How to make a conversation pit work in your living room

a room with a large window and a couch and a table with a plant on it
How to make a conversation pit work in your homeBarbara Corsico

Everyone’s favourite 1970s interiors trend is having a revival, and you don’t always need copious amounts of space. We looked to projects by four cutting-edge leaders in interior design and architecture from around the world to discover why now is the time to choose a conversation pit…

Kingston Lafferty Design, Ireland

‘This rear extension area with the conversation pit (pictured above) was a favourite space of mine to design,’ muses interior designer Róisín Lafferty, the brains behind this angular lowered living room. The lounge area is not just playful; it has a practical function too: by lowering the floor level, the sofas no longer obscure the view through the window to the owners’ garden. ‘I wanted to distinguish this area and encourage a separate function within it, with a different tactility, where we could visually connect the kitchen, dining and rear lounge,’ Lafferty adds.

yellow conversation pit

Dries Otten , Belgium

According to Belgian studio Dries Otten, the firm responsible for this sunny-hued living room, ‘the nice thing about this conversation pit is that is not focused on a TV but on
a record player’. The 1970s property already featured a lowered floor area but it had no built-in seating, so the studio added a bespoke sofa, giving the occupants a place to relax, with yellow being the perfect colour to summon the spirit of retro glamour and fun.
‘The kids use the area as a playing zone, and the adults can chill during the evening while enjoying a piece of music from the DJ booth we designed,’ says Dries Otten.

modern sunken conversation pit
Prue Ruscoe

Arent & Pyke, Sydney

By transforming the garage that once sat between this house’s entrance and the kitchen at the rear into a cosy sunken snug, Sydney-based interior design studio Arent & Pyke has created a more convivial atmosphere and a new hub for family time.‘We dropped the garage floor and added an open fireplace to create a space that can seat a family of six,’ explains the studio. Steps on either side of the pale Travertine fireplace lead down to the U-shaped seating area, which feels ‘cocooning’ despite its open-plan layout. A terracotta-hued carpet and cushions in autumnal colours complete the comforting transformation.

modern architectural conversation pit
Rory Gardiner

Ludwig Godefroy, Mexico

A bespoke conversation pit can enhance the architecture of a home. That’s especially true in Casa Alferez, this brutalist Mexican holiday home designed by architecture firm Ludwig Godefroy, whose eponymous founder ‘wants his designs to be playful and informal’. He installed built-in concrete furniture throughout this property, but it’s the space carved out of the floor in the living room, filled edge to edge with forest-green cushions, that is most impressive. It visually expands the effect of the double-height ceiling, giving the illusion of even more space.