Saudi Arabia: The Ladies Salon

When one is invited to the home of a Saudi the guest will be taken to the salon.  The salon is the same as what the Western world calls either the living room or the parlor.  Due to families which continue to practice segregation, in Saudi Arabia there usually is both a men’s salon and a ladies salon.  The salon’s can also be separate from the family room which is generally limited to family and closest friends.

The men’s salon is generally the nicer and more formal of the salons.  It can be decorated in either neutral colors and furnishings or can be a very masculine room.  Many men’s salons will have lovely Persian carpets adorning the marble floors.

Whereas the ladies salon may likely be furnished in pastel colors and with feminine accessories.  If young children are likely taken to the ladies salon when there is company, it may be more casually outfitted.  I’ve seen quite a gamut of ladies salons which have ranged from very frilly, feminine and expensively furnished to casual furnishings with throw rugs.

Both salons will usually have a television.  The salons will also have easy access to a washroom.

Because my husband had a large extended family in Saudi Arabia, we kept our ladies salon casual and informal.  It was a large room and was equipped with a tv.  The floors were marble (as is common) and we had a large carpet over the floor.  The furniture was leather which was easy to keep clean besides being comfortable.

Since Abdullah passed away I now live in a small place by myself.  I no longer need to have separate salons.  Instead, I have a comfortable sized living room which does not hold a tv.  My living room is set up for enjoyable visits with comfortable furniture and an oversized coffee table ideal for impromptu meals.  While in Saudi Arabia my ladies salon was neutral in style, I did something with my living room that I probably would never have done were Abdullah still alive.  I chose to have the walls of my living room painted a pale pink!  The pale pink walls go well with the rest of my color theme of jade green, crème and gold.  I think my son summed up my living room better than anyone when he told me that I created my very own mom’s cave! 

I’m fortunate to also have a small den.  This is where I’ve chosen to have a tv.  The den is more like a men’s salon with its walls of seafoam green and dark wooden furniture.  This is also the room where my son likes to settle himself when he comes to visit me.

Even though I’ve been in my place in the States for two years now I still find myself often referring to my two rooms (living room and den) as the salons.  I guess old habits do die hard.

nb:  the photo was taken in American Bedu’s ‘living room’ while hosting a Japanese guest.


12 Responses

  1. Thank you for posting the pictures. One of my students tried to describe the salon in her house which was furnished with old style, heavy furniture. It is very interesting to see how your home was furnished. Thanks!

    Best wishes to you.

  2. I decided to google a bit more on “saudi living rooms” and also a bit of saudi decorations, and all the pics I found were of huge rooms with marble floors, expensive looking chandeliers (chrystals and gold) and huge furniture painted in gold, to make it worse, the cushions appeared to be flowery and in bright colours.
    Now, to be honest with you, I found this style very disturbing if not awful… my question here is: is this actually the norm?
    (gosh I hope not!)

  3. The Ladies Salon looks like the waiting room of my dentist’s office..

  4. I actually don’t think I would mind having a men’s salon and a women’s salon. Even in the US we often naturally separate men and women. The men watch the game, while the women sit and gossip.

  5. Latinmusulimah, I’m now off to google rooms out of curiosity.

    I live in the western part of the US and I believe we are some of the most informal people in the world. I have to be careful when I travel to respect the more formal customs of other cultures. The first salon picture is beautiful but I feel I would need to mind my manners there.

    And Heather I agree one does see a bit of voluntary segregation in the western world.

  6. You’ll find all kind of salon styles among both the men and the ladies salon. The first picture is more typical of a “smaller” salon found in a palace.

    Some smaller homes may not have the formal type of salon for men but instead have a “bedu style” tent outside which they’ll use. These tents are equipped with both heating and a/c.

  7. annie,
    this is the style im talking about, you can find these sort of furniture and carpets in a smaller (cheaper) dimension, but still the same style

  8. I loved your ”salon” and the atmosphere in your house. Always improved by the presence of a few very sociable kitties 🙂

    Actually the word ”salon” goes in Dutch too, although it would be used for a formal grand type of room. My grandmother had a casual living room and a ”salon”, only used for the grander occasions and visits. So did my aunts, who lived on large nineteenth century farms, the grand sitting room is also called the ”best room”.

    This is the type of farm I am talking about:

  9. I am thrilled you got to visit with me in my salon! It’s time for a repeat visit!!

    You reminded me of my grandmother’s home. She had a formal living room (parlor) and I guess what we now call a ‘family room.’ Except in her home, she always referred to it as the ‘rumpus room.’

  10. Love the word ”rumpus room”! I am adding it to my vocabulary 😀

  11. What happened to your two cats? Were they allowed in your living room when relatives were there?

    Please post a thread about your cats. Are they doing fine?

  12. @Amatullah – my two cats are doing great – thanks! It depended on which relatives were visiting on whether the cats were allowed in the formal salon.

    Thank you for the suggestion and I will do an update on my kitties! I can’t believe they’re both 14 years old now!!

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