Friday, November 18, 2011

Gathering Places

The holidays are right around the corner. Families and friends gathered together. We are not hosting either major holiday this year, a big change from last year when we had a full house. I have still been thinking about the holidays, though, and ways we can have a crowd-ready home.

We laugh when we realize how often we all end up standing, squeezed together, the bunch of us, together in the smallest space in the house: the doorway to the breakfast room, the hall connecting to the dining room, the entry room blocking the door, the narrow kitchen. Not sure why we gather like that, like moths around a light.

I love this idea from an IKEA catalog: back to back couches. Two couches, about the same height, placed back to back, either to divide a room into defined areas, or like the old courting couches, S-shaped for easy, comfortable conversations. A creative alternative to the traditional couches against the wall, and focused on cozy group gatherings rather than screen gazing.

Another IKEA idea was a living room without a couch, but lots of comfy chairs, grouped in a loose circle, a low table in the center. These would be easily moved around to create whatever groupings were needed for the moment.

From a Pottery Barn Catalog (out of our price league, but fun for ideas) I saw a couch idea: sectional pieces that push together to form a huge backed, padded square. Imagine a left-arm chaise, an armless loveseat, a right-arm chaise or a corner seat, with a padded ottoman to tuck in the center. I couldn't find the photo of it all put together. Can you picture this? A Monopoly game in the middle surrounded by competitive real estate tycoons. A wrestling match (inevitable with our guys). Everyone tucked in with afghans to watch a favorite movie together, the popcorn bowl passed along the row, legs stretched out. An extra guest bed. A pile of grandchildren, giggling together with their parents. Long conversations and laughter, together like petals around a flower. Maybe this will give you ideas for ways to reconfigure your existing furniture to make it a place for gatherings.

Does this make you think of any ways you could re-configure your furniture to make it comfy for a cozy group?

1 comment:

  1. Those back-to-back couches look fun. And your description of sitting with afghans and popcorn makes me smile.

    We used to live in a big house. We bought a big house so we could host big parties and entertain lots of people. But no matter what kind of party we hosted, everyone always ended up huddled together around the peninsula in our kitchen. Like moths around a flame...