Face time with those you love is more important than ever when the struggle to avoid interruption from digital devices is constant. While removing phones and tablets during social occasions is a battle on its own, you can give the chance for the intimacy of face-to-face communication to overcome the electronic barriers with careful planning of the furniture and decorations in your sitting areas.
Focus Your Center
In the modern living room or social area, the furniture tends to revolve around a central entertainment device, typically the television. To encourage an atmosphere where people are expected to communicate with each other, you need to shift the overlapping points from the views of the room's occupants to the center. Communication between people involves a tremendous amount of physical signaling and gesturing from the intentional wave of the hand to the unavoidable roll of the eyes.
You also want to avoid having obstructions in the central area that greatly limit the view or inhibit. A dining room table is a place where time is spent with family and friends, but you wouldn't want it dominating the space if the purpose of the gathering is socialization, not enjoying a meal.
Another reason dining rooms aren't optimal for intimate discussions is the seating options. Even padded dining room chairs aren't suited for sitting for several hours, but a full-sized recliner or sofa will help people settle in for deep dialogue. To encourage more cooperation, you can opt for more sofas and sectionals that sprawl across the space and provide a spot for a quiet corner during the height of the party. If you expect there to be more than a few debates and arguments, you might want to consider furnishings with lower maximum occupancy to keep the dueling to words, not fists.
If talking is the name of the game, then you want to make sure the stadium is equipped for proper play. Try talking with people while standing in the intended furniture locations, and tweak your arrangement accordingly. Since adding in large objects will change the way sound travels about the room, you may find the tests were wildly inaccurate. The centralized focus of the furniture should minimize the impact of stray noises. For minor adjustments, use decorations like paintings, shades, tall planters, and statues (or statuettes on a raised surface) to create a more stable bubble of sound.
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