An important component of fostering togetherness is having a comfy place for everyone to sit. Auntie Leila wrote an excellent post about this the other day at Like Mother, Like Daughter.
If we want our family to hang out together we have to provide a place that draws us all. It needs to have places to sit and good lighting. Our family likes to have pillows and throw blankets to snuggle up with as well.
It's important, too, to come up with a furniture arrangement that makes it easy to talk together. You definitely don't want to have to shout across the room to be heard, if you are trying to have conversation. A big key to this is to pull your furniture away from the walls and to have it facing altogether.
If your space is also used for watching movies together, like ours is, you need to consider that in the placement of your furniture. The chair from Ikea is lightweight and is easily pulled around and back near the couch for better viewing of movies.
When you pull your furniture in from the walls, it creates wonderful spaces to tuck in extra seating. Right here by this table is a great space for an extra chair brought over from the dining area.
It also allowed us to put our piano (extra seating with the bench) and this gold tweed chair along the wall. This is a favorite seat for my girls and I. There is a lamp on the piano at this end which allows this to be a great reading nook, or a place to knit or to watch movies. It is still facing the seating area and close so if you sit in this spot you are not left out of the conversation going on!
See? Cozy and though it doesn't look like it - you do not need to turn sideways to get into this space. In fact it is a main walkway because of the front door. It is important to factor in your natural walking paths through the house.
We also have our table here, and that provides for lots of extra seating. When we have friends over, this space will have games going on, sometimes one at each end, and the living space will have people talking. It is perfect for the way we live in our house! We like that people aren't off in one room for talking, another for games and yet another for watching a movie.
The other day during the storm we had a game going at the table, someone napping in the gold chair, someone one one couch on a laptop, someone in the Ikea chair, someone on the new couch....they were all doing their own thing, but together in the same space. I love it!
With all these lovely people living here we have messes, and clutter at times, though we try to keep it in check since it makes me feel better to have a tidy space. With all the rain we've had you can imagine the grass and wet leaves dragged in....I don't have a mud room, and yet the wet boots must be put somewhere.
Here is where we leave them. Right by the kitchen door, so it is easy to slip them on when we need to go out to take care of the horses or chickens, or to take the dogs out. Can you see Kamryn's wee rainboots? The little black patent leather looking ones! So cute!
I encourage you to think through how you live in your space. What do you use it for and what are your needs for that space? If you want your family to spend time together and enjoy it, you must provide for that. I know people who bought a bunch of new dog beds from Costco for their family room, so the kids could have a comfy spot on the floor when they watched movies. At $20 a piece it was cheaper than buying a new couch, and the kids loved it! Think outside the box - do what works for you!
You'll be glad you did.