Furniture Matters

As odd as it may sound, the style and arrangment of a room directly effect the acceptablity and comfort of people in a room. I was thinking about differences between where I used to live in San Diego and where I live now in Sunnyvale and noticed that the living rooms in both had seat placements facing a television. All the bodies in the room are at angles to each other, making the TV the focal point of body language. On the other hand, in San Diego, the kitchen had a low table with ample seats around it that made it very inviting to sit down over a newspaper or some food to chat and generally hang out. The table affords some protection to your personal space allowing people to interact freely. The affordance of personal space also becomes very relevant in the office. At work, my back is to the door of my office, with my computer and desk in the corner opposite of the the door and the door’s little window. When people come in to talk to me, I can’t exactly figure out what to do with my body or hands and I realize that it’s because the manner in which my office is set up compromises my (and the other person in my office) personal space. Many other people’s offices are arranged backwards from mine, so the desk faces the door and the back of the computer is exposed. The desk (much like the table) allows people to set up their personal spaces and produces comfort in the situation.