I expected to die but nothing happened. I realized that just outside of was another world, outside of this room represents change. By stepping out of the room I would never go back. Somebody had released me. Somebody had felt enough pity or strength to free me of from my cage. Like a baby taking its first steps, I walked out of the Room.

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Writing Beginner

How To Describe A Classroom In Writing (21 Tips + Examples)

When you need to write about classrooms, you need the right tips, tools, and techniques.

Here is how to describe a classroom in writing:

Describe a classroom in writing by focusing on its physical layout, lighting, colors, and decorations. Detail the furniture arrangement, technology used, and classroom dynamics to paint a vivid picture. Use vivid language to capture to the essence of the classroom.

In this guide, I’m going to share all the best ways that I know how to describe a classroom in writing.

Describing the Physical Layout: Walls, Windows, and Furniture

Colorful, vibrant classroom with desks, posters, and a cozy corner - How to describe a classroom in writing

One of the first things you need to do is describing the physical layout of the classroom.

The walls of the classroom are painted a soothing shade of pale blue, creating a calming atmosphere.

They are adorned with colorful educational posters that showcase various subjects such as math, science, and literature.

On one wall, there is a large whiteboard where the teacher writes important information for all to see. Next to it is a bulletin board decorated with students’ artwork and achievements.

Large windows line one side of the classroom, allowing streams of natural light to flood in.

The windows are framed with light-colored curtains that can be drawn open or closed depending on the need for privacy or sunlight control. From these windows, students have a beautiful view of the school garden outside.

Arranged in orderly rows, sturdy wooden desks fill up most of the room.

Each desk has its own chair and is equipped with a drawer where students can store their supplies.

At the front of the class is an imposing teacher’s desk accompanied by an ergonomic chair for comfort during long hours spent grading papers and preparing lessons. In addition to individual desks, there is also a cozy reading corner furnished with soft armchairs and bookshelves filled with literature books from across genres.

Capturing the Lighting and Colors

When describing a classroom, don’t forget to include details about the lighting and colors used in the space.

The right combination of lighting and colors can greatly enhance the overall ambiance.

  • Lighting:  Start by mentioning whether the room is flooded with natural light or relies mostly on artificial sources. Describe how this affects visibility and creates a certain mood. For example, you could note that soft, warm lighting creates a cozy atmosphere conducive to learning.
  • Colors:  Take note of the color palette used in the classroom. Are there bright pops of primary colors or more muted tones? Use adjectives like vibrant, soothing, or stimulating to convey how these colors make you feel when you walk into the room.

By paying attention to these small but significant details about lighting and colors, your description of a classroom will become more vivid and engaging for readers.

Portraying the Classroom’s Functionality: Organization and Purpose

A classroom is a highly-structured space designed for learning.

Its organization serves a specific purpose – to facilitate teaching and learning activities. The layout of the classroom reflects this intention, with desks arranged in rows or clusters facing the front where the teacher’s desk usually sits.

Key Features:

  • Whiteboards or blackboards are located at the front of the room, providing a platform for instruction and visual aids.
  • A projector screen may also be present, allowing multimedia presentations to be displayed.
  • Classroom materials such as textbooks, notebooks, and supplies are neatly stored in shelves or cabinets.
  • Bulletin boards showcase student work and important notices. Overall, these elements contribute to an environment that fosters concentration, collaboration, and effective communication between students and teachers.

The purpose of a classroom extends beyond physical organization – it is meant to encourage active participation among students.

This goal is evident through various means:

Interactive Learning:  Classrooms often feature spaces dedicated to group work or discussion circles. These areas promote student engagement by encouraging interaction among peers during class activities.

Resources Availability:  Teachers provide access to resources like reference books or computers that support research-based assignments. These tools further enable students’ exploration of concepts beyond traditional lectures.

Multifunctional Furniture & Equipment:  Flexible furniture arrangements allow for adaptability as lessons change throughout the day. Examples include tables that can be quickly rearranged into different formations depending on instructional needs.

Ultimately, classrooms aim to create an environment where both teacher-led instruction and collaborative learning occur harmoniously while promoting growth intellectually and socially among students.

Depicting the Teacher’s Desk and Materials: A Focal Point of Authority

The teacher’s desk stands at the front of the classroom, positioned strategically to command attention.

Draped with a neat and organized tablecloth, it exudes an air of professionalism.

On its surface, an array of items rests meticulously arranged – a laptop poised for action, files stacked neatly in order of importance, and a personalized nameplate that asserts authority.

A collection of materials is within reach from this central hub – stacks upon stacks of textbooks ready to impart knowledge to curious minds. Pens and pencils lined up like soldiers waiting for battle. Colorful sticky notes acting as beacons guiding teachers through their daily tasks.

These resources serve as tools meant to inspire young learners while symbolizing dedication and expertise on behalf of the instructor.

Together, they shape an image that reassures students that here lies wisdom patiently waiting to be shared.

Describing the Students’ Desks and Belongings: Personal Spaces

Many students have personalized their desks with stickers, drawings, and photos.

Some desks are cluttered with textbooks, notebooks, and neatly organized stationery. Others have a minimalist setup with just a laptop or tablet and a few pens.

Students’ belongings vary widely – from trendy backpacks to worn-out pencil cases filled with colored markers and highlighters.

Some students keep snacks tucked away in their desk drawers for quick munching during breaks.

Others have small plants on their desks, adding a touch of greenery to the classroom.

As you scan the room, you notice how each desk tells a different story about its owner’s personality and interests.

The diversity of personal spaces not only adds character to the classroom but also reflects the unique identities of all those who occupy it.

Conveying Classroom Decorations and Displays

Decorating a classroom can greatly enhance the learning experience for students.

Purposeful displays and decorations create an engaging atmosphere that stimulates creativity and curiosity. A well-decorated classroom shows thoughtfulness from the teacher, creating an inviting space where students feel motivated to learn.

  • Brightly colored posters with educational content adorn the walls, providing quick references for students when they need guidance or inspiration.
  • Interactive bulletin boards showcase student work, fostering a sense of pride and accomplishment while encouraging others to strive for excellence.
  • Organizational elements such as labeled storage bins, calendars, and class schedules contribute to a smooth running classroom environment.

By carefully describing these decorative aspects of your classroom in writing, you can effectively convey its vibrant ambiance and highlight how it contributes to an enriching learning environment.

Illustrating the Technology and Learning Resources: Tools for Education

In today’s modern classrooms, technology plays a crucial role in enhancing the learning experience.

Students have access to an array of tools that aid comprehension and engagement.

SmartBoards are a staple in many classrooms, allowing teachers to display multimedia content while interacting with it in real-time. Additionally, students can utilize personal devices such as tablets or laptops to access educational apps and online resources.

Digital textbooks have become increasingly popular, offering interactive features like highlighting text, taking notes, and searching for specific topics.

These resources make studying more efficient and personalized for each student’s needs. Furthermore, educational software programs provide opportunities for hands-on experimentation and simulations that bring complex concepts to life.

Teachers can also effectively manage their classroom through various online platforms.

They use learning management systems (LMS) to share assignments, communicate with students and parents, track progress, grade submissions electronically – streamlining administrative tasks while promoting collaboration among class members.

With these technologies at their disposal, educators ensure that students receive a well-rounded education by blending traditional teaching methods with innovative digital resources.

Highlighting the Classroom Dynamics: Student Interaction

In a vibrant classroom, student interaction is evident through lively discussions and collaborative activities.

Students actively engage with one another, sharing ideas and perspectives.

They ask questions, seek clarification, and provide feedback to their peers. This dynamic interplay fosters an environment where students feel comfortable expressing themselves academically.

The classroom buzzes with energy as students participate in group projects and hands-on experiments that encourage teamwork.

Throughout the day, there are moments of friendly competition during educational games or debates that challenge critical thinking skills. The teacher gets students involved in solving real problems and stuff that connects to the real world. It’s more hands-on that way instead of just lecturing all the time.

As a result of these interactions, every individual in the classroom feels valued and involved in the learning process.

Whether it’s through class-wide discussions or small-group activities, student engagement remains high as they contribute their unique insights to enrich everyone’s understanding of the subject matter.

  • Highlight collaborative activities:  Describe how students work together in pairs or groups, engaging in discussions and problem-solving activities.
  • Emphasize student engagement:  Use descriptive language to depict active participation and enthusiasm among students. For example, you can mention animated gestures, attentive listening, or excited expressions.
  • Show diversity of perspectives : Showcase different viewpoints within the class by mentioning debates or contrasting ideas during class discussions.

Capturing the Atmosphere: Conveying the Mood and Energy

In short, describing a vibrant classroom involves painting a vivid picture through your words – showcasing not only what can be seen but also what can be felt by those who inhabit this dynamic learning space.

Here are some ways to do this in your writing:

Setting the Scene:  As you step into a bustling classroom, the air crackles with anticipation. The walls are adorned with colorful displays of student work, creating an atmosphere of creativity and accomplishment. A symphony of voices fills the room as students engage in lively discussions, their enthusiasm palpable.

Evoking Emotions:  The classroom exudes warmth and camaraderie; it is a place where students feel safe to express themselves and take risks. Laughter rings out frequently, blending seamlessly with moments of intense concentration. There is a sense of purpose in the air, as everyone is fully engaged in learning.

Capturing Vibrancy:  The energy within the classroom is infectious – there’s an undeniable buzz that electrifies every corner. Students move about confidently, collaborating on projects or seeking guidance from their peers. The teacher’s voice rises above the hum, projected with passion and authority.

Best Words for Describing a Classroom

Let’s look at some of the best words to describe a classroom.

The classroom is filled with studious students who are engaged in their work and focused on their studies.

A welcoming atmosphere greets you as soon as you step into the classroom, making you feel comfortable and at ease.

Everything in the classroom has its place, from neatly arranged desks to well-organized materials, creating an environment that promotes productivity and orderliness.


Engaging discussions and active participation are encouraged in this classroom, fostering a vibrant and interactive learning experience.


Students work together in pairs or groups, collaborating on projects and sharing ideas to enhance their understanding of the subject matter.

The teacher ensures that every student receives individual attention by closely monitoring each student’s progress and providing guidance when needed.

An energetic buzz fills the air as students eagerly participate in class activities, contributing to the lively ambiance of the room.

This inclusive classroom embraces diversity by creating an environment where all students feel valued regardless of their background or abilities.

The walls of the classroom are adorned with colorful artwork or motivational quotes that inspire creativity and encourage a positive mindset.


Cutting-edge technology such as interactive whiteboards or tablets enhances teaching methods, allowing for a more engaging and dynamic learning experience.

Additional words to Describe a Classroom in Writing:

  • Adaptive – The curriculum is tailored to meet each student’s needs.
  • Resourceful – The teacher utilizes various resources to supplement lessons effectively.
  • Respectful – Students treat one another with respect, creating a harmonious atmosphere.
  • Empathetic – A sense of empathy is fostered within this classroom environment.
  • Nurturing – The teacher creates a safe space where students can grow academically and emotionally.
  • Structured – Clear rules and routines provide a structured learning environment.
  • Stimulating – The classroom environment stimulates intellectual curiosity and creativity.
  • Engrossing – Students are fully engaged in the material, finding it captivating and absorbing.
  • Inquisitive – A spirit of curiosity is encouraged, with students constantly asking thought-provoking questions.
  • Comfortable – The seating arrangement and temperature ensure a comfortable learning environment.
  • Spacious – Signifying ample room for movement and activity.
  • Innovative – Indicating a classroom that incorporates new ideas and methods.
  • Vibrant – Describing a lively and dynamic classroom environment.
  • Harmonious – Suggesting a peaceful and well-balanced classroom setting.
  • Multimedia-rich – Indicating the presence of various digital and electronic media for learning.
  • Intimate – Describing a smaller, more personal and closely-knit classroom setting.
  • Diverse – Highlighting a variety of cultures, ideas, and learning styles.
  • Traditional – Reflecting a more conventional or classic classroom setup.
  • Interactive – Indicating a classroom that encourages active participation and engagement.
  • Well-equipped – Denoting a classroom with all necessary materials and resources for effective learning.

Best Phrases for Describing a Classroom

Here are some of the best phrases for talking about classrooms in your stories.

Typical Classroom Setting

  • The classroom is a bustling hive of activity.
  • Rows of desks and chairs fill the room, all facing towards the front.
  • The walls are adorned with colorful educational posters.
  • Teacher’s desk sits at the front, commanding attention.

Atmosphere and Ambience

  • There is an air of quiet concentration in the classroom.
  • The sound of pencils scratching on paper fills the room.
  • Students engage in lively discussions during group work.

Organization and Resources

  • Supplies are neatly arranged on shelves for easy access.
  • Whiteboard or blackboard serves as a central learning tool.
  • Books line the shelves at one corner, categorized by subject matter.

Innovative Learning Environment

  • Technology integrates seamlessly, enhancing interactive learning.
  • Students collaborate using modern tools, reflecting a forward-thinking approach.
  • The classroom design supports flexibility and creativity in learning methods.

Sensory Experience

  • The aroma of markers and freshly printed paper pervades the room.
  • Touchscreens and interactive displays invite hands-on learning.
  • Visual aids and colorful charts stimulate visual engagement.

Community and Collaboration

  • Group tables facilitate teamwork and collective problem-solving.
  • Shared spaces are designated for collaborative projects and discussions.
  • The classroom layout encourages peer-to-peer interaction and support.

Cultural and Educational Diversity

  • Art and materials reflecting various cultures adorn the room.
  • A diverse range of books and resources supports inclusive learning.
  • The classroom atmosphere celebrates and integrates diverse perspectives.

Comfort and Accessibility

  • Ergonomic furniture provides comfort for prolonged periods of study.
  • The room layout ensures accessibility for all students.
  • Natural lighting and temperature control create a comfortable learning environment.

Teacher-Student Dynamics

  • The teacher’s area is approachable, fostering open communication.
  • Student work is prominently displayed, highlighting teacher support for student efforts.
  • The spatial arrangement reflects a balance of authority and approachability.

3 Full Examples of How to Describe a Classroom (in Different Styles)

Check out these examples of how to describe a classroom in different styles.

Describing a Classroom in a Narrative Style

As I stepped into the classroom, the air was filled with a palpable sense of curiosity and energy. The walls were adorned with colorful posters showcasing various subjects, while bookshelves overflowed with books of all shapes and sizes.

The desks were arranged in neat rows, each one accompanied by a chair that seemed to beckon students to sit down and learn.

Soft sunlight filtered through large windows, casting warm atmospheric shadows on the floor. The blackboard at the front of the room stood ready for new knowledge to be imparted upon its surface.

Describing a Classroom in a Persuasive/Argumentative Style

This meticulously designed classroom serves as an ideal learning environment for students of all ages.

Its vibrant colors stimulate creativity and inspire engagement among young minds. With well-stocked shelves promoting literacy and critical thinking skills, this space encourages independent exploration and intellectual growth. By arranging desks strategically, this classroom fosters collaboration and teamwork – key skills necessary for success in today’s interconnected world.

Describing a Classroom in an Expository Style

A typical contemporary classroom consists of four major components: physical infrastructure, instructional resources, seating arrangement strategies, and environmental factors.

These elements work together harmoniously to foster effective teaching and learning experiences. The physical infrastructure includes sturdy desks equipped with storage compartments for student supplies along with ergonomically-designed chairs that promote proper posture for optimal attention span retention during lessons or activities.

The instructional resources encompass textbooks aligned with curriculum standards supplemented by digital materials accessed through computers or tablets readily available within arm’s reach from each learner’s workspace position within the room configuration.

However, yet it is important to note that instructional technology alone should not dictate pedagogical practices.

The teacher should prioritize human interaction & meaningful engagement while integrating technology tools mindfully. Recognizing different learners’ needs & preferences can steer educators towards strategic choices regarding individualized modifications. Beyond just seating arrangements, classroom environmental factors, such as lighting, color schemes, & ventilation play crucial role in student alertness levels and overall comfort during learning sessions.

Careful consideration & implementation of these elements can significantly enhance a classroom’s efficacy for both teachers & students alike.

Here is a good video about describing classrooms in writing:

Final Thoughts: How to Describe a Classroom in Writing

Capturing the essence of a classroom in writing can vividly bring to life this pivotal space of learning and growth.

But there are more places to describe in a story than classrooms.

Explore more articles on our website to enhance your descriptions.

Read This Next:

  • How To Describe A Basketball Game In A Story (17 Tips + Examples)
  • How to Describe a Bed in Writing (10+ Tips and Examples)
  • How To Describe a House in Writing (21 Tips for Beginners)
  • 57 Best Ways to Describe Buildings in Writing (+ Examples)

Table of Contents


Search for creative inspiration

19,890 quotes, descriptions and writing prompts, 4,964 themes

dark room - quotes and descriptions to inspire creative writing

  • dark playground
In the dark room, even the ticking had a relaxed feeling, as if it was a heart-beat at rest. Tara felt as if the air moved like cool water and the aroma of her aunt's scented candles infused her far more deeply than it did in the light of day. In the twilight the fabrics were muted hues, as if they too awaited dawn to ignite their colours for all to see.
The dark room was like a place out of time, a place to rest without consequence. The darkness in that way was a sanctuary, a place to recharge and forget the things the world said had to be done. It wasn't that Tia couldn't or wouldn't, but rather that she needed that sense of stepping out of the craziness for a while. So, in the darkness that stole even her own form, she was content to let the night pass and awake when daylight streamed in with its bold confidence.
There was something in the darkness that was like a promise, like the world before dawn. It was a room as a canvas rather than a finished work of art, and to Tom, it was all the more exciting. With each movement something new came to his hand, a tiny fragment more of the furniture and antique ornaments took form, as if they were waiting for him to make them real.
Darkness came like the thick velvet curtains of the theatre. It was as if the daytime had been one part of a play and the rest was to come after this intermission of night. Simon let his eyes wander the furniture, the audience to the dramas played out in that room, to the highs and lows of emotions, and to the love that dwelt in that house. As usual he wandered to the window to gaze at the stars, to peek into the universe... the spectacle that was given when all else was taken... as if commanding him to look and feel both his smallness and his oneness with something greater.
In that dark room there were shapes in monochrome, of course the daylight could bring brilliant fuchsia or deepest scarlet, but for now it could be a scene from a black and white movie. The silhouettes were already more discernible than they were only a short while before and Sarah gazed from the window; any moment the sun would kiss the sky orange, igniting a new dawn, bringing the chorus of the birds.

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Room With a View: Creative Writing Exercises

Exercise one – in this room.

A key part of being a good writer is to really pay attention to your surroundings and to translate what you can hear, see, smell, touch, taste and feel into words so that other people can experience what you’re experiencing. Focusing on the five senses is an important skill to develop as it helps to make your writing richer and multi-dimensional. It’s also a great mindful tool for creating calm. Win win! 

A key part of being a good writer is to really pay attention to your surroundings.

For this exercise, try to stay in the moment. Take in your surroundings. What can you see, hear, touch, taste and smell where you are today? Maybe there’s a smell of recently brewed coffee. Perhaps you can hear the birds tweeting outside or members of your family having an argument in another room. For touch, you might just want to focus on the feeling of your fingers on the keyboard or the way the paper feels beneath your arm or the pressure of one leg on top of the other, the feel of floorboards beneath your feet, or you could explore other feelings too. And if your mind gets taken away to a memory of another time and place as you notice a souvenir from a holiday on the desk, feel free to follow that thought too. Allow yourself to write whatever comes to mind and don’t think too hard about it. You can always edit it later.

Exercise Two – Room with a View

creative writing describing a room

Windows and the views from them can be a rich source of inspiration for writing. They’re a boundary between one space and another, but a transparent boundary and a natural frame for writing. For this exercise, it’s probably easiest if you position yourself so that you can see out of particular window, but if you’ve got a good memory, you could also choose to write about a different view that you know well: maybe the view from a school window, or a holiday cottage that you might have visited. Follow the prompts below and allow your writing to get more fanciful and imaginative as you go on. Write in long sentences rather than making notes. Essentially, you’re constructing a poem, line by line. 

You can also watch this video and follow the prompts included here: 

  • Something is straight in front of you. What is it?
  • What’s off to the left?
  • In the corner of your view, what can you see?
  • Remember the way it looked at a different time in the past.
  • Something is unusual today. What is it? Maybe something is missing, or present when it isn’t usually there.
  • What is out of view (over the hedge, across the road)?
  • What’s happening further away – on the other side of the village or the city?
  • What about over on the other side of the world?

Exercise Three – The Witness

Let’s turn our attention from writing poetry to writing fiction and imagine a story in which a character observes the world from their window. Perhaps they’re a person who loves to be nosey, or someone who simply enjoys watching the world go by. Maybe, in your writing, you might have a whole cast of characters that the main protagonist sees: the woman who walks the dog at the same time every day, the man who pushes the pram, the postman or woman. Or, you might want to focus on one particular person and one particular incident. 

Effective fiction tends to focus around change so see if you can incorporate this into your story. Maybe the main character sees something that changes their perception of the world in some way or perhaps they see something that literally changes their world. Perhaps it’s something that they shouldn’t have seen and perhaps their decisions about what they do with that knowledge will drive the story. Maybe the change is simply that the woman stops walking the dog or that the post stops arriving. It’s up to you. 

Effective fiction tends to focus around change so see if you can incorporate this into your story.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • The post gets delivered to the wrong house and a person who hasn’t left their home for years has to take it to the rightful owner.
  • Someone witnesses a robbery.
  • A character sees two people having a fight and has to decide whether to intervene.
  • Someone overhears a conversation that they shouldn’t have heard. 
  • A character sees or has an encounter with some unusual wildlife – maybe a badger or a fox

Exercise Four – Picture This

In case you’re tired of looking out of your own windows at your own views, we’ve provided some different views for you to look at. Hopefully they might inspire you. 

For this exercise, simply take one of the photographs and imagine yourself into the scene. You might be a character who is looking out of the window, or you might be someone in the scene beyond the window.

Use the following questions to help you to develop the character that you’re writing about. You might want to write a piece of fiction, but you could also write a poem about, or from the viewpoint, of the character. Most stories are driven by the desires of the main character and the obstacles that you, the writer, put in their way. You might want to think about that as you write.

  • Who is the character? (Name, age, nationality)
  • What are they doing here?
  • Where are they going? Or where have you been?
  • Who are they with or who are they waiting for?
  • What are they afraid of?
  • What do they have in your pocket or bag?
  • What do they want most in the world? 
  • What is their biggest regret? 
  • Who is their best friend? 

Exercise Five – Objects

We’re surrounded by objects in our homes and what can seem ordinary and boring can soon be transformed into something interesting if we bring our attention and imagination to it.

For this exercise, pick an object from the room where you’re sitting and use it as the starting point for a piece of writing. 

You might want to tell the literal story of what it is and where it came from or you could make it the centre of a fictional piece. Maybe that little box from your holiday in Spain is actually a repository for all of the secrets of the universe, or perhaps your notebook is enchanted and everything you write in it becomes true. 

Maybe that little box from your holiday in Spain is actually a repository for all of the secrets of the universe?

Another exercise to try is to write from the point of view of the object. How does it feel to be the necklace that no-one very takes out of the jewellery box or the book that someone bought just to show off but which never gets opened?

Maybe you could write about two objects and their relationship. Perhaps the salt pot has a vendetta against the pepper pot or maybe the fork is in love with teapot. 

Have fun with it.

“It is perfectly okay to write garbage–as long as you edit brilliantly.’ C. J. Cherryh

Editing is a fundamental part of the writing process. Some writers enjoy the first burst of creativity more than editing, but others love that process of stripping out the unnecessary parts of their work and shaping it into a finished piece. 

I like to imagine editing as being a bit like sculpting; the finished story or poem is in there and your job as an editor is to chip away at the raw materials (your first draft) to smooth and polish the final work of art. Most writers write several drafts before they get to a piece that they’re happy with and, if you want to be a writer, it’s an important lesson to learn, that something is rarely finished at the first attempt. Invariably there’s a lot that can be done to improve a piece of writing and sometimes the finished article bears little resemblance to the piece you started out with. You write as a writer, but you need to edit as a reader.

Here are some tips to help you to improve your first draft. 

creative writing describing a room

General tips

  • If you have time, leave your writing for a while before you start to edit it. That way you can view it as a reader.
  • Read your work aloud. You’re bound to find yourself editing as you go along as you’ll sense which bits flow and which bits don’t.
  • Give it to a few trusted readers to read. They will pick up things that you’re too close to see. Make sure you choose your readers wisely though. You don’t want the opinions of people who are too close to you who’ll be afraid of hurting your feelings (e.g. your mum) nor do you want people who are too critical or competitive. Other writers usually make for good critics as they know how precious your work is and they also know what to look for. 
  • Think about what the purpose of your writing is. Can you summarise it in a paragraph? What do you want your reader to think or feel after they’ve read it? It helps if you can keep this in mind as you edit and try to make sure that everything you write serves this purpose.
  • Is your opening the best one? Does it make the reader want to read on? It’s usually a good idea to get straight to the point and the action. Can you cut the first paragraph or page? Often we’re finding our own way into the story at the beginning and our opening isn’t the right one.
  • That said, you want your reader to feel quickly located in your story and clear what it’s going to be about. You might find it helpful to think about the w’s: who, what, where, why and when. Can you convey the basics of this information quickly and succinctly?
  • Lay some hooks and questions to get the reader interested at the beginning. It’s a delicate balance between giving enough information so that the reader isn’t confused, and leaving them intrigued and guessing what’s going to happen next.
  • Are you showing rather than telling? This is a big topic and something you’ll be able to find out more about online. Generally-speaking, you want to feel like you’re in control of a movie set and that you, as writer, are directing the film, showing the reader the action as it unfolds rather than telling the story. The reader doesn’t want to hear your voice but the voices of the characters. 
  • Check your viewpoint. Usually it’s best to stick with one character’s point of view or to be very clear that you’re switching to another character (e.g. by starting a new page of chapter). Be careful not to flit between characters’ heads unconsciously as this can make the reader feel confused and disorientated. One way to check this is to ask yourself the question: ‘says who?’ at the end of every sentence. 
  • Check for repetition and see if you can use different words and phrasing. 
  • Use as few words as possible. You don’t need to explain things in several different ways e.g. don’t say, “ ‘I’m furious,’ screamed Jen, angrily.” One way of letting us know that she’s angry is enough.
  • Where possible, avoid feeling words and show emotions in different ways e.g. with body language and physical sensations i.e. ‘she sank to the floor, her body wracked with sobs’ as opposed to ‘she felt really upset.’
  • Don’t overdo it though. You don’t need to reference the tightness in someone’s chest every time they feel anxious and beware of mentioning the same things over and over again e.g. scratching chin, playing with hair, winking. How often do people really wink in real life?
  • Avoid using too many adverbs and adjectives, especially adverbs.Often, you can replace an adverb by choosing a better verb e.g. instead of saying ‘he shut the door noisily ’, you could say ‘he slammed the door.’
  • Use dialogue to bring your prose to life and to show character rather than describing everything.
  • Don’t overuse names. Unless it’s confusing, use ‘he’ and ‘she’.
  • Be careful when choosing character names to choose names that sound very different. If your three main characters are called Ahmed, Abdul and Ahad, your reader is likely to get confused.
  • Don’t feel you have to use complicated dialogue tags: ‘he said’ and ‘she said’ are usually better than ‘he expostulated’ and ‘she exclaimed’. 
  • Don’t give too much information and try to make it natural when you can e.g. a character wouldn’t say, ‘when Matt, my husband, came home from his work at the local hospital.’ She’d just say, ‘when Matt came home from work.’
  • Check that you’re indenting each paragraph and each time a new person speaks.
  • It’s generally accepted practice in the UK to use one inverted comma for dialogue and to put the punctuation inside the inverted commas e.g. ‘Are you coming for your dinner?’

Editing poetry is a bit more complicated as poetry is more open to interpretation and individualistic stylistic choices but here are a few things you can look for.

  • Read your poem out loud several times. How it sounds is as important as how it looks on the page. 
  • Are you using the perfect word? Poets think really hard about every word. They’re thinking about the sound and shape of the word as well as its meaning.
  • Think about where you position your words. Does a line sound better if you turn it around? 
  • Consider line lengths and stanzas or the overall shape and balance of the poem.
  • Think about which words go at the ends of the line. You probably don’t want to end lines with words conjunctions like ‘and’, ‘or’ and ‘because’. 
  • If you’re rhyming a poem, make sure you’re not just using a word because it rhymes. If you are, then think about a different way to say what you’re trying to say.
  • Be consistent with your punctuation and capitalisation. Some poets use capitals at the beginning of each and some don’t. Either is ok but make sure you’ve thought about your stylistic choice. 
  • Does your imagery make sense? Poets often make use of similes and metaphors. One or two carefully-chosen metaphors are usually more effective that lots. 
  • Have you used other poetic techniques e.g. alliteration and assonance? Could these be strengthened? 
  • Think about your beginning and your ending. Are you starting and ending with two of your best lines?

Don’t forget to follow us on social for regular writing prompts and challenges; @thelitplatform / @theliteraryplatform.


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