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Floor Plans For Enjoyable Entertaining

conversation zonesWhat makes a wonderful room invite conversation?  The right floor plan.  Designing a floor plan which allows people to congregate and involve themselves in intimate conversations is what sets the stage for a fabulous evening.  A good host/hostess creates a room where guests feel comfortable and is easy to navigate.

AROUND THE ROOM – Intimacy Avoidance! Poor floor planHaving to talk/yell across the room, blows.  We’ve all been in the room where every piece of furniture is pushed to the wall.  (I know you don’t do this, use this post to help your friends or in-laws).

Unfortunately this is a typical floor plan.  It is tough to know what to do with a big room and for some unknown reason people feel the need to stick it to the wall.  Look at the wasted space!

Not for nothing but the 1940’s decorating dictum of putting a sofa against the window is just wrong in so many ways.  Gotta view?  Why not ignore it and fade your funiture at the same time.  Oh and the coffee table plopped right in the middle like a display for the Hope Diamond, bad idea.  Look how far the chairs are from the sofa and coffee table yet they are trying to be part of the same space – a comfort killer.

Furniture is not an army, it does not need to stand at attention around the room.


Arranging your furniture to create conversation zones is one of the secrets to creating a hospitable home.  Make it easy for people to chat, not have to shout across the room. Conversation zones are like intimacy pods, where people drift in and out to join in the fun. Living room with conversation zonesVoila!  Look how fun this same room can be.

Fact: People inherently break themselves into small groups of conversation.

Rather than fight it, support it.  Big rooms require multiple seating areas.  Oh I know, I’ve read enough blog comments online from those envious types who blather on about “too much furniture” in a room – not if you do it right.   Here we almost doubled the seating in the room.

The coffee table needs to be close enough to the opposing seating to set a drink on yet not be so far away the space between functions as a hallway.  Between 15″ and 18″ will give you ample room.  Think seating and a table this way: sit down and extend your arm (not stretch) to put down a drink.  This is correct spacing.


  • A spot to set a drink from every seat
  • Light weight pull up chairs
  • Proper height seating
  • No uptight furniture
  • Easy to negotiate traffic patterns

These little tips are for easing your comfort plus creating a comfortable room eager for entertaining.  Anyone can have a great space for entertaining.  Think of these as is your safety net against spilled drinks, uncomfortable guests, tripping and the person who can’t get out of a chair because it is frightfully low to the floor.

As a designer, and perpetual worrier – I wish I could offer you up the perfect upholstery fabric to look gorgeous and provide armor to any spill.  It does not exist.

So we have to make our rooms and furniture as easy to negotiate as possible and not use what’ll make us hover around guests with the evil eye.  In the same manner, hide the 18th century pull up chair you bought at auction if you don’t want someone to use it.  We’ll delve into comfortable seating later this month.  You already know to avoid an abundance of leggy furniture.



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2 Responses to Floor Plans For Enjoyable Entertaining

  1. This is an excellent topic- everybody ought to think more this way. I really enjoy being in homes or environments that plan for separate conversations and entertaining, because these are well used and enjoyed spaces.

  2. Thank you, I love you say “well used and enjoyed” – this is exactly what makes for a wonderful home.

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