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What Is a Boudoir?

The term boudoir is derived from the French verb bouder, meaning "to pout." A boudoir is the private chamber, bedroom, or sitting room of a lady.

Architecturally, the boudoir was part of a lady's private suite used for dressing, bathing, and even a private drawing room for activities like embroidery or entertaining suitors. The boudoir was historically located adjacent to a lady's bedchamber and often was considered the female equivalent of a man's cabinet. In English speaking parts of the Caribbean, a boudoir was often located in the front of a home and was used to entertain family and friends.

Presently, a boudoir denotes an ornate style of furniture constructed for use in the bedroom based upon styles used during the Renaissance and in French cultures. Boudoir also denotes a "country cottage" decorating style complete with whitewashed walls, large and heavy bed furniture, and deep bed coverings.

"Boudoir style" is a fashionable design technique and growing trend used in photographer's studios, hotel suites, and other places. The aim of "boudoir style" is to harness a female's sensuality, with partially clothed images, lingerie, and luxury, to present the images publicly, in magazines and advertisements, or privately as gifts to lovers and spouses. "Bridal boudoir" is a style of photography created by brides as gifts for their husbands.

Boudoir style photography can also be used for occasions beyond weddings, as this portrait style often doubles for anniversaries, birthdays, Valentine's Day, weight loss, pregnancy, plastic surgery, and for enlisted soldiers.

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