In this article, sensory interior designer Carolyn Feder Gold shares her seven secrets to help you transform your home spaces into a sensory haven!
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Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Imagine standing in the middle of a gorgeous hotel lobby. You love everything about it, especially the one week stay. It gets better when the door to your suite, opens. You smile before checking out the ocean view. Dreams of extending your vacation indefinitely, cross your mind. If only you could capture this feeling, all that accumulated stress would vanish in an instant. If only…
Luxury hotels excel at making guests feel welcome and special, enticing us to return. We can’t wait to share the great experience with others. Moreover, high end restaurants make it easy to order dessert and after-dinner drinks. How do they do this?
The chocolate on your hotel pillow, the fresh flowers in a vase on the dining table, the furniture and the lights, the scents and the colors, are all highly effective methods of subliminal messaging.
Do You Want To Transform Your Home Spaces? Start With Evaluating Your Current Situation!
But before we go any further, let me ask: Do you…
…ever walk through your front door at home and delight in what you see?
…enjoy lingering at your table or lounging in your den?
…walk into your bedroom, take a deep breath, exhale and smile?
If you’ve answered yes to any or all of these questions, that’s wonderful! If not, you’re definitely in the majority. Most people are so busy living life that they often neglect treating themselves to daily doses of sensory TLC.
Many may not even realize what it means to have a sensory healthy environment. However, for everyone whose lives have changed drastically by having to home school or work from home or both, living within a sensory haven is vital.
Nevertheless, as human beings, we are masterful at pushing aside what we don’t want to deal with, placing ‘it’ in the deepest recesses of our minds. Eventually, ‘it’ will surface, usually at night, when we’re trying to fall asleep.
Thoughts may be invisible, but they sure do occupy space and make lots of noise in our minds, don’t they?
Chaos In Your Home Creates Noise In Your Mind
‘Stuff’ in our homes also creates noise in our brain. It’s not uncommon for people to avoid certain rooms or areas and not know why.
From a sensory standpoint, things don’t have to be messy to create a distraction. Moreover, they don’t have to be chaotic to make us feel uncomfortable, annoyed or anxious.
Lighting, color, pattern, texture, scent, sound, etc., affects us all, in some way or another. Therefore, too much of something or the wrong kind of something, can set us off and disrupt our existence.
By removing what makes us react negatively and incorporating what makes us respond positively, we can control our environment to our own benefit. Moreover, doing so results in a more balanced and peaceful life. This emphasizes the importance to transform your home spaces.
Uncovering our sensory language is a fun and interesting journey which provides tools that aid in recreating that hotel or fancy bistro experience, year round.
These techniques developed after years of me being a classically trained interior designer. How I perceived surroundings and designed for clients made perfect sense once I discovered I had synaesthesia.
Moreover, being an HSP/Empath with this sensory ‘gift’ has allowed me to expand my practice. Staging homes and transforming spaces became a favorite because properties tend to sell faster when potential buyers’ have an enhanced experience. For example, it can happen even before entering through the front door.
Many a client has been tempted to renege on selling, after seeing their home through a new and refreshing lens.
Use Spa My Space To Create Your Sensory Haven At Home
Transforming a space into a sensory haven doesn’t necessarily require remolding, just being open to remove what doesn’t work and incorporate only what’s healthy.
Use our signature phrase SPA MY SPACE* as a guideline:
Serene Pampering Alluring
Simple Purposeful Accessible Comfortable Engaging
(* Spa My Space is a proprietary term)
Like treatments at a fancy spa, following these guidelines will motivate you to maintain your new health regime.
Contrary to a spa, ‘Spa My Space’ treatments are long lasting and won’t wash away after the first night. Moreover, removing impurities and invisible sensory irritants in our surroundings allows the mind and body to recalibrate and nurture our soul.
These principles are equally effective on children and adults, especially HSP/Empaths and On The Spectrum with sensory overload issues.
7 Tips To Transform Spaces In Your Home
Start transforming your space in this order and the difference will be palpable. For instance, these 7 tips will help reduce sensory overload, immediately.
#1 Lighting: avoid fluorescents, they contain mercury, distort colors, create mental disruption. Full spectrum bulbs and warmer tones of LEDs replicate sunlight. They bring out true colors and on cloudy days they give our brain a much needed boost. We don’t do well on gloomy days.
#2 Color: avoid using pure white, light grays and bright colors. Red, orange and yellow are used like hot cooking spices— a little goes a long way. For instance, blues, greens and purples are healthy and soothing, you’ll never tire from them. Keep schemes to six colors max, distributing some here and others there. Beige, charcoal, black and brown go with everything. Medium to darker wood stains are best on floors vs lighter.
#3 Materials: avoid artificial anything such as plastics, vinyls, etc. Favor plant based textiles, such as cotton, bamboo, linen. They take on color beautifully and are soft to the touch. For flooring, natural wood absorbs sound and feels great, barefooted. Moreover, opt for larger planks vs narrow. Wood and natural stone on flooring offer grounding properties.
#4 Finishes: avoid shiny/highly reflective surfaces, including tile and bare bulbs. Select matte or satin finishes on furniture and metals for bath and kitchen fixtures.
#5 Scents: avoid spray aerosols, plugs-ins and scented candles, they’re HIGHLY toxic. Focus on pure essential oils instead. Display fresh fruits, flowers and plants, they’re uplifting to have around and help purify the air.
#6 Shapes: avoid or cover sharp corners and the many lines created by shades, wood and tile floors.
#7 Artwork: avoid spikes and angles, choose natural shapes, irregular lines, curves and spirals. Also, when framing, request nonglare glass and canvas wrapped images.
Have Fun Transforming Your Home Spaces Into A Sensory Haven
Are you ready to take your home to the next level, but not sure where to start? Me and my partner would love to help you out!
Our virtual services address everything from restorative sleep, improved focus in learning and working areas and much more. Consultations and personalized prescriptions, ages 5 & above.
We would love to connect with you to help you create a sensory haven in your home.