Creating a great conversation area is a very important, if not the most important part of designing a beautiful and functional living room. What exactly is a “conversation area”? It simply means arranging the furniture in a way that best facilitates conversation and flow. All the gorgeous fabrics and furniture in the world will be a waste if they aren’t arranged properly. Too often I see the same mistakes repeated in homes that throws off the balance of a room and makes it feel awkward. Fortunately, it is VERY easy to breathe new life into your living room with some simple tips.
THE DO’S OF A CONVERSATION AREAS
- DO include furniture that can multi-task. Stools, benches and ottomans are great for doubling as extra seating. They can be moved around with ease and with the addition of a tray, they are even a perfect place for drinks or hor d’oeuvres. You can keep them in front of a fireplace or under a bench or window and pull them out whenever you need them.
- DO consider a chaise, which is a perfect choice for multiple conversation areas. If set on the edge of one area leading to another, it can both define and unify the two spaces. It can also multi-tasks as an extra table for drinks and snacks.
- DO have chairs around that are easy to move. If you often entertain large groups of people, try including a couple of lighter seating options in another nearby conversation area. You can easily move them over to the main seating arrangement for extra seating when needed.
- DO use an area rug to pull it all together. A rug will help define the space and create some warmth.
THE DON’TS OF A CONVERSATION AREA
- DON’T put too much distance between seating. Conversation areas should be spaced so that everyone feels comfortable in their personal space and there is plenty of room to walk around, but not so far apart that anyone feels the need to raise their voice in order to be heard or twist around to see someone.
- DON’T push furniture up against the walls. Even if you can only spare a few inches, leave some space in between them. This creates warmth and a better flow overall.
- DON’T have furniture that vastly varies in height. This will look very awkward if some of your seating is a lot taller than other pieces. Keep them all at similar heights.
- DON’T feel limited to cramming all your furniture into one conversation area. Multiple vignettes are a great way to create a nice flow in a large space.
This room boasts two lovely conversation areas back to back. The armchairs by the window could easily be pulled into the other conversation area to combine the two during entertaining that called for it. Photo: Stribling
A conversation area doesn’t always have to include a couch. This simple seating arrangement includes a small table and four comfortable armchairs. Extra, easily movable seating is available nearby. Photo: HGTV
The clever use of a chaise in this room combines the two seating areas. The two ottomans on the right can multi-task as extra seating or coffee tables. Photo: A Bloomsbury Life
One of the best and most inexpensive (in fact, it’s FREE!) ways to give your room a fresh makeover is to rearrange the furniture. Try out these tips and ideas for a conversation area in your own living room and see what you come up with. Good luck!