Trend spotting: The rise of the conversation pit
Whether you want to build a traditional sunken lounge or create the illusion of a conversation pit, you will find plenty of ideas to foster a feeling of relaxation and human connection
A conversation pit is an architectural feature that typically has built-in seating and is constructed below floor level. Embedded within the floor of a larger room, it creates an intimate space for people to gather and have face-to-face conversations. They’re typically accessed by a small staircase that leads into an area of L or U-shaped modular seating that can be arranged in various ways. They were popular in the United States throughout the mid-20th century, in part because architects and designers saw them as a way to avoid the clutter of furniture.
In the wake of the pandemic, conversations pits started to make a come back as people were looking for new ways to spend quality times with their loved ones; they exude a sense of togetherness and re-introduce the feeling of community that we are all longing for.
Moreover, sunken lounges can create a space within a space, becoming useful tools for creating broken-plan interiors and the illusion of taller ceilings. They can also prevent furniture from obstructing outward views, so they are an appealing option for homeowners looking for a minimalist look and a cosy mid-century aesthetic.
A traditional sunken lounge, where the entire addition is recessed in comparison to the existing main level of the house could be an expensive exercise, however, a less pricey option is to raise the floor level of an area of the room and then create a sunken space in that area, accessed by a small set of steps. This option works best in properties with high ceilings, as you will lose a bit of height by raising part of the space, however it will still give you the opportunity to sit on a lower level, making you feel more grounded and more engaged with other people around you.
They exude a sense of togetherness and re-introduce the feeling of community that we are all longing for.
If you are looking for a simpler way to create the illusion of a conversation pit, you could try arranging your furniture in a way to foster this same feeling of relaxation and human connection, creating a conversation nook by facing furniture pieces towards each other. It is important not to add a TV as that would prevent human interaction and evoke a cinema room feel instead!
Another way to create a similar vibe is by choosing low, modular sofas (there are some great pieces on the market at the moment!) that give the space a distinctly lounge feel and offer an invitation to relaxation; floor cushions and poufs can be useful, as they really fill the space and invite everyone to take a seat wherever they feel most comfortable. Lastly, a large thick rug could be a great addition too; it makes the floor inviting and comfortable for those who sit on it. Using a large area rug will also help to visually section off the space, making it feel like a separate conversing area.
Some of our favourite low and modular sofas to create the illusion of a conversation pit
Which one is your favourite?