We live in a day and age when nearly everyone owns a handheld device, a big-screen television, and a computer at every desk. Texts, emails, social media messages, and phone calls are becoming the most common and preferred ways of quick communication. For many people, face-to-face conversation has taken a back seat. But let us not forget the benefits of real social interaction on our mental health and relationships. Research has shown that all forms of socialization are not equal and that there is power in face-to-face social interactions, which, among other benefits, has proven to stave off depression.
A home is one of the best places to visit with friends and family in a comfortable setting. Establishing cozy, conversational areas is key to inviting these habits and strengthening relationships. Homes are different shapes and sizes, and creating visiting areas can be tricky. Before making any big changes or purchases, lay out your designated area on graph paper and use to-scale furniture cutouts that you can move around until you are satisfied. As you create your zones in the layout, pay close attention to symmetry.
For large, open spaces, such as great rooms that flow into the kitchen and dining room areas, consider organizing several different spaces. Large areas may allow for a game zone, a TV zone, a dining area, and a conversational nook, each location suggesting a specific interaction. Smaller areas may only have space for four nice chairs and a shared coffee table. Get creative when planning out each zone and begin with the end in mind. The mistake we make when designing our living spaces, is that we often center everything around the television, making that the focus of everyday life rather than the people around us. During this holiday season, let us take an interest in those that surround us and give the gift of conversation and a listening ear.