Conversation pits should make a comeback right now


LJ Haderlie, Writer

What’s better than a giant bowl of pillows and cushions?

Conversation pits are a thing of the past for most people, but the pros of having one in your living room are far too great to be overlooked.

What is a conversation pit? Something worth looking into! They are similar to a sunken living room, except that instead of an entire room being lowered into the ground, it’s just the center of the room.

Some conversation pits employ a circular sofa idea, with seat cushion extending around the entire pit wall. Others have smaller sofas that are separated by gaps of concrete. Back pillows can be attached to the back of the sofa or kept loose for versatility.

This alternative furniture was first popularized in 1950’s, though the concept has been around for centuries. Chinese and Spanish architects were building conversation pits long before it became common in the USA.

Bruce Groff, an architect from Oklahoma, is largely credited for the normalizing of conversation pits in America. He first built a pit in his own living room in 1927, which featured a sunken portion of the living with a continuous couch.

In the 1950’s and 1960’s, sunken living rooms and conversation pits took off, becoming a normality in the United States. Their popularity was somewhat short lived though when they became an outdated idea in the eighties.

So, why should they make a comeback now? First off, the concept is just objectively interesting. A portion of a room specifically designated for hanging out and conversing? Yes, please!

You might be thinking, why not just have sofas in your living room? While there’s nothing wrong with traditional seating furniture, conversation pits bring a different element to the living room.

Rather than a formal style sitting area, conversation pits offer a laid-back area to relax in. They are much more comfortable and roomier than the typical couch, and because the seating is so long, it’s ideal for lounging about.

It also creates a low-pressure environment, ideal for chilling out with friends. Put a snack table in the middle of the pit and bam! You’ve got the perfect place to entertain guests.

It’s great for summer mornings when you’re taking your time getting your day started and want somewhere to lounge but don’t want to stay in your bed.

Studies have shown that spending time in your bed awake and during the day can disrupt your brain’s connection between beds and sleeping. This can cause difficulty sleeping at night when it’s time to go to bed. Conversation pits solve this problem.

Because of the circular or square shaped design, the conversation pit allows every person a full view of the group. I don’t know about you, but I hate not being able to see everyone who’s talking in a group.

Even if eye contact isn’t maintained, being able to see how their hands move and other body language is often really important to understand what they’re saying. If everyone can see everyone, these elements of conversation are preserved.

Imagine hanging out with your friends, talking and laughing, having the option to roll around, give each other space, or have a giant cuddle party. A conversation pit offers all of these things.

After over a year of quarantining, good conversation is something that every single one of us needs. What better way to facilitate quality conversation than with a comfortable, unique seating area specifically designed for such things?

I say that the conversation pit should become a common addition to homes these next several years. They are a comfortable, welcoming, and a fun, non-cringy throwback to the sixties and seventies. What’s better than that?