By Benjamin St. Jacques
Thanks to technology we have more ways to instantly communicate than ever before, however creating your own conversation room is a great way to encourage more face-to-face communication with family and friends.
If you crave more chit-chat and are ready to forget the phone, here are a few do’s and don’ts that can help you encourage natural, easy conversation between family members and friends.
Four Do’s of Discussion Décor
1. Do have ample seating.
This is probably the most obvious tip. If you want people to sit and have a conversation, then they’ll need a place to sit. A nice sofa, a love seat, and an arm chair are the core pieces of your conversation room. You can add more pieces depending on the size of your home. For example, you can add an upholstered ottoman, which allows guests to put their feet up but can also be used as additional seating as needed.
2. Do embrace area rugs.
Area rugs are a great way to define an area of a room for conversation, especially in large or multi-purpose areas. The rug doesn't need to be huge, just well-placed. A rug with furniture strategically placed around it lets guests know that there’s a place for them in your home.
3. Do take advantage of windows.
If you have a room with a large window or bay window, then that’s where you want to set up your conversation corner. The natural light that flows in will help create an overall cheery mood that’s ideal for conversation. If the window gives guests a view of beautiful landscaping, trees, a garden, or water, then that’s even better.
4. Do use the right lights.
If your conversation space doesn’t have easy access to natural lighting, then you definitely should invest in the right lighting. You want ample light so guests can see each other, but nothing too harsh that creates discomfort. A few well-placed floor lamps or table lamps may do the trick. Recessed lighting works well because there are no distracting bulbs in anyone’s line of sight. If you have ceiling lights, then install dimmers so you can adjust the brightness as needed.
Four Important Don’ts
1. Don’t have furniture that varies in height.
The furniture in your conversation area should all be about the same height, give or take a few inches. You wouldn’t want to have a tall barstool, next to a low sofa, next to an average sized chair. Guests may feel uncomfortable talking to one another if everyone isn’t at the same level. Plus, there’s a natural tendency for anyone in a higher position to dominate the conversation. A successful conversation room helps make sure everyone is at eye level.
2. Don’t put furniture against walls.
The natural tendency for most of us is to push our furniture as far back against the wall as possible. But, you actually want to leave about two to three inches of space between the wall and the backs of your furniture. Doing so will create a more open and free-flowing feeling in the room.
Speaking of walls, be sure to steer guests toward seating that will allow their backs to face a wall, instead of an open space or window. Research has shown that this can help lower blood pressure and help people feel more at ease. The more relaxed your guests feel, the better the conversation will be.
3. Don’t have a television nearby.
This is a no-brainer. If there’s a television nearby, then someone may be tempted to turn it on even if to “just catch the forecast” or “see the score of the big game.” But once the TV goes on, it’s hard to turn off, and conversation comes to a halt.
4. Don’t place furniture too far apart.
Every piece of furniture in your conversation area should be no more than three feet away from each other. Any more distance than that and guests will feel too far apart to talk naturally.
Start the Conversation
If you’re ready to re-discover the art of conversation, then these tips can help guide you toward creating the ideal environment for chatting. If you’re not sure where to start, then just think of what would make you feel comfortable someone else’s home. Chances are, your guests will want the same.
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