A home that delights the senses puts us instantly at ease — just think of the warmth of a crackling fire, the scent of baking bread, or the flicker of candlelight. Makes you feel all cozy inside, right? We tend to get hung up thinking about how our homes look, without giving nearly as much thought to how they make us feel. But if you want to walk in the door at the end of a long day and feel that great big, delightful sigh of relief (and who doesn’t?), it’s time to tap into the power of the senses.
Warmth. At its most basic, our homes are shelter from the elements. By playing up your home’s warming elements — think crackling fires, cozy blankets, and thick, cushy rugs — we can access this fundamental human need to feel snug and safe. If you don’t have a woodstove or working fireplace, you can still suggest warmth by stacking up a pile of rustic firewood or a basket of pinecones, and bringing in other cozy accessories like good books, mugs of tea, and soft blankets.
Views. Whether your home’s best view is to a stunning seascape like the one shown here, or a more modest sliver of green, aim to make the most of what you’ve got. A connection to the outdoors — even if you’re in the middle of a city — can extend sight lines, make your home feel more spacious, and bring in the changing blues and grays of the sky. If possible, try shifting furniture to position a desk or favorite armchair so it’s angled to better enjoy the view out a window.
Texture. Playing up texture in the home is all about contrast. Look at the fabric and other materials of your home up close and count how many different textures you can find. If it’s less than five, aim to add a few more! Mix it up with nubby linen, crisp cotton, rustic wood, woven rattan, silk, smooth leather, and shiny glass or metal.
Soundscape. What you hear in your home can have a big impact on your mood. Can you hear nature sounds out the windows, or traffic? If the sounds around your home are ones you’d rather not hear, consider investing in better sound-proofing, or a small tabletop fountain to create a burbling white noise. Next, take some time to think about what sort of music you most enjoy listening to. Consider curating playlists for yourself on Spotify, or within your personal music library, to suit different moods.
Scent (and taste). Scented candles might be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of scent at home, but there are many other ways to create layers of delicious scents at home. Pick out potted houseplants with scents you love (scented geranium is a favorite of mine), use cleaning products infused with essential oils, light natural beeswax candles, and don’t forget to open up the windows to let in the fresh breeze! And as far as taste goes, consider keeping your pantry stocked with wonderful-smelling teas and local honey, and growing a few pots of fresh culinary herbs in the window.
Focal point. Having a visual focal point is an interior design principle that you can put to work in every room in the house. In the space shown here, a wild purple-painted piano tucked into a nook covered in leafy wallpaper is sure to grab the eye! Your focal point can be as dramatic — or as soothing — as you like. Consider hanging a single work of art, using a rug in a rich hue, or putting the spotlight on a single great chair.
Mood lighting. Last but not least, think about how light flows through your home. Do certain rooms get a lot of natural light, while others are dim? Boost lighting where needed with lamps, strands of twinkle lights, and plenty of candles for a diffused glow that makes everyone look (and feel) better.
Rug Shopping Guide: (fantastically textured rugs, clockwise from top left) Surya Anchorage in taupe; Surya Sheepskin in white; Artistic Weavers Kentucky Ethan in brown; Karastan Prima Shag Fassi in ivory, cream, and taupe.
For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at LauraGaskill.com!
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