Body & Mind

Transforming a Room Into a Conversation Pit

Most homes have a living room, family room, den or primary gathering space of choice. A conversation pit, however, is much less common. This trend is reversing though, particularly in contemporary home design. Conversation pits reflect an architect’s or homeowner’s deliberate efforts to prioritize conversational interaction into the plans for – and construction of – a room.

Appearing as early as the 1920s and popular throughout the 50s, 60s and 70s in both Europe and North America, conversation pits incorporate a depressed section of flooring that creates a sort of room within a room. Often containing a small, central table surrounded by comfortable seating, they encourage people to move closer together. This creates more casual and intimate, interactive spaces ideal for dinner parties, game nights, art projects or for simply enjoying company.

Not Quite Ready for Construction? You Can Still Transform Your Room.

Whether you’re hiring a general contractor, handling construction yourself or even seeking to reap the benefits of a conversation pit without actually creating one, keep these few key considerations in mind. They can help you reorient your room in a more conversation-friendly direction. Be sure to keep comfort in mind throughout the process.

Highlight Nature.

When you’re choosing the room for your conversation pit, consider using your favorite window as a focal point. A beautiful view of the great outdoors is always a reliable conversation starter and tends to have an opposite effect from the zombie-inducing hypnosis of a television screen.

Eliminate Distractions.

By definition, a conversation pit is focused on face-to-face interaction, so consider a no-phones-in-the-pit rule. On the outskirts of your conversation pit, a strategically placed blown-glass or carved wooden bowl could serve as an attractive receptacle for our most distracting of gadgets.

Get Cozy.

Scandinavians call it hygge, but it’s all about embracing simple, soothing comforts in pursuit of your best life. As you design your conversation pit, consider the inclusion of oversized pillows and cushions, warm blankets, a favorite rug or even a fireplace.

Gather Your Greatest Games and Most Beloved Books.

Sometimes a shared game or task can open the floodgates of conversation faster than simply deciding to have a chat. Collaboration requires communication, and a conversation pit is perfect for both. You might find that your conversation pit doubles as your new favorite reading nook, too. Even a small selection of books you love can serve as great conversation starters.

Once you’ve taken the time to master cross-cultural interactions and managed to elevate your conversation from small talk to medium talk, the next step toward optimizing the role of conversation in your life could mean setting the scene – literally – with a conversation pit.