This purple sunken lounge by architect Craig Steely draws from the decadence of 70s conversation pits | Source: Darren Bradley for The Strategist

Interior Design: The Conversation Pit Comeback

Before TVs radically changed the layout and styling of living rooms, conversation pits or sunken lounges emerged in the 50s to become a popular feature of 60s and 70s living spaces. Typically styled with shag rugs, velvets, leathers and bright hues of orange and red, the conversation pit didn’t last long past the 80s and became well and truly ‘kitsch‘ by the 2000s.

But as with all things, what’s old is always new again. And while you may have your reservations about incorporating a conversation pit into your modern home, interior designers and stylists have redesigned and repurposed the old pit into a comfortable and inviting addition to open plan and family-focused living.

Modern sunken lounges

With interior design trends indicating a shift away from the need for defined and structured spaces, open-plan living with a focus on comfort, connection and functionality has become a priority. While TVs still assume pride of place in the living room, modern conversation pits have adapted for accessibility and stylistic seamlessness, with many modern sunken lounges arranged like an extended corner lounge and styled with more contemporary fabrics and materials.

Offering the same sense of comfort, the modern conversation pit is not only a fun addition to any home, it also adds a dedicated space for reconnection with friends and family away from technology. Typically styled with coffee tables, the modern conversation pit also functions as a relaxing reading space.

Outdoor conversation pits

Before finding their way back into living rooms, conversation pits re-established themselves as functional and stylish additions in the backyard. Often centred around fire pits, the outdoor conversation pit offers a pocket of coziness in the backyard, making it perfect for outdoor entertaining in the summer.

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