The parlor was a room reserved for entertaining and the Otises spent quite a bit of money to decorate it in the latest style. To a guest, this room would have seemed worlds away from the type of rooms found in most Boston homes in the late 18th century – typically small, wooden buildings with low ceilings and very few rooms. Items like wall-to-wall carpeting, curtains, and fancy upholstered furniture were expensive. Because this room was so impressive, the Otises took good care of it by protecting it when it was not in use. Between parties, the shutters were closed to keep sunlight from fading expensive textiles and the furniture was pushed back against the wall.
In this room the Otises would have received visitors, served tea, and played cards. Their servants would have been instructed to set up the room accordingly, before the guests were to arrive.