What you need to know:
- In home styling, sensory design is in the elements you bring into your home and the overall effect they have on you and your family’s wellbeing.
- The philosophy behind it is that your space should engage your five senses while balancing and calming you. Here is how to accomplish this in your own home:
- The sense of hearing is stimulated by the sounds in your home. You want sounds that calm and soothe you, sounds that put you in a restful zen-like space.
They call it sensory design, an approach that embraces the five human senses and incorporates them into the design of whatever you are creating.
In home styling, sensory design is in the elements you bring into your home and the overall effect they have on you and your family’s wellbeing.
The philosophy behind it is that your space should engage your five senses while balancing and calming you. Here is how to accomplish this in your own home:
Sense of sight
You want a home that looks good. You want you, your family and your guests walking through your door and encountering a feast for the eyes.
A home that looks good is one that has balanced visual elements such as colour, scale, placement and light.
It also subconsciously balances other styling elements such as cohesion, form and function.
The sense of sight responds to questions such as, ‘What is your home’s colour theme?’ ‘Are your pieces to the right scale of your space?’ ‘Have you placed them in a way that enhances balances, allows people to walk freely?’
Also, ‘Are there patterns that draw the eye?’ ‘Is light sufficiently pouring into the space, both natural and artificial light?’
Think through these questions as you get down to work.
Sense of hearing
The sense of hearing is stimulated by the sounds in your home. You want sounds that calm and soothe you, sounds that put you in a restful zen-like space.
There are some annoying sounds in the home that can throw you off kilter: a leaking tap, the moaning sound of a loose furniture leg, windows and doors that creak when the wind blows, and a refrigerator near its death.
You can also have environmental noise such as car traffic and too loud music.
Cancel out the unsettling sounds and enhance the soothing sounds. First, fix what is broken: tighten that loose furniture leg, oil the window and door joints and ask an electrician to fine-tune your appliances.
For environmental noise, install curtains that absorb outside noise. Rugs also absorb noise and are recommended for the bedroom.
Lastly, consider installing devices that emit soothing sounds. Say, a white noise machine, an air humidifier and Bluetooth speakers. If you are feeling extra, install indoor water fountains.
Sense of touch
The sense of touch is stimulated when you see something and you suddenly get an impulse to feel it beneath your fingertips.
‘How luxurious does that suede feel?’ ‘Is that sisal basket as rough as it looks?’ ‘Will my toes sink into that plush living room rug?’
Any piece with texture automatically stimulates the sense of touch. That said, bring textured pieces into your home that will make it feel the way you want.
Velvet and suede bring in luxury and posh. Natural fibres such as wool, sisal and wicker bring a touch of homeliness and are connectedly African.
A plush rug will be inviting. Leather furniture will make your space feel like a gentleman’s club. Metalwork has an industrial vibe.
Textured throw pillows are cosy and easy. Also incorporate the sense of touch into your walls with textured wallpaper, artwork on canvas, and photos with fascinating frames.
Sense of smell
The sense of smell is one of the most powerful senses because it entrenches itself into memory.
You are far more likely to recall space and its associated emotions when you catch the scents that dominate that space.
It doesn’t matter how much time has passed, you will recall a lot and in a lot of surprising detail.
Knowing this, then be aware of the scents you bring into your home, the emotions they evoke and the memories they create.
Select those that uplift, soothe and bring joy. Citrus scents uplift you and give your home a clean feeling.
Lavender and vanilla scents are calming. Jasmine and cinnamon are warm scents that enhance memory. Mint and coffee scents invigorate.
To style for the sense of smell, burn scented candles, fire up the humidifier and fill up the reed diffuser with your targeted scents.
Also, master the art of making your own potpourri. Lastly, buy cleaning products that have the scent you love, say toilet cleaner, floor shine and air freshener.
Sense of taste
This can be incorporated in two ways. One, master the art of using stylish dinnerware to set up what feels like a Roman feast, on your dining table.
Setting up a dining table for guests is far different from setting one up for your family’s daily meals, but the result should be the same: whetting of appetites, homeliness and the togetherness of the family.
Buy dinnerware and other accessories that enhance this feeling of everyday festivity.
Consider accessories such as flower vases, candle sticks, table mats and runners. Another way to style for the sense of taste is to couple it with the sense of smell.
Catching a coffee scent will make you want to drink coffee. A citrusy smell will have you craving a tall cold drink of a refreshing beverage, one that has ice cubes sashaying on its brim.
Vanilla will remind you of a warm love-filled kitchen.
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