Home Design for the Senses

When decorating interiors, homeowners most often rely on their sense of sight to gauge how attractive a room is. Most, however, forget that there are four other senses that the human body uses and these are as important as sight. The best and most comprehensive room designs are those that are able to engage all five senses and create a space that's best experienced and not just seen.

Sight is where most homeowners and designers start decorating, mostly because it's the quickest and easiest way to judge how a room appears. There are two ways to visually engage a person - with colors and with shapes. While solid colors are the safer choice for decorating a room, colors that contrast with or complement each other make a room seem much more interesting. At the same time, mixing up shapes and playing with proportion can give a room personality and character. They're effective enough on their own, but the best visual effect comes from using shapes and colors in harmony.

Auditory senses should also be engaged by the ideal home. And while a stereo system or a television could provide sounds, none of those sounds say anything about a room. Compare that to, say, the tinkling of wind chimes hung from a window or the gurgling of a small fountain in a corner. Either of those two sounds help set the mood of the room and give the space its own ambiance.

Your sense of smell, which in itself closely relates to the sense of taste, is one of the most overlooked of all the senses. Believe it or not, the olfactory senses are some of the easiest to engage when it comes to decorating a room. A set of scented candles shall be enough to generate some interest with a visitor's nose. Add a pot of potpourri or a small pot of heated aromatherapy oils to enhance the experience and reinforce the ambiance that you want to achieve in the room. You could even combine sight and smell together with, say, a bowl of fresh ripe oranges as a centerpiece for the dining table.

Touch is a very strong sensory element and shouldn't be overlooked in your design. Your skin can sometimes pick up messages that can't be sent through any other sensory pathway, so your design should hold something interesting for the sense of touch as well. Mix up textures with curtains, pillows, various fabrics and the likes. Different materials often feel very different to the touch, so try to incorporate a whole range of materials when designing the room so that guests will be curious enough to explore your little world of textures.

Your floor, in particular, is a great place to add textures because it's most often left as an unbroken and smooth expanse of wood, tile or cement. A simple rug should solve that little issue by breaking up both the texture and the color, giving your floor a whole different look and shape. Whether you plan to use rich and plush rugs or rough ones with short threads, they add a whole new dimension to what would otherwise be a boring room.

This is a guest post by Joe Griffith posted at BRICKS-n-MORTAR's web-group sometime back this month. This blog however does not claim to have checked the credentials and/or authenticity of the guest author or his/her submission & works. (Standard 'CC' instructions and global disclaimer applies).  


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