When we are decorating our homes, we tend to focus on what we can see. Choosing the right color palettes and picking furniture that is aesthetically pleasing is obviously important, but what about the rest of our senses?
Sight is only one of the ways that we experience a space and if you really want to transform your home and create something unique, it’s important to engage all of the senses at once. This is how you make an average room into something really special.
If you haven’t considered all of the senses when decorating before, this guide will teach you how to engage all of them with your designs.
Although it isn’t the only sense we need to consider, sight is an important one because it is the sense that is engaged first when we enter a room. Before we react to the things we can hear, smell or touch, we make an immediate judgment about what we can see. There are a few key things to consider when trying to engage this sense.
Firstly, the colours that you choose make a huge difference and it’s not just about whether they look good or not. It’s important to understand the psychology of colour and the impact that different colours can have on our mood. This concept will guide you when choosing colours so you can pick a palette that fits well with the intended use of the room. For example, greens and yellows are known to reduce stress and improve concentration, so they’re ideal for a home office. However, they don’t work as well in a living space where you want to create a more relaxing feel.
Knowing how to use patterns is just as important as selecting the right colours. Although patterns can be very visually appealing and they engage the brain, they must be used selectively. Too many patterns, especially ones that clash, creates visual overload and gives us a negative perception of the space. That’s why feature walls work so brilliantly because they allow you to introduce patterns but also to balance them with plain walls throughout the rest of the room. So, whenever you are using patterns, always remember that less is more.
Visual weight is another vital concept that affects the way we perceive a space. The visual weight of an item is how heavy it appears, and large bulky pieces of furniture in a dark wood, for example, have a much higher visual weight than a minimalist glass coffee table. Again, you need to think about the purpose of the room when considering physical weight. If you want to create a very homely atmosphere, furniture with a high visual weight is fine. However, if you are working with an open plan living space and you want to emphasize that light, airy feeling, furniture with a low visual weight is important.
The size of the space that you are decorating factors into issues with visual weight too. Furniture items with a high visual weight make a small space feel cluttered, so if you are choosing furniture for a flat, for example, it’s best to go for items with a low visual weight.
People often underestimate the impact that touch has on home decor. But touch isn’t just about picking things up with your hands, it’s about any textures that come into contact with your body. That includes the flooring you walk over or the furniture you sit on, so it’s very important to consider touch.
Rugs are a prime example of how engaging touch can completely change the way that we feel about a space. If you have hardwood flooring in your home, it feels very cold and it’s not particularly inviting, especially in the winter. In certain rooms, this isn’t a problem, but in living areas, it can make it difficult to relax. However, with the addition of a simple rug, you can transform the space. If you added a big cowhide rug to the space (follow the link to go to the website and browse some great ones), people suddenly have something comforting to sink their feet into. Not only does it solve the issue with cold flooring, but it also transforms their impression of the room and makes it somewhere that they want to relax.
Rugs are just one example but you should always be looking for ways to introduce new textures to the room. It’s not about encouraging people to walk around your home and touch everything, it’s about engaging that part of the brain and making them wonder what it feels like. Using different materials on furniture is the easiest way to introduce more textures but you should also think about your walls. Textured wallpaper can sometimes work, and exposed brick is great too. Ideally, you should focus on contrasting textures too, to create a room that is exciting and invites exploration.
We are all familiar with the smell in our own homes and we find it comforting. In fact, smell has a big impact on our mood, so it’s an important consideration to make when decorating your home. Sometimes, smells emerge naturally in the home from things like wooden furniture, but you should also make an effort to introduce positive smells too.
Lavender is a brilliant option for living areas or bedrooms because it has been shown to have a very calming effect. Using a scented candle or an essential oil diffuser will fill your home with an incredible lavender smell, creating the perfect relaxing atmosphere for you. Bringing elements of the outdoors in by putting flowers around the home will also make a big difference.
Opening a window is another simple way to use smell in your home. The scent of the flowers in your garden or the freshly cut grass can bring a new element to your home and bridge the gap between the indoors and the outdoors.
When designing and decorating your home, you should also consider how to avoid bad odours. Sometimes, this means making practical changes like adding an extractor fan to the kitchen. However, you should also think more generally about the flow of fresh air through the home.
This is one that people always overlook because they just don’t get how hearing has anything to do with home decor. However, background sounds can have a very calming effect on us and you should make an effort to incorporate them into your home.
Think about the outside spaces and the sounds that they generate. If you have a nice garden and you can often hear birds outside, that’s a nice sound that you want into your home. So when you are positioning furniture, put it close to a window so whoever is sitting there is able to enjoy the sounds of your garden.
The sound of running water has also been shown to have a calming effect on people. You can easily introduce this to your home by installing a water feature in your garden. Not only does it engage your hearing and your sight, but it’s also a good way to encourage more wildlife into the garden, so it’s a great addition.
Eliminating unwanted noise is important too, especially if you live near a busy road. The last thing you want is the sound of traffic when you are trying to relax and unwind. The good news is, there are a few simple ways to get around this. If you don’t already have it, you should consider upgrading your windows to double glazing. This blocks out any unwanted noise and gives you more control over the soundscape inside your home. Alternatively, you can use window treatments to block out noise. You’d be surprised just how much difference a thick set of curtains can make. All of these options will help you to heat your house more efficiently and reduce your energy bills too.
Taste is probably the trickiest sense to engage when designing your home, but there are ways to get the taste buds tingling. You can use the psychology of colour here too because red has been proven to increase appetite. Just be careful with it because red is quite an overbearing colour and it needs to be used sparingly. However, a few splashes of red in your dining room or kitchen can make a very big difference.
It’s also a good idea to use culinary accessories as decorative items as well as functional ones. For example, display all of your fancy China in plate racks or put up some pan hooks along the wall. These clever storage solutions become great decorative pieces that get people thinking about food and evoke images of delicious meals shared in the kitchen together.
When we walk into a room, we first register what we can see, but we don’t stop there. Our brains take in a wealth of information using all 5 senses, and all of that information combines to give us a feeling about the room. Being relaxed and comfortable is about what you can smell, hear, taste and touch as well as about what you can see. That’s why it’s so important to engage all 5 senses when decorating your home.0