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Standardized Sitcom Housing

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No matter what a Dom Com is about, viewers will have very little trouble getting into the house. In fact, most will know it like the back of their hand.

No, they haven't seen it before, but they're intimately familiar with it because it's Standardized Sitcom Housing.

The standard house in TV land is almost always two stories, sometimes with an attic and/or a basement. On the first floor is the living room and the kitchen. No matter the context (time period, wealth of the occupants, etc.), it's usually built open-plan, so there's no separation between the two rooms, other than perhaps an island or breakfast bar. If there is a wall separating the two, there is either no door in the doorway, or the door swings in both directions. If there's a dining room, it's just another extension of the kitchen-living room zone — a dining table off by itself on one side, with maybe a chandelier hanging over it.

The front door is almost always stage leftnote  and, unlike the majority of houses, opens directly into the living room/kitchen, with no hallway. With a front door opening into the main living space, a character (or vehicle) can barge in with no warning, for dramatic or comedic effect. Also, inhabitants won't have to leave the scene if they're letting someone in.

If the show spends time in two different houses/apartments, the second will usually have the front door on the opposite side, to make it more distinct from the first.

In any home, the front door is almost never upstagenote  — that is reserved for staircases, and/or big picture windows that reveal obscuring bushes and painted backdrops. Staircases always slope down towards the front door. If there is a basement, it always opens into the kitchen, usually parallel to the staircase.

On the second floor are all the bedrooms and the only bathroom in the house (if that) or at least the only one with a working shower. The basement is for the laundry, storage, or (if it's finished) a spare bedroom, an additional TV or a hangout for kids/teens (and the pot smoking if you're in the '90s vision of the '70s).

When shown in establishing shots, often the outside doesn't bear any resemblance to the inside, with different arrangements of windows and doors. Sometimes the house will have way more rooms inside than would be plausible for a house the same size as the one used for the exterior shots.

A variation of this is the smaller Standardized Sitcom Apartment. It usually consists of a living room, a kitchen, two rooms opening from the living room and a bathroom. The front door opens directly to the living room which has The Couch, a small table, the TV and usually enough space behind the couch for some working space. The kitchen is usually open-plan in front of the couch so it isn't seen in the usual couch-shots. Due to size-constraints, they don't have a dining table, or if they do have one, it's rather small. The fire escape can frequently be accessed through the windows, sometimes with access to the roof.

At this point the familiarity of the layout may be a useful tool to acclimate new viewers, but it would have originated (and continues to flourish) as a side-effect of the multiple-camera system. One-camera shows are free to avoid this layout, although some of the elements might still be useful for staging (the front door opening directly in, for example).

This can be pretty blatantly confusing to viewers who live in areas where two-story houses are common only among the rich. The house looks like it belongs to a rich family, but the people living in it are supposedly not (see "Friends" Rent Control).

BritComs revolving around family life are almost always set in desirable suburban locations, with nice middle-class families residing in the classic semi-detached suburban home with the almost-mandatory 2point4 Children. This gives a significant proportion of viewers an immediately recognisable hook, and allows the production team to mirror the standardised sort of home many British families dwell in or aspire to dwell in.note  Flats dwelt in by singles or housemates, however, do not have "Friends" Rent Control and are almost always a little bit seedy and ill-kept, as if reflecting an aversion to the unrealistic American norm.

The three types of BBC SSH are used to reflect something immediately apparent to British viewers but perhaps needing explanation to Americans and others - the British Class system. Type One is the Affluent Professional Detached House as seen in Butterflies, denoting very affluent upper-middle-class AB professionals.note Type Two, as noted above, is the Suburban Semi-Detached inhabited by social category C1 (skilled workers, not necessarily professionals).note And then there's Type Three, the downmarket council house, sometimes (shock, horror) not even owned, merely rented.note  - the "C2DE's", the unskilled working classes or unemployed underclass. The houses inhabited by people in British sitcoms and dramas are shorthand for their social status and class.

See also Living in a Furniture Store.


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Films — Live-Action

  • In Our Miss Brooks, the cinematic series finale to the series of the same name, the layout is much the same as in the series. However, while the living room was square on television, here it's elongated along the front of the house. The windows outside actually line up. The location of Miss Brooks' room is also shown: it's off a small hallway leading from the living room (and thus not appearing on stage on television).
  • In the 1997 informative video The Kids Guide to the Internet, the front door is stage right (your left). As usual, the main area behind the actors is a large bay window in their Living in a Furniture Store living room, with the computer front and center.

Live-Action TV

  • Mostly averted in Our Miss Brooks. Miss Brooks rents a room from Mrs. Davis, an older lady whose home is stereotypically decorated in what was already the "old lady style" i.e. old fashioned wallpaper and lots of doilies. The house is a one-story home, although the front windows seen in establishing shots don't appear in the house. The front door opens directly into the living room, but is actually stage right. The house actually has a dining room stage left to the living room. Stage left to the dining room is the kitchen, with a back door leading stage left to the back porch and back yard (which was rarely shown). Depending on the requirement of the plot, the house is described as having either two or three bedrooms (in the movie, Mrs. Davis describes the third bedroom as a "spare room", perhaps reconciling the difference). There's an easily accessible attic used for storage, mentioned but never shown. On the rare occasions when Miss Brooks' bedroom is shown, it's unclear where it is inside the house.
  • In Butterflies, The BBC's deluxe version, the Affluent Suburbian Detached House, gets an outing, denoting this is a family headed by an extremely well-paid professional (Ben Parkinson is a dentist in private practice. In London.)
  • I Dream of Jeannie: Major Nelson's house mostly complies, with some variations. The front door is stage left, opens to the living room, but is partly upstage. A staircase going upstairs is likewise midway upstage. The dining area is part of the living room. The kitchen is a separate room, but (except in the final season) can be opened to the dining room via a breakfast bar. The major variation is the fact Major Nelson's bedroom (and the only bathroom in the house, an en suite) is on the main floor, the entrance being upstage between the front door and the staircase upstairs. There's only one room upstairs, which Major Nelson uses as a combination office/den. One would suppose that this could be converted into a bedroom, should Major Nelson wish.
  • Boy Meets World
    • Girl Meets World uses the apartment version...with a second floor for just Riley's room with the bay window.
  • Family Matters: At stage left was the living room, which included a stairway at the left. Upstairs were four bedrooms: The master bedroom, separates bedroom for Eddie and Laura (although it is speculated Judy shared with Laura when she was part of the show), and a bedroom for Rachel (this later became Richie and still later 3J's room). Back downstairs was the bedroom for Mother Winslow and a bathroom. At stage right was the kitchen, with small pantry/foyer at the back and a back stairway. The front door opened into the living room, while the back door led to the garage and alley.
  • The Hogan Family: Nearly identical to Family Matters; both sitcoms were produced by Miller-Boyett.
  • Step by Step: Similar to Family Matters, although not identical. Like its sister show, the front door opened to the living room, with the back door opening into the kitchen/dining area. However, the kitchen is in the center of the stage, while stage right is Carol's beauty salon (early seasons) or J.T.'s apartment (in later seasons). Upstairs were at least four bedrooms: One for the boys, one for the girls and the master bedroom; the fourth was likely a spare, until Lily was born.
  • Bewitched averted this. The front door was stage right with a foyer, the stairs descended into the middle of the main room, dividing the living room from the dining room, and the kitchen was a separate room (with shutters dividing the kitchen from the dining room). A hallway leading out of the left hand side of the foyer led to Darren's study/home office, a side door to the house and a second door into the kitchen. The living room was off the right hand side of foyer and had large glass doors along the back wall that opened onto a patio. There was also a half-bath downstairs.
  • Home Improvement is one of the most notable switch-ups in the expected floorplan, the front door was at the back of the set with the kitchen and living room merged at the front, with the back door at stage left, connecting to a sideyard which is the location for scenes with Wilson. This accommodated a door on stage right leading to the garage which would also appear as a set. The neighborhood seems to be structured so that there is a back alley used to access the garage from the back of the house.
    • Also interesting is that there is a column blocking the the stairs and most of the front door from the audience POV, and often there are scenes taking place in that foyer. When they got a piano they placed it in that back corner.
  • The Brady Bunch: The front door was at the center of the stage, with the living and dining rooms merged immediately ahead of the door (as one were to walk into the house), the staircase to the right of the living room (accessible after having to walk around an entry area half-wall), the kitchen immediately ahead of the living-dining area, and the family/rompus room (also the alternate entry for the family) above that. To the right of the door (from the vantage point of the viewer) was Mike's den/work study. Behind the kitchen was the foyer, which contained the washer-dryer and the entry to Alice's (rarely seen) bedroom. Upstairs were three bedrooms and the walk-in linen closet. From the top of the stairs, one passed the boys' room, the girls' room (with bathroom in between); across the hall was the master bedroom, with a master bath. Above all of that was the attic, converted (for the final season) into Greg's room.
  • All in the Family/Archie Bunker's Place: A simple two-room house downstairs. The front door opened into the living room (stage right, to the audience's vantage point), with a staircase at the top of the stage to the audience's vantage point and the dining area at the end of the living room. Behind the living room (or stage left, as viewers can see it) is the kitchen. There is a back door, which opens into the alley, where presumably there is the garage. (Although no mention of a car is ever made; in fact, Archie is known to borrow vehicles for personal use.) Upstairs is the bathroom and two bedrooms; presumably to the left (from the staircase) is Mike and Gloria's room (this later was Stephanie's room) and Archie and Edith's room. Below the staircase to go upstairs is the staircase for the basement.
  • Norwegian sitcoms more often than not have the front door at stage right. Notable exception is At Martin's, where the front door was in the back, right next to the stairs. Still opened right into the living room, though.
  • The Cosby Show separates the kitchen from the living room with an actual wall and door, but the dining room is a room "behind" the kitchen. There's a smaller, more commonly-used table in the kitchen.
    • Additionally, the front door is on the right from the audience's perspective. There is a left-side "back door" in the kitchen, with the dining room door upstage. This almost results in a Justified Trope, as the Huxtable residence is shown to be a Brownstone walk up, so it is not unreasonable that the front door would not be on the lengthier upstage wall. Strangely, said wall does have a window, despite sharing a wall with the building next door.
  • Peter (then Spinner's) Loft in Degrassi: The Next Generation qualifies, it has a large living room - kitchen area downstairs, and up a small staircase is a bedroom area. Earlier seasons if we saw more than just a kid's bedroom the house/apartment would fit.
    • One of the biggest stylistic differences among incarnations of the Degrassi franchise are the houses. The Kids of Degrassi Street was shot largely on-location in the titular neighborhood which consists of pre-WW2 closely-spaced/small-footprint multistory houses; Degrassi Junior High was shot on location in more suburban environs (probably built in the '50s/60s); The Next Generation is mostly made on a backlot and the older-style houses are back.
  • Drake & Josh and iCarly almost fit the description word for word. They both subvert it a little, though. Drake and Josh often had the characters in their room and used the kitchen less often, and iCarly has much of the show take place in the room where they shoot their webshow. Spencer's bedroom, while never seen, is on the bottom floor, as is the bathroom.
    • Carly and Spencer's rooms do get shown eventually but as it's only for one-off episodes they end up just being a redressed version of the webshow room.
  • Everybody Loves Raymond: Both houses have the main entrance on stage left. Both houses also feature back doors on stage right, which are also frequently used. In fact, in Raymond's parents' home, the stage right back door was used far more frequently than the stage right "main" door. Also, Ray's house has the back staircase, facing the main entrance, a staircase in stage back to the basement, and an open floor plan with the kitchen and living room open to each other. Ray's parents' house is single-story and looks considerably older, as the kitchen and living room/dining area are separated by an actual wall and door.
  • Full House: Here the front door is actually stage right. The living room has an alcove in the back which was originally where Joey slept. Through a door is the kitchen which has a second rear stairwell to the second floor and a laundry room in the background. The second floor is implied to be a hallway with stars at both ends leading down into the living room and kitchen, along with the single bathroom and the bedrooms. One bedroom being Danny's and the others belonging to Uncle Jesse, Stephanie, and then DJ and Michelle—after DJ moved into her own room with Michelle and away from Stephanie. The basement, once a garage, was turned into Joey's room and Jesse's recording studio, and the attic above the house was later converted into a suite for Jesse and Rebecca as well as an extra room for the twins.
  • The Banks household of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air definitely qualifies— although their formal front door is stage left and offscreen, family members more frequently enter the house through the kitchen (in the version of the house's layout seen from season 2 forward). If they have guests, Geoffrey is there to answer the door for them and can leave the scene to do so. There was also a set of not-too-often used doors upstage in the living room.
    • Season one was unusual as there are very few similarities between the two different sets, yet are mentioned to be the same house. The stage-left front door was used more often and shown a few times, and the stairs were upstage in the small hallway the front door was in. In the second set, the stairs were upstage-right in the living room. The kitchens were similar, but seemed to have been inverted, direction-wise. The original kitchen was smaller, but the backdoor is in pretty much the same place. The kitchen can be justified with an actual renovation.
    • An odd subversion in the case of the Banks house was that, while most versions of this house are much larger than you'd expect the family to inhabit given their supposed income, the Banks' home had a surprisingly small floor area, at least in the lounge, given the apparent size of the house in exterior shots. Maybe they had other rooms that you saw less, but...
    • In one of the later episodes of the season, as a result of Will and his girlfriend getting back at Carlton helping scorned lovers get back at him, he ran screaming through the fourth wall, giving us a good perspective of how all the areas of the set- including the campus store that had been added to normal locations- were located in relation to each other.
    • One scene in the new house layout featuring many elements of this trope (the stage left door, upstage staircase, open layout, etc.) hung an enormous, "fifth" wall breaking lampshade at the end.
  • Subverted on The George Lopez Show: the family has the usual kitchen/living room setup, but the vast majority of the action takes place in the kitchen or backyard.
  • The house on The Golden Girls differs slightly from the standard sit com house where all the rooms are on the same floor (typical of Florida homes) with a large living room area connected to the front door with a patio area beyond and at the other side a separate open plan kitchen and dining area, the 4 bedrooms which sometimes all seemed to have their own bathrooms were up a very short hallway from the living room. Plus the outside of the house did not match the interior at all.
  • When Happy Days began as a single camera show, the Cunninghams' house had a normal looking layout. After the first two seasons, the show was filmed by three cameras in front of a live studio audience. The Cunningham house set was changed to the exemplar Standardized Sitcom Housing. Its front door opened into the open space of the living room and the dining room, which was separate in the old house, became part of the living area. When you look at the layout it makes no sense with the outside shown in exterior shots. The living room door and the kitchen and its door are on the same side!
  • Australian houses on television are markedly different to the common American style, with one usual difference being that a house in an Australian series won't be double storey.
    • Hey Dad..! is set in a realistic Australian house. Most Australian houses will have a separate lounge room or living room and kitchen. The Kelly residence also varied in that the home office was at the front of the house, as it is common in Australia for a room (commonly the master bedroom) to be in the front of the block, with the front door off to the side in the middle alongside the driveway.
    • The same is true of 'Kingswood Country' where the front door opens into the living room, the kitchen is separate and the back door, which is used at least as often as the front door opens into the kitchen.
    • Mother & Son also had the kitchen separated from the living room by stained glass doors.
    • Livable attics and basements are rare in Australian houses. Basements because the clay & soil conditions make basements tough from an engineering standpoint, attics because rooves are rarely large enough to convert to living space and they get extremely hot in summer, and both in general because someone wanting a larger house would find it cheaper to buy a larger block & build outward to start with rather than a smaller block then build up or down to make more room.
  • As noted above, the houses inhabited by people in British sitcoms and dramas are shorthand for their social status and class. In Keeping Up Appearances, Hyacinth Bucket, a woman with social pretentions and a frustrated sense of upward mobilty, dwells in a Type Two semi-detached. This is used to Lamp Shade her social pretentions. Meanwhile, her embarrassing downmarket sister and slobby brother-in-law dwell in a Type Three council house, much to her mortification.
  • The house on The King of Queens partially averts this by being on stage right, but they use the back door (stage left into the kitchen) as often as they do the front. The kitchen and living room have a great deal of access between them, however, and the stairs do slant down toward the door.
  • Living Single: Entrance stage right for both the girls' and boys' apartment. The door into the girls' kitchen is occasionally used, and there are frequently scenes in the entrance hall of their apartment building.
  • Averted in Malcolm in the Middle as it was shot in an actual house. It's tiny, and the kids all share one room.
    • The same applied for UK soap opera Brookside, which was filmed on a real cul-de-sac on a housing estate, using a number of houses for filming while others held production offices, dressing rooms, and so on.
  • Justified in Coronation Street (where the exteriors of the houses are permanent buildings specially created at Granada Studios - later rebuilt some miles away at Media City), but the interiors are filmed elsewhere on multi-camera sets)- terraced houses of that vintage often were laid out much like this (front door opens directly onto sitting room, stairs run down to face front door, small kitchen accessed through sitting room) to make them as compact as possible.
  • Married... with Children played with the format a little. For the most part the house was bog-standard: The front door at stage left (audience right) opened directly into a living-room with a sofa and armchairs; and then a kitchen at stage right (audience left). The two spaces were separated by a counter, with seats on the living-room side. The main stairs were at the center upstage, coming down towards stage left (audience right) but then angling straight into the center of the livingroom. There were also several notable deviations. For one, there was an area at upstage left (audience right) with a door to the garage, a sliding glass door to the back yard (allowing for gags to happen outside while being visible from inside, like someone falling from the second floor or roof; and also serving as a sneaky entry/exitway), and a door to the basement (also used as Bud's bedroom for a while). There was no dedicated dining area beyond a small table in the kitchen, and the laundry room was simply the upstage part of the kitchen, next to a largely-unused back door. There was also a secondary opening upstage between the living-room and kitchen, allowing characters to do circular chases around the counter area.
  • The Harpers' house on Mama's Family, more or less. The living room and dining area are one big room, with the kitchen separated by a wall. However, there is a downstairs bathroom, behind the living room. All the bedrooms are upstairs (except Vint and Naomi's, which is in the basement). Fans have also noticed a continuity error within dialogue that seems to point to one of the bedrooms "disappearing" when the show switched from network to first-run syndication. Since the basement is Vint and Naomi's room, it isn't for laundry in this case; the laundry room is a little area off the kitchen, between the back door and basement door. Also unique are the stairs: instead of a single open staircase like in most sitcoms, it's an L-shaped staircase. The few stairs that we see lead away from the audience up to a landing; the remaining stairs are behind the back wall and never seen.
  • Mike & Molly has a suburban setup where Molly's family dwell in an oddly familiar-looking house. The kitchen set looks distinctly like the Barone family kitchen in Everybody Loves Raymond with a slight makeover and the living room was actually repurposed from Roseanne with different decor. Other similarities suggest the entire set was repurposed from older series that were no longer being product.
  • On Mister Rogers' Neighborhood the set was a large area with only a living room and kitchen. The living room had the door at stage right where Mister Rogers would enter and exit followed by a closet where he stored his sweaters. In the center of the living room was a sitting nook which had the trolley tracks. The set was divided between the living room and kitchen by Picture Picture, the aquarium, and the traffic light. At times, Rogers would actually walk off the set to show that the house was indeed just a set. Sometimes a bathroom was seen which was the bathroom in Fred's actual house.
  • The Dunphys' house on Modern Family, the stairs face the door directly and are unusually close to it although it's notable that they do have an actual hallway that continues on down to the kitchen or has a door that leads to the living room.
  • The Sheffield household in The Nanny followed the format to a certain extent, but was justifiably far larger. People entered stage-right into a reception area with a hall and stairs leading to other parts of the house (and a bathroom under the stairs), then travelling right were the lounge/sitting area, a separate dining room, and a separate kitchen. Max and CC's office was behind these somewhere. Upstairs were the bedrooms and bathrooms. There was also a large but seldom-seen basement/wine cellar which Fran and CC locked themselves in at one point.
    • Sylvia and Morty's apartment fit the sitcom standard of lounge-kitchen, and was realistically small.
  • NewsRadio has this in an OFFICE: The elevator's on the stage right (though off-stage), the main office space is in the center. The meeting table (analogous with a sitcom house dining table) is off to the side in the main room. There's Dave's office (analogous with a study) on the right opposite the entrance. And characters off to do less-relevant tasks take the stairs in the back up to the booth (analogous to going up to bedrooms), though they remain visible, behind soundproof glass. The kitchen's the only out-of-place location, it is next to the entrance and behind a wall - though it has windows with venetian blinds.
  • Not Going Out: After a revamp in which Lucy gives up the high-powered City job and the central London apartment that goes with it, she and Lee, married now, move to an anonymous suburb to raise a family. Here, they live in a Type Two semi-detached in what is, by inference, a more upmarket suburb - their neighbour is a doctor. The new opening credits are an ironic allusion to their change in fortune and status - where the theme used to play out over a glamorous skyscape of central London by night, the same song plays against aerial shots taken from above an estate of anonymous edge-of-town suburbia by day - BBC standardised sitcom housing on the grand scale.
  • Roseanne reverses the usual template by putting the front door at stage right and kitchen, with a back door and covered porch/laundry room at the back. From there it gets confusing; the basement stairs move from stage left to the laundry room halfway through the series, the master bedroom is on the ground floor, and two bedrooms and bathrooms with an ambiguous floor plan occupy the upper floor. Any oddities in the floorplan can be handwaved because Dan was a contractor.
    • Somewhat zig-zagged since the back door in the kitchen stage left gets a sizable amount of traffic. The series revival maintains the same floor plan, which also survived the demise and retool as The Conners. The main difference is that the cellar layout in the relaunched show is completely different and much larger than on the original show, and the interior could not possibly fit in the real house used to show the exterior.
  • The Royle Family has a completely realistically laid out house. Narrow hallway, small living room, kitchen and dining room etc., none of which conforms to sitcom geography.
    • This house is a little unusual because: The hall to the parents' room is made of four arches, a square, that breaks up the space between the living room and kitchen; the parents' room and bathroom are on the bottom floor; the kitchen is tilted, with one wall — the one with the open pantry — foreshortened and at an angle to give the kitchen an illusion of depth. Logically, it's impossible to create a floorplan of the house as it's shown.
    • This is Type Three BBC SSH: if Butterflies is the BBC Upmarket Detached House and most BBC sitcom houses are the ubiquitous suburban semi-detached (denoting aspirational middle-classes), then this is the down-market version. The Royle Family live in a council estate (Americans think "Housing Project) in Wythenshawe, Manchester. Therefore their housing reflects distinctly non-aspirational working class/underclass who are perceived as so amazingly deadbeat that they actually rent social housing. Their home is a fairly typical social-rent council house with much in common with those in Shameless (UK) - although the Royles would indignantly deny they're like those sort of people, thank you very much.
  • Samson En Gert had a front door on stage right and a door to a kitchen on stage left, with a door to a rarely used basement in the centre. Sometimes forays were made outside to the local town hall, a grocery store, or a barber shop.
  • The Baxter residence in That's So Raven is uncannily similar to the Tanner residence in Full House, and virtually identical to the Winslow residence in Family Matters. (The actor who played 3J on FM is one of Raven's trio).
  • Who's the Boss? - this house was made to have a more-than-passing resemblance to the one in the last season of I Love Lucy.
  • Working Class - One of the few sitcoms where the kitchen and the living room are fully separate.
  • ALF - Also one of the few sitcoms that has the kitchen and the living room separate, though in this case there is a window between the two. This of course was for both plot convenience and shooting convieniece; when company came over Alf would hide in the kitchen, and the window made for convenient operation of the Alf puppet.
  • A.N.T. Farm is this although the front door is stage right. With the show set in San Francisco, the outside of the house is similar to the Tanner residence, also in the same city.
  • Good Luck Charlie is almost entirely this floor plan except for the wall between the living and kitchen and the angle of stairs.
  • Melissa & Joey plays with the layout a little bit. Joey lives in the basement, the door visible from kitchen, and a few scenes have taken place in the dining room, which is location behind the kitchen and the living room. And yes, there is a door connecting the kitchen to the living room.
  • One Day at a Time. Most of the action takes place in the Romano apartment.
  • Somewhat averted in the TV version of Hancock's Half Hour, where the layout of the living room changed from week to week according to the demands of the plot.
  • That '70s Show has a unique example. The living room is typical, with the entrance stage left and stairs that lead almost out the front door. You also have the couch facing the TV and a bar in the front part of the shot. The kitchen is beyond (stage right) and a door opens into another set, with a similar setup. However, the set goes against the trope because to the rear of the set, there is also the dining room (which we only see during family dinners) and a den, which has two entrances. As we see when Kitty shows the house, the set is a full 360, which looks more like a suburban home in The '70s. Where the layout gets confusing is how the basement opens off the kitchen, under the den, and there's a door into it from the backyard that should be under the den.
  • As part of its Pastiche of various classic sitcoms, Wanda and Vision's home in WandaVision fits. The style of the house drastically changes each episode to reflect a new decade, but the general layout stays the same. The front door is stage right, with stairs right next to it and a hallway leading off behind the stairs. In front of that is the living room, a dining area further stage left, and then the kitchen furthest left, where the back door is. The set for the first episode was built to accommodate a real studio audience, and all other sets for the house were based on that (even though they had no audience present).
  • Tetangga Masa Gitu: Both Adi and Angel's house and Bastian and Bintang's are two stories house, with the front door immediately leads to the living room, which is not separated from the kitchen and the dining room, and the stairs upstage leads to the bedroom in the second floor. The only major difference between the two house is that they mirror each other (e.g. Bastian and Bintang's front door is stage right while Adi and Angel's is stage left).

Western Animation

  • American Dad! plays this straight. Front door stage left, stairs upstage in the living room, kitchen stage right, back door stage right with a table in. This presumably makes it easier to plan action sequences.
  • Family Guy subverts this, with the kitchen/dining room through a door upstage in the living room. The exit door is stage right from the living room, and upstage left from the kitchen, and the staircase stage left from the usual shot. If it were a real sitcom, it would be an absolute pain to shoot on, because it's designed more like a, y'know, actual house.
  • The Cleveland Show is set up like an actual house, which would be a pain to shoot on in live-action.
  • Averted on King of the Hill as all buildings and houses are designed as they would be in real life.
  • The Simpsons have a front door which opens to an entry hall facing the stairs. But since it is an animated show, the staff has more flexibility with floor design.
    • Though the producers explicitly make the house's layout inconsistent, it isn't entirely difficult for fans to produce an accurate floor plan.
  • Bojack Horseman has an In-universe example, with the house in Horsin' Around having the front door stage left opening into the living room with stairs at the back of the living room.


Live-Action TV

  • The Mary Tyler Moore Show: Both of Mary Richards' apartments fit this trope. Ted Baxter's apartment (as seen in later seasons, after he married Georgette) is averted, with the front door at stage right.
  • The Big Bang Theory: The individual apartments follow this fairly well, between Leonard and Sheldon's place (the main set), Penny's apartment, Raj apartment and Howards room. What is done interestingly is that Penny's apartment set is directly connected to Leonard and Sheldon set with a stairway between them, which has led to entire scenes taking place between all three divisions. In addition the stairway is lightly redecorated to represent three floors with a separate foyer and a basement laundry room, which allows the characters to have five entire floors on three sets to do a Walk and Talk using careful cuts.
  • Both used and averted in Friends. Monica's apartment, which sees most of the action, fits this trope, just with the door stage right. A good deal of the show also takes place in the apartment across the hall, Joey's place, with the door stage left (on the right-hand side of the screen) for an exact fit. If the people own extraneous apartments (such as Ross, or Phoebe) their design is often more unique.
  • Various locations on How I Met Your Mother. Most notably Ted's apartment, but others as well. Barney's apartment is different by having a suit room and a hallway with his porn professionally lit.
  • Mad About You had the layout of a standard sitcom house, but in a New York apartment. Instead of putting the bedrooms up on a second floor, they were down a hallway at the back.
  • Seinfeld
    • Due to the setting (a "small" New York apartment), some of the convention is broken, even when compared to other apartment-based sitcoms. For instance, the bathroom is clearly visible from the main room (something which rarely occurs on any show). Also, the kitchen is right next to the front door, which helps shorten Kramer's frequent journeys from one to the other. This however is more common to television apartment sets, and somewhat true-to-life.
  • 3rd Rock from the Sun: The Solomons' apartment fits this pretty well. Most of the apartment scenes are in the living room (no couch, but several armchairs and a TV) or the kitchen (right off of the living room). Where 3rd Rock deviates is with their bedroom arrangement: Dick's bedroom is off the living room, Sally's is a large walk-in closet which is actually inside Dick's bedroom, and Tommy's is a small alcove behind the kitchen. Harry sleeps on the back porch. Access to the roof is through the kitchen.
  • Frasier had one of these, though justifiably on a grander scale than usual. The front door opens onto a very large main room, with a large couch and Martin's chair, and a small bathroom next to the door. There's a fair-sized dining table, a grand piano, and some bookshelves at the back, and beyond that the door to Daphne's room, which has its own bathroom (Frasier originally used it for his study). Next to the table is a small kitchen for having furtive conversations in. At the back of the main room, up a step, is a large window onto a balcony, and there are more rooms off round a corner (we don't see the precise layout, but both bedrooms are very large and seem to have their own bathrooms too.)
  • Three's Company: The trio's apartment fits the description to a T.
  • The original incarnation of the one-time big Turkish sitcom Çocuklar Duymasın note  is an interesting example, because even though it is arguably the first original show that helped popularize the sitcom format on Turkish TV, its main set almost completely averted this trope. Even though the protagonists were a married couple with two children, they lived in an apartment. The door was upstage and it opened into a small hall. Of course, the hall opened into the living room through a wide arch which was directly behind "the couch", so the door was always visible in the scenes taking place around the couch. There was a large-ish dining table stage right. The kitchen was a separate room, entered from stage right of the main room. note  In addition, despite both parents having well-paying white collar jobs and the apartment being lavishly decorated, it gave the impression of being somewhat cramped for a family of four, which is Truth in Television for Turkey (where almost everybody other than the very poor and the very rich live in apartment blocks).
  • French sitcom Les Filles d'à côté revolves around two groups of single thirty-somethings living in the same apartment block: the apartments inhabited by the "girls next door" and their male neighbours are a French version of standardized sitcom housing: stylish and visually attractive split-level spacious apartments reflecting a stylised version of French chic and impeccable interior design, or at least what was fashionable for the 1990's but looks vaguely out of date now. Of course, Everything Looks Sexier In France...
  • Averted in the 1981 Tony Randall sitcom Love, Sidney in one respect: It's one of the few TV apartments with a foyer, so that the main living area was separated from the front door by a hallway parallel to it, with wide, open gap leading into the main area. But then, Sidney Shorr was an artsy type. The door and foyer area are stage left and the main living area conformed to sitcom standards (The Couch, open kitchen stage right, etc.).
Western Animation
  • The Frenskys' apartment in Arthur is typically shot like a three-camera sitcom: The entrance is at left, with the open-plan kitchen directly behind it, the main living space is at the right end, and between them the hallway to the bedrooms and bathroom stretches off to the rear. It all fits into a perfect rectangle with all the windows on the same side (namely the right), as you'd expect a cheap apartment to be.

Alternative Title(s): Standardised Sitcom Housing