Home & Garden

Rearrange the Furniture

Deborah Tannen’s advice on how to create a living room that encourages people to talk to one another:

þSofas and chairs should face one another in a circular arrangement. þPlace furniture close enough so people can have a relaxed conversation without straining to hear.

þ Cut the background music so everyone can concentrate on what is being said. Says Tannen: “Music should be listened to. If it’s in the background of a conversation, it gets in the way.”

þ Have some simple wood chairs that can be pulled close for a private chat.

þ If you are counting the number of seats in your living room, take into account that a three-cushion sofa might attract only two sitters. Nobody likes being squeezed in the middle.