Interior Design for All 5 Senses

Decorate to engage not just sight but also sound, smell, taste, and touch.

By Ande Waggener

 

Beautiful home design is obviously intended to engage the sense of sight. The design elements of color, shape, balance, and flow are all playing to what we can see.

 

But does this mean that our eyes get to have all the fun?

 

Not necessarily.

 

Well-rounded room design isn’t just for the eyes. Truly impactful interior design goes beyond the sense of sight to include the other four senses as well. So your ears, your nose, your taste buds, and your skin get to have some pleasure too.

 

Here are some easy ways to use your interior décor to activate your other four senses.

 

Create Sound with Water Fountain & Chimes

The trickle of water is a soothing addition to any interior décor. You can get this auditory pleasure from something as simple as a small table fountain.

 

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You could also bring favorite wind chimes inside. Wind chimes don’t have to be relegated to the outdoors. Hanging some above your bed can add a relaxing tone to your bedroom décor.

 

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Or have some fun by combining a small chime with another sound element like bells and then hanging them with a long vertical design accessory.

 

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The bells and chimes on the elephant chain above hang where they are often bumped by a shoulder, generating a pleasing jangle that boosts the room’s personality.

 

Enhancing the Sense of Smell

Scented candles, of course, are a natural way to trigger the sense of smell in your home décor. Some with children and pets don’t want to burn scented candles all the time. But they can still enjoy the scent experience with battery-powered scented candles that fit into their décor.

 

A rock salt lamp will purify the air, thus removing odors that would detract from otherwise pleasing décor.

 

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As you can see above, when you pair the lamp with another rock-based décor element, it’s a treat for the eyes too.

 

For those serious about scents, an aromatherapy diffuser introduces an even greater level of aromatic pleasure to your rooms. Diffusers give you access to a variety of scents, enabling you to vary the mood of your room.

 

Not all diffusers are all that pretty to look at, but you can tuck them in with other décor to overcome any visual failings.

 

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A variety of plants are quite adept at cleaning and oxygenating the air so it’s more pleasing to the nose.

 

Try a spider plant. Or for a larger visual impact, you can include a ficus in your décor.

 

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Add a little romance with some drooping English ivy. Or go Southwestern with an aloe plant.

 

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Decorating for the Sense of Touch

Pleasing the skin is done by including soft, smooth items, and by avoiding rough ones.

 

Fleece is a very cozy fabric that will soothe the sense of touch. Often a fleece throw for the chair or couch is all it takes to incorporate that soft feeling in your design.

 

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Known for their silky texture, satin fabrics are especially a delight to the skin in the bedroom.

 

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Meanwhile, fur can be a truly luxurious treat for your skin. Fit it right into your décor with fur pillows or a fur throw.

 

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Also play up to the sense of touch by avoiding harsh textures. Textures like sisal need to be kept away from bare skin. So if you like to go barefooted, a sisal rug may not be your best choice (no matter how good it looks to your eyes).

 

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Accommodating Your Sense of Taste

Pleasing the sense of taste may seem impossible for interior design. After all, we don’t, as a general rule, go around licking the furniture.

 

However, including the sense of taste in room design can be done, starting with the ubiquitous fruit bowl.

 

There’s a reason fruit bowls are so common in interior design staging. They’re delightfully versatile. Because fruit comes in so many colors, you can choose exactly what you need to match your color scheme.

 

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Fruit bowls also keep your décor from getting too static. You obviously have to switch out the fruit regularly. Fresh fruit will give you the pleasure of variety in your décor, while encouraging healthy snacking. There is also fake fruit, but who wants that?

 

Want to make your sense of taste really happy? Think about your favorite food. Even before you start to eat it, you’ll be tasting it in your mind.

 

You can have a little fun using this food as inspiration for art in your décor. You can either buy a painting or print of this taste sensation, or you can make the art yourself. Just take a photo of your favorite food and frame it.

 

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If you put the food against a backdrop that matches your décor, you’re pleasing both your eyes and mouth at the same time.

 

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Beyond food, think color to stimulate the sense of taste. The color red is known to enhance appetite. It’s a friend to our taste buds. So including it in your dining room can activate this sense.

 

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As you can see, it is possible to expand the horizons of your interior décor if you start designing your space to include all five senses.

 

Have you found a way to make all five senses happy? How did you do it?

 

Images used with permission, courtesy of Ande Waggener and www.shutterstock.com

Next: 3 Dramatic Ways to Turn Your Living Room into a Victorian Parlor