The one common room that we undoubtedly see the most of is Gryffindor’s. Up in Gryffindor Tower, if students gave the portrait of the Fat Lady the correct password (easier said than done for certain Gryffindors… aka Neville), they could climb through the portrait hole and into a circular common room. There they would find a warm, cosy and inviting space with squashy armchairs and bedecked in the house colours of scarlet and gold. Off the common room were spiral staircases which led to the boys’ and girls’ dormitories. In the heart of the common room was a roaring fire maintained by the house-elves of Hogwarts (when they weren’t boycotting Gryffindor Tower after Hermione’s many attempts to free them with her questionable knitting). Plenty of memorable moments took place there – from Fred and George testing their Skiving Snackboxes to Neville standing up to his friends to epic parties to celebrate Quidditch victories, and it was certainly a place that made Gryffindors students feel at home.
Deep down in the dungeons under the lake was the Slytherin common room. As it lay below the surface of the water, the long, low room with rough stone walls and ceilings had a greenish hue – which was in keeping with its house colours of emerald and silver. Unlike the other common rooms which had more obvious entrances, the Slytherin one was hidden behind a bare stretch of wall and accessible once the correct password was given (one such password was pure-blood). It didn’t have a cosy vibe, but it was rather regal. The large fireplace and mantlepiece, carved chairs and walls draped with tapestries helped to create a rather grand feel. Although we didn’t see much of it within the first seven stories, we did catch a glimpse of it when Harry and Ron snuck in disguised as Crabbe and Goyle. It was also the home of two of our favourite Slytherins – Scorpius Malfoy and Albus Potter.
The other house common room that we briefly saw was the Ravenclaw one in Deathly Hallows. High up in Ravenclaw Tower, this was the lightest and airiest of all the common rooms with its graceful arched windows. It too featured its house colours with its walls draped with blue and bronze silks, a midnight-blue carpet and a domed ceiling adorned with painted stars. There was also a marble statue of Rowena Ravenclaw wearing her Diadem. As it was located at the top of a spiral staircase, high up in the castle, it had a magnificent view of the mountains. Unlike Gryffindor and Slytherin which asked students for a password, this common room could only be entered by solving a riddle – which we think is very fitting for the house known for its wisdom. Students would use the bronze eagle knocker to knock on the wooden door and the bird would then ask them a question. And if you got it wrong… well that was that, you just had to wait for someone else to get it right.
Last but by no means least we have the Hufflepuff common room. This was the only one that we didn’t get to see but that doesn’t mean we don’t know anything about it! In fact, we’ve learnt quite a lot about it over the years. This common room was found in the same corridor as the kitchens behind a pile of barrels. If you tapped on the barrel two from the bottom in the middle of the second row to the rhythm of ‘Helga Hufflepuff’ you would be granted entry. However, if you tapped on the wrong one or did it an incorrect number of times, a lid from a different barrel would fly off and leave you drenched in vinegar – yuck! Cosy and low-ceilinged, the Hufflepuff common room was said to be a bit like a badger sett (appropriate when you think of the house emblem) and was decorated in happy yellows and blacks with honey-coloured wood tables and doors. Another quaint feature were the patchwork quilts that adorned every bed in the dormitories. In keeping with its earthy theme, the common room was strewn with a colourful array of plants and flowers – some of which danced at passers-by. The small, round windows were just level with the ground at the foot of the castle and the Hufflepuffs had a view of rolling grass and dandelions. What we find most pleasant of all is the fact that this room was always bursting with sunshine despite its almost underground location.