A couple years back, I visited Buenos Aires with my friend Vanessa. On our to-do list was a trip to Faena, a sumptuous, gorgeously designed hotel in downtown. We couldn't afford to stay there but we could afford a cocktail. We sat in the stunning Library Lounge, designed by Philippe Starck and marveled at how beautiful our surroundings were and how expensive our drink was...
Looking out at the space, I noticed how they utilized the large room to create and encourage conversation. It's filled with dozens of couches, chairs, lounges...all smartly placed without being overcrowded. You could just as easily have an intimate conversation as you could a large group one. Ingenious I say...
It got me thinking, what is the best way to encourage conversation in our own living rooms? So I decided to compile some helpful tips. The first, pull your seated furniture away from the walls and arrange them to face each other.
Add pieces where multiple people can sit, such as benches and lounges. And if you have a big enough space, create more than one conversation area.
Create a space that is cozy and comfortable, not cramped. Leave 14-18" between any tables and seated furniture and let the traffic lane be at least 3' wide. And when you're placing the sofas and chairs to face each other, leave 4-10' in between.
Another tip I learned from Faena is to have conversation starters in your design, such as impressive and interesting artwork or unique books, accent furniture or plants.
Good lighting is essential for good conversation. Natural light is important to set a relaxed, comforting mood during the day while low light is quite nice at night. There's nothing worse, (for me anyway) then going to an evening party and being assaulted by bright light. I like it low and inviting...and I promise to stay awhile.
Utilize unconventional seating pieces such as fabric poufs or ottomans. It's fun to not always sit in the traditional chair and I think low lying, backless pieces can make conversation a little more relaxed, playful and candid. Not to mention, they add great texture and interest to your space.
Make sure your furniture is proportioned and fits the size of the room and, as if not obvious enough, that it's comfortable. Once your guests take a seat, you want them to stay a while and get invested in the people and great conversation around them.
Photos: Faena; Apartment Therapy; Desire to Inspire; My Paradissi; Tim Clinch; Domino Magazine; Houzz.com; en.paperblog.com; thelennoxx.wordpress.com Content: Sweet Peach