Reasoning with Vampires makes a good point: rooms are very personal and are a great way to display a character’s personality. When I looked through my book, I found I did it quite a bit (even though I feel like description is not my strong suit and almost everything in the book is dialogue-driven). Here are some of my examples:
Isaac had, for the most part, been fairly tidy, but here and there something was out of place: a magazine casually tossed on the sofa; a post-it note stuck to his computer monitor; a sock half-hidden under a chair. It looked as though he had just left—as if he was coming back.
[Kalyn’s mother goes into Isaac’s bedroom] She sat down on the unmade bed and looked around. It had been a long time since she had been in it. Isaac had painted it a different color and changed the carpet sometime in the past twenty-five years, but other than that, it looked pretty much the same—down to the clothes hamper, which looked as if it had just belched a few stray pieces of clothing onto the floor.
Anselm went through the kitchen and stepped down into the garage. Kalyn followed him, looking around. His car was parked outside and the garage door was open—sunlight and a soft breeze coming in. Tools and garden equipment were arranged neatly on pegboards, shelves, and racks along the walls. It looked like an advertisement for some sort of home organization system. And the garage itself was so clean, it looked as though it had never been used. There wasn’t so much as a greasy spot on the concrete floor where he normally parked his car.
“Why were you worried about me getting dirty?” she asked. “I’ve been in restaurants that weren’t this clean.”
Anselm laughed. “I haven’t started [working] yet.”
“I thought Mike was kidding about the color-coded socks,” she said, as she looked over Anselm’s workbench. There was a plastic cabinet on it which had many small drawers, each neatly labeled with its contents. There was an entire row of screws—ascending in size from left to right—then nails, bolts, and nuts similarly arranged.
A guest bedroom in Marie’s house:
Kalyn took the room on the front of the house. It had a large window that went all the way to the floor. It was open and the cool night air felt wonderful. The large, four-poster cherry bed was made up with a quilt which was predominately pink and white, and the pillows were white and trimmed in eyelet lace. There was no closet in the room, but there was a large cherry wardrobe which matched the bed, and a small dressing table with a marble top. The walls were papered in pink and white stripes, with pinstripes of gold.
The bedroom of Kalyn’s best friend, Megan:
Megan’s bedroom door was standing open. She was lying on her stomach on the bed, piles of books and papers scattered in front of her.
“Hey Kalyn,” Megan said, looking up. “I thought I heard you come in.”
Kalyn sat down in Megan’s desk chair and put her backpack on the floor. Megan’s desk was piled high with so many clothes and papers and odds and ends, it was no wonder she was working on the bed; it was the clearest horizontal space in the room.
“I don’t know how you do your homework with your room in a mess like this,” Kalyn said, surveying the clothes and shoes in the floor.
Master Joshua’s living room:
Kalyn followed the woman—she assumed she was Joshua’s secretary—through a hallway and into a corner living room with large windows overlooking the city. The furniture was modern and white—as was the carpet, curtains, and walls. Paintings, sculpture, and bits and pieces of colorful art stood in stark contrast to the white. It looked more like an art gallery than a living room.
And his office:
Kalyn followed him—and Anselm and Micah followed her—into a small office off the living room. It was clearly meant for Joshua’s private use; there was only one straight-backed chair sitting beside the desk. Unlike the living room, it was painted a deep red color, which made it seem cozy and private.
So here’s a writing exercise for everyone: describe your protagonist’s bedroom. If you’ve already done it, do it for a different character. If you have a villain, describe his personal space. Or do it for a secondary character. You don’t have to put it into your final story, but it will help you know your character better, and it will show.