sitting area / seating area


Senior Member
British English
The students were chatting in the sitting/seating area outside the campus library. (Self-made sentence.)

As a user of British English, if an area with chairs is meant, I personally find "seating area" more natural than "sitting area".

Unusually, I might use "sitting area" if I was referring to an area without chairs, designated for sitting on the ground (e.g. for picnics in the park or at the edge of a swimming pool).

I cannot find any help with this in earlier threads or in the WR dictionary.

Google ngram indicates that before about 1985 "seating area" was used more often than "sitting area" but after 1985, "sitting area" is a runaway success.

Could anyone confirm:

--- whether any significant difference in meaning should be attached to sitting area / seating area in any variety of English?

--- if the meanings are the same, when would it be more appropriate to use one rather than the other?

--- whether American / British usage is the same or different in this respect?

  • DonnyB

    Member Emeritus
    English UK Southern Standard English
    I would say that in BE "seating area" is definitely the more common of the two. And yes, "sitting area" puts me in mind of a "sitting room" (lounge).