They say everything in a home tells a story.
One of the most uncomfortable things you can experience when you have guests over is a prolonged awkward silence. When you run out of things to talk about, everyone’s just going to sit quietly for a few moments, and if nothing else comes up, the phones come out and people start idly wondering if the traffic will be bad on the way home. In order to prevent this social stalemate from occurring, you need conversation pieces. Little knick-knacks or oddly shaped furniture can be just interesting enough to attract an inquisitive glance, or, in a pinch, a less-than-subtle point-out.
But what starts a conversation? Well, the first thing you need to remember is that there’s a fine line between telling a story and bragging. If, for example, you’ve got a framed autograph from some favorite person, you’ll want to talk about the actual story of how you met that person, which can segue into a general discussion on their work. You don’t want to start bragging about how awesome you are for possessing that item; that’s just going to annoy people.
Now, as far as actual suggestions go, you want something that tells a story. Vintage sports gear on a tasteful mount is fun for sporty folks. An interesting abstract art piece can provoke some philosophical conversation. Even an oddly-shaped couch can be amusing if, say, it’s part of a rare or discontinued product line.
One word of caution, though. Conversation pieces should be strategically placed in a few select spots around your home. When you start covering your place in wall-to-wall knick-knacks and memorabilia, it stops being social grease and becomes a social minefield. People are usually interested in hearing about one or two interesting things, not every last thing in the house.