Decorating with Your 5 Senses

Decorating with Your 5 Senses

Abby Stone
Sep 23, 2008

atla-092308-senses02.jpgOften we forget, when decorating, that an appealing space is not only one which appeals to your visual sense but to your other four senses as well. The senses of touch, smell, sound and even taste, all come into play when creating an inviting home...

  • Sight: Arrangement, colour and light are the three major elements which come into play here. Colour can excite you or calm you down. Light can put the focus on a great element or create a mood. Arrangement, whether of collections, furniture or knick-knacks, creates a sense of balance and calm.
  • Smell: Whether from cooking, from plants, flowers and fruit or from scented candles and sprays, the smell of a home can create a mood from homey to romantic. Like the perfume or cologne you choose to wear, consider creating a signature scent in your home using a combination of elements, and then vary it accoruding to the weather (we like spicy scents as the weather cools down, greener ones in the summer).
  • Touch: fabric and texture work can invite someone to sit and chat a while or send a cooling vibe through a home. High gloss floors, a velvet sofa, a shag rug or one in sisal. Use the texture in your home to create the feel you want. You might even consider varying the textures in your home with the seasons.
  • Sound: Whether ambient or designed, sound is an important and subtle part of a home's character. Striking a balance between quiet and great sound is key in creating a peaceful home. Listen to your home -- the creak of a floorboard, the hum of the refrigerator motor, your neighbor's laughter -- and then work around the environment sounds until you achieve one that you enjoy. You may need to eliminate annoying sounds (by rubbing baby powder into your creaking floors for example or running a fan to drown out the sound of traffic) as well as add pleasant ones.
  • Taste: No, we're not suggesting you incorporate a candy dish into each room in your home. For us, taste is the sense of ease in a home. It comes into play when we think about how this room will be used for entertaining and living. Is there a space to put a cup of tea on a side table next to a chair or will we have to move a dozen tchotchkes? Can I put a drink on this table or will I have to first find a coaster? What if I spill on this couch? It's the sense we most equate with confirming that this room works for the people who will live there.

[Image: Maria's "Oh So You" Bungalow]

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