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Last updated: June 17, 2021 • Home Improvement

Conversation Pieces: Spark a Discussion in Your Home

We’ve all been there; sitting in the living room with friends, making small talk with over a few glasses of wine. Things are going swimmingly, but then the conversation begins to die down. Slowly but surely, you begin to run out of things to talk about, as ready topics of conversation are gradually exhausted. Before you know it, the conversation is pronounced dead and an oppressive, awkward silence hangs in the air. 

If you’ve experienced this situation before, you’re probably well aware of just how uncomfortable it can be. With nothing to say and nothing to talk about, you’ll quickly find yourself ill at ease and compelled to make conversation hinging on just about anything. While this may not happen to you when you’re hanging out with close friends, it likely will when having newly made acquaintances over for the first time. 

So how can you avoid getting into this sort of cringe-inducing mess? By using conversation pieces, of course! These interesting, discussion-instigating odds and ends can help avert awkward silences and conversational lulls, providing you and your guests with an endless supply of conversation ideas and improving the aesthetic of your home. Here are some of our ideas! 

Musical instruments

Piano in extravagant home

In addition to being excellent decoration pieces, musical instruments serve another supplementary purpose: starting conversations! Whether you’re discussing the unique history of a particular instrument, showing off your limited repertoire or just trying to figure out who the best guitarist of all time is (Stevie Ray Vaughan, obviously), they’re sure to liven up the vibe. 

Let’s say you’ve got an old piano that’s beat up, missing keys and out of tune. Sure, you could leave it on the curb or sequester it away in storage, but why not make space for it in your living room? Whether you play the instrument or not, you’ll have plenty to talk about surrounding the history of the instrument and how you came into its possession. It really is the perfect conversation piece! 

Guitars are a great addition to any room as well. They’re cheap, they look great hanging on the wall or sitting on a stand, and they barely take up any space! There are dozens of unique types of guitars that can be purchased from music shops, pawn shops, antique shops and friends. No matter which type you buy, it’s sure to be a hit in your living room! 

Less common instruments can also be a smash hit in the conversation making department; from saxophones to clarinets to upright basses and tubas, any and all musical instruments are great conversation starters. Keep them in your living room and get ready to spark up a lively discussion; trust us, you won’t regret it! 

If you don’t play an instrument, then this might be the perfect time to get started! Even if you aren’t exactly a prodigy at the start, with time just about anyone can become reasonably proficient with an instrument. Even if you can only play one or two songs, you’ll have fun and you can have a great time poking fun at yourself in good humour! 

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Reused/refinished furniture

Refinished table

Another great way to get conversations started in your home is to furnish your living room with antique, repurposed or secondhand furniture. Not only is this a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, the pieces of furniture can make for excellent conversation starters and accent pieces. So how can you go about making these items a part of your living room decor? Keep reading to find out! 

The first thing you’re going to want to do is some furniture hunting. We’re not talking about a quick trip to Ikea here; if you want to spark scintillating conversations in your home, you’re going to need to do a bit more searching. Antique stores, yard sales, curbside giveaways and estate sales are all great options. 

Once you’ve found a couple furniture pieces that speak to you, you’ll need to make sure it’s condition is acceptable for display in your home. If the furniture is in good shape, this might mean little more than washing some couch cushion covers. For furniture that’s a bit more dilapidated, you might need to do some DIY refinishing with the help of online tutorials. 

During this process, it’s important to take your time and be thorough, methodical and persistent. It’s better to keep things slow and steady than rush it and end up with a poorly finished, unattractive article of furniture. Refinishing furnishings is often regarded as an excessively difficult task, but if you take your time and keep at it, you’ll likely be able to pull it off. 

After you’ve brought your furniture up to snuff, it’s time to incorporate it into the decor of your home. Arrange things in such a way that each piece of furniture compliments every other piece of furniture, so as to lend a coherent, cohesive look to your living room. Once this is done, it’s time to sit back and enjoy all of your new conversation pieces! 

Decorative odds-and-ends 

Antique clock on mantle

Of all the conversation starters on this list, these are the easiest and most cost effective ways to keep the conversation going in your living room. Whether it’s an artisanal mantle clock, a set of paintings by a local artist or an ornate sculpture made out of clay, these conversation pieces are perfect for any homeowners seeking an easy and inexpensive way to liven things up. 

One of the best places to look for these interesting knick-knacks is at yard sales and garage sales. These are many reasons why yard sales are great for this kind of conversation piece hunting, but the most compelling is the sheer variety you’ll be treated to at these types of sales. You never really know what you’re going to find, and the price is almost always less than its actual value! 

If yard sales aren’t really your thing, you can try thrift shops. These menageries of donated goods are always a good place to find strange, unconventional and sometimes beautiful decor pieces at a great price. You won’t always walk away with gold in decor form, but those rare finds are worth all the time you spend searching for them! 

Antique stores are perfect for finding curated, beautiful and well preserved items that tie your interior design aesthetic together. These little mom-and-pop antique shops can be found in just about every city, and offer plenty of delightful finds such as clocks, furniture, wall hangings and everything in between. For those who enjoy discovering unique odds and ends, it really is a dream come true! 

Online marketplaces like Craigslist, eBay and Amazon are also excellent places to find rare, unique and specific items, if you have a particular decorational piece in mind. While they may not be cheap (sellers on these sites often know the value of the items they’re selling) if you know exactly what you want it will save you a lot of time. 

Video game consoles

Nintendo NES game console

Of course decor, furniture and musical instruments can only take you so far. For younger guests with shorter attention spans, you’re going to need something that provides a nice dopamine rush in addition to the conversation. Luckily, there’s something that fits this unique little niche quite well: video game consoles

You might be thinking that video game consoles are expensive and not worth the investment, especially if you don’t frequently play video games. While this is certainly true when it comes to the latest, most modern consoles, there are plenty of older models on the market that can be purchased for under $100 while still providing you and your guests with hours of entertainment in your living room or rec room

We don’t have unlimited amounts of space here, so we’ve chosen two of our favorite consoles of all time: the Nintendo 64 and the Nintendo Wii. Both of these consoles can be found used for less than $100, and they’re both recognized as two of the best, most entertaining consoles of all time by gamers around the world. 

The Nintendo 64 has a variety of titles that can be found for around the $5 price point, but if we had to choose the perfect game for this situation, we’d go with Mario Kart 64. It can be played by up to four players at a time, and the simple, intuitive controls are easy to learn and a blast to play around with. Other possible options include Super Smash Bros., Goldeneye and many, many more excellent choices! 

The Nintendo Wii is also quite affordable, and the motion controls are unquestionably the most hilarious and entertaining aspect of its large catalogue of games. When it comes to choosing “the perfect couch multiplayer game” it’s a tough call, but we’re going to go with Mario Party 9. This board game-style title is almost completely luck based, and will get your blood pumping. You might win big or lose it all, but either way it’s a good time! 

Conclusion

While these conversation starters vary in price and ease of obtainability, the beauty of this topic is that it’s almost entirely open ended. You’re the only person who can say how you incorporate these conversation starters into your home, and your options are virtually limitless. It’s all about displaying your passions for your guests to see! 

If you feel like your home is so drab and uninteresting that it stifles conversation, why not consider purchasing a new one? Find a real estate agent in your area, and see what’s on the market. With a bit of searching, you’ll be able to find something that suits your needs and your budget. Who knows? Before long, you might be adding conversation starters to an entirely new living room! 

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