But not everyone focuses their attention outside
when the summer arrives. For some, it is just as important to make
sure the inside of the house is ready for houseguests.
When thinking of socialization in the home, two areas come to mind:
the living room and the dining room. Here are some ideas to help
organize these spaces for comfort and to encourage socialization.
Living Room Furniture Arrangement
Decorating Basics: How to Place Living Room Furniture”
Socialization in the living room is easier to encourage with a small
space. In order to allow for both easy conversation and the ability
to come and go, consider filling the living room with smaller
furniture. Ann Myrick, an interior decorator since 1997, says that
the most important thing to consider when decorating a living room
When thinking of how to arrange couches, consider the size of the
furniture. Larger couches, while capable of holding more guests, are
difficult to arrange with other furniture or guests in mind, as a
larger seat takes up more space and likely needs to rest against a
Smaller couches, such as loveseats or sectionals that can be
disassembled, leave more space for coming and going, yet still
provide ample seating. To encourage more literal, face-to-face
conversation, consider placing chairs across from these couches.
Trends in living room furniture suggest smaller, more portable
chairs then can be rearranged as necessary. Smaller chairs are also
easy to store and remove, which can be useful if the number of
houseguests is expected to change.
In addition to couches and chairs, think about what the living room
needs during a visit with houseguests. A coffee table is useful for
any gathering involving food or drinks, and provide more room for
chairs. A table should be placed between the chairs and couches,
allowing for a space for dishes while encouraging people to sit on
all sides of the table and face each other during conversation.
Anything on the table should be placed in such a way as to not block
Myrick suggests that each chair should have room for a potential cup
of coffee. Couches can be bookended with end-tables or small
dressers to the same effect, allowing for storage and food
An alternative would be to place one or two footrests in front of
the seating. Footrests or ottomans provide additional comfort and
can function as a table of sorts if need be. These pieces of
furniture often come with some form of storage, such as pockets on
the sides, or a hollow space on the inside.
Finally, consider the living room lighting. For those who may not
have a light on the ceiling, you may need to find a number of small
lamps. Lamps need to be placed relatively high to provide enough
light for the room. Darker shades can help create different moods in
the room as well.
Dining room tables and seating
Design and Decor - Tips and Ideas”
Arranging the dining room should follow a similar goal to arranging
the living room. The difference between the two comes down to the
lack of a couch for the dining room. Aside from that, the layout for
furniture should look familiar.
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Typical furniture arrangements can make a small
dining room feel cramped. The main piece of furniture in the room is
likely going to be the dining room table. Plan to arrange a small
dining room to look larger by choosing an appropriately sized table
and placing it as close to the center as you can. Round or
square-shaped tables work best, and allow for equal placement of
Just as we saw with the living room, think carefully about anything
that needs to rest on the dining room table. There should not be
anything so large as to block someone from seeing or talking to
someone else on the opposite side of the table. Make sure the table
is placed under ceiling lighting in the room.
Smaller dining room tables can be purchased that also contain
shelving or storage options. This can be a good way to store cups or
dishes available for guests. This is especially helpful for those
who have the space to place a dining room table outside of the
Robin Baron, an experienced interior designer, suggests a round
table to encourage socialization. “One thing I love about dining
rooms is having a round table. It creates a really great
conversation area. Nobody has to worry about being so far down the
table from each other, and this particular table has a really
special thing about it,” says Baron.
Baron also points out that another benefit to round tables is the
ability to easily maneuver chairs. There is not a head of the table,
so to speak, so chairs can be mixed and matched, depending on the
needs of the guests.
If spacing is a larger issue, the living room and the dining room
furniture can be placed in the same area. For those working with one
larger area instead of multiple smaller rooms, try placing a couch
in the middle of the room, with the dining room table behind it.
This way, chairs can easily be moved from one side to the other as
necessary, depending on whether or not your guests are joining you
Alternatively, a current trend in furniture decoration is the
conversation pit. The conversation pit was popular from the 1950s to
the 1970s, and in the late 1990s conversation pits were offered in
home plans. As a result, many homes on the market today feature
conversation pits. A conversation pit is an architectural feature
built into a depressed section of flooring. Border seats typically
face each other, bringing the occupants closer together and allowing
them to see the entire group, encouraging conversation.
Socialization in the living room or the dining room can be just as
exciting in the warm weather without going outside. All you need is
an eye for decoration and a proper seating arrangement.