Have you ever noticed how conversation can sometimes die down in the middle of a gathering? That’s assuming it even got started in the first place. In a world where everybody’s got their minds preoccupied with thoughts of work and to-do lists, and their hands full with mobile devices to distract them, making small talk can be a forgotten art.
If you’ve ever had friends, family, or other guests over to your house, and had difficulty getting conversations to go beyond today’s standard “can I use your WiFi?”, then having conversation pieces around the house can help kickstart the discussion. Here are a few tips to try.
Artisan-crafted woven items aren’t just a way to elevate your décor; they draw attention to their unique texture and tell a story of the places or traditions from which they are derived. Handmade modern style rugs, for instance, blend elements of the old and the new, taking your guests’ eyes off their phones and onto what’s at their feet, and are sure to prompt a few questions.
You don’t need to convert your living room into an art gallery – a single painting can be all it takes to spark some chatter. Find out about talented local artists and support them by buying a work you like, and sharing it with your guests. Better still, if you paint – or have managed to preserve an old painting from your childhood, no matter how horrible – put it on your wall and own it, along with the stories to come.
Leave a musical instrument lying around and you’re bound to hear someone ask if you play it, followed by a performance request. Even if you’re not prepared to perform on the spot, someone else might share your hobby and step up. People can start discussing their musical interests and other related topics. Get ready for some follow-up requests to entertain after dinner, though.
Similar to how paintings can start a conversation, sculptures and carvings in your home don’t need to be expensive art objects by well-known masters. The more striking and abstract the figure, the more people exert themselves trying to figure it out and talk about it.
For old friends and family members, a photo album or wall gallery can be the best conversation starter. Unearth old photos and compile them with more recent ones – it’s time to make some prints out of all the stuff you’ve been posting on social media. Keep in mind, though, that for this purpose, it’s best to have other people they recognize in the photo with you. That’s what brings back memories and prompts their reactions.
Putting a load of books on a shelf in your living room may tell everybody you’re a bibliophile, but it can also prevent them from focusing on any particular volume. So leave a few titles strategically lying around. Bestsellers and coffee table books are excellent conversation starters, even if they aren’t the sort of books you’d normally read.
If collecting stuff is one of your hobbies, why not put them on display? Whether it’s vintage baseball cards or stuffed toy unicorns, all it takes is a good collectible case or display to make the collection presentable. Remember, when it comes to drawing people’s responses, quirkier can be better.
Next time you have guests over, use these conversation pieces to take their minds off the digital and get the small talk flowing.