Ancient Egyptian Homes | Houses in Ancient Egypt
Unlike their Houses of the Dead, the houses of ancient Egyptians were not built to last, and much of our knowledge of the way the Egyptians lived comes from inscriptions, paintings and articles of furniture preserved in tombs.
Homes of the Poor
There was a huge difference in living standards between the rich and the poor. Ancient Egyptian homes of the poor consisted of a living room, a sleeping room and a kitchen, with perhaps one or two cellars for storage. These were built with sun-dried bricks, or reed matting smeared with clay.
Terracotta model of a house,
Egypt 12th Dynasty
Houses of the Wealthy
Wealthy ancient Egyptian houses were much more elaborate. Building space was limited, since most of the land close to water supplies was fertile and was needed for agriculture. Houses therefore tended to spread upwards rather than horizontally.
Rooms normally led from a central courtyard, with the ground floor used as bakehouses, breweries, kitchens and sleeping quarters for the servants. The first floor was used for receiving visitors, both socially and commercially, and the family's living quarters were on the second floor. Flat roofs were sometimes used as sleeping quarters on hot, dry nights. The family was very important in Egyptain life, and often extended families lived together.
Pictures of ancient Egyptian houses are unfortunately not extant, all we have are reconstructions based on archaeological findings.
The Egyptians loved their gardens, which were mostly formal and stylised, and well tended. Pools for bathing were popular, and the garden would be planted with shady trees and flowers.