4 ways to position your furniture so your guests actually talk to each other


Alon Sachs, co-owner of South Africa’s leading furniture and décor specialist, Mobelli Furniture + Living, says achieving a conversational space is easier than you think.

All you really need to do is incorporate a few pieces of furniture, arrange them the correct way and voila – your minimal hassle will instantly bring you an inviting indoor space!

Read more: 2018's five hottest décor trends that you need to get on board with

"It's fun getting your lounge ready for guests to engage and enjoy those much-loved conversations, without anyone feeling left out,” says Sachs.

He adds that it also “celebrates the coming together of people” in the home.

“People are looking to create more personalised spaces in their home that better express their character and personality and are looking to move away from those large open spaces,” he says.

Here are 4 tips on how to create your cosy tête-à-tête area

Keep seaters just a few metres apart

The point of your living room is for it to be a place for people to hangout in, so guests need to be close enough to hear one another.

Houseplanshelper.com notes that the maximum comfortable distance for a seated conversation between people’s heads is around 2–3 metres, so use this as a guideline when positioning your sofas and chairs. 

The distance between the seat of the sofa and the coffee table should also be around 45cm, and you should bear in mind that guests shouldn't have to get up to reach the table. Leave just enough room for someone to pass through.

Transform your abode by opting for furniture pieces that will create a relaxing area, says Sachs. When guests arrive, engaging will come naturally and be hassle-free. 

This design setup is impressive but the two chairs could be positioned closer to the table:

Be inspired by these Pinterest-worthy Mira occasional chairs, R8,795 each and a this designer tufted fabric 3-seater for R17,900 for a stylish, relaxed interior.

Complete the space with a metal embossed side table from Mrphome, R1,400.

Have two sofas facing each other

A functional layout will give your space a coordinated look. Pair two couches – one three-seater and one four-seater – opposite and close to each other. 

This way, you'll save space but more importantly your guests will be able to converse comfortably without shouting from across the room, says Sachs.

We love the Kai 3 Seater Slipcover Couch from Coricraft, available in a three-seater for R7,995 and a four-seater for R8,995.

Amp up the ambience with this flattering Art Zo painting by Decofurn SA, R459.

Embrace the curvy sofa

They're making a comeback.

For a smaller-than-usual indoor area, Sachs says this elegant design will enhance your living room space and ensure your guests feel included in the conversation.

“We’ve seen a noticeable rise in demand for curved sofas,” says Nicolas Roche, creative director of Roche Bobois for Howtospendit.com.

“People are looking for alternatives to the more formal arrangement of two straight sofas facing each other, or the classic L shape," he says.

Roche also adds that a larger, curved sofa can accommodate as many people – but in a more sociable way.

Pair this kidney-shaped three-seater Ludlow sofa, R14,995 with a Casablanca coffee table from Mrphome, R3,000.

Keep your balance

Sachs advises homeowners to be mindful of their available space and how their furniture fits that specific area. If guests feel cramped, they'll feel uncomfortable and your furniture layout could ruin a potentially good visit.

“Large areas mean you have space with which to play but with a small space you need to be more strategic and choose the right pieces in order to fit the area and not make things look cramped. Balance is key,” he says.

To get this right in a small area, be minimal with furniture pieces and keep the colours neutral. A three-seater couch, two chairs and a small coffee table with one décor piece is all you really need.

For very small areas with low ceilings, use objects like vertical décor pieces to lift the eye and give the illusion of space. Remember, the bottom line is that your guests feel relaxed and this will happen if your living room is inviting and feels roomy.

Read more: 7 ways to make your ceiling appear higher

Get this Terry Fan artwork from Superbalist, R119, or complement your sofas and chairs with this elongated floor lamp from Klooftique, R2,600.

Images: iStock and supplied.

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