Create a Home That Appeals to Your Senses

From the big picture to the small details, make every room a sensual experience.

| January/February 2003

If we allowed our senses to guide us, we might opt for a soft blanket with some weight, the mug that feels good to hold, a lamp that casts a warm glow, an eggplant-purple wall. We might make our own cookies to enjoy the delicious smell of them baking. We'd linger and pet the purring cat on our lap and let the laundry wait.

Being in touch with our senses allows us to connect with our physical self and our emotions, which is natural, healthy, and a welcome relief in our modernized, homogenized, fast-paced society. On a daily basis, we've become accustomed to tuning out any number of less-than-pleasurable things such as foul smells from exhaust pipes or secondhand cigarette smoke, uncomfortable bus seats, harsh grocery store lighting, a ringing cellular phone. We're bombarded with information and advertisements. To cope, we have to ignore quite a bit. Sometimes this habit carries over into home time, and we merely occupy our spaces instead of taking time to savor them and cultivate positive stimuli.

We can make our private space a cozy and inspiring place to relax, recharge, and rejuvenate, a world away from those not-so-sensuous experiences. Home can be pampering and sensuous. It's a personal matter of being surrounded by colors, textures, sounds, aromas, and items that are meaningful and pleasurable.

The key to tuning in to sensuousness is slowing down and noticing your surroundings. This consciousness brings us into the present moment. If what we're aware of in our homes isn't delighting our senses, we can make some simple changes.

Practical pleasures

A sensuous home isn't a particular style; it's a feast for the senses. It's a place with beautiful, comfortable, functional, and luxurious furniture, fabrics, floor coverings, and artful items. Things that are lovely to look at and use. It's a mood set by light, color, and scent.

Pick items and fabrics that feel good and nurturing. For Boulder, Colorado-based architect and interior designer Betzi Bliklen Barrett, this means not just the physical feel of something but its visual feel and the emotions it inspires. For example, she recently chose carpet for her bedroom with curvy lines that looks like sand on a beach. The carpet's texture feels good under her feet, too.

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