Designed for the Senses

Before: Without any color, the details of the room are lost in a haze of white

The most aesthetically pleasing rooms appeal to us through sight, smell, sound, and touch. The scents, colors and textures of our homes are all an integral part of the atmosphere. Yet we are rarely aware of how these elements affect our senses because our response to them is so innate. We don't consciously think about how a smell affects us - it just does. Sometimes the effect is positive and other times negative, but either way, scent is a vital part of what we experience in different environments.

After: The bold russet red color draws your eye to the detailed molding and firplace to create a cozy family room.

These sensory components trigger emotional and physical responses from our minds and bodies. We might feel chilled, despite a warm and comfortable temperature within a space, and not realize that it's the icy blue color of the walls and d├ęcor that is causing our chill. We might prickle or even get goose bumps when our skin comes in contact with an unusual texture. And despite the fact that we thought the room was beautiful, it may leave an uncomfortable impression, although we can't quite discern why.

Scents and Sensibilities

Creating beautiful and inviting spaces requires understanding your own response to each of the different sensory elements. Fragrance is a powerful tool in design because smell is the strongest of the senses when it comes to triggering negative or positive emotions. How a place smells greatly affects how you feel about it.

The idea of interior aromatic design is not a new idea. The ancient world was amazingly adept at creating just the right scent for the occasion. People in that time used scent to enhance the quality of life - with healing scents, calming scents, and inspiring scents. One of the most elaborate systems for interior aromatic design was in first-century Rome where the emperor scented his palace for a party. The carved ivory ceilings were fitted with concealed pipes that sprayed mists of fragrant waters on guests below.

The future focus for home fragrance and household products will be custom fragrances that can be adopted to create an ambiance and enhance the mood in our home environments. The artistic and aesthetic designers will influence formulations, we will the researchers who study how fragrance affect mood and performance.

How your home smells says a lot about you. And soon you will be able to have your own personal scent to create a welcoming home environment.

Life in Living Color

Claude Monet (1840-1926) once said, "Color is my day-long obsession, joy, and torment." Color stirs the emotions. I've seen people react both physically and emotionally to the colors that surround them, whether they were aware of it or not.

The effects of bold, dramatic color are far-reaching. Color can motivate, de-stress, improve one's disposition, and even help control appetite Yes, the color red can make you hungry - especially for sweets. Despite colors power, so many of my clients are afraid to use color. With millions of colors to choose from it's no wonder it's so hard to decide. A difference of just a shade or tone can change a color from perfect to disastrous. One of my clients had actually painted her living three times before her husband insisted she call me. They wanted a soft shade of yellow. Unfortunately, yellow is one of the most difficult colors to get correct. It can be garish or warm and inviting.

In interior design, just as in art, harmony results from pleasing arrangements of colors. But that too can be difficult because our response to color is influenced by a combination of education, exposure, culture and our individual ability to see color. Even our personal histories and life experiences and our religious affiliation can affect how we respond to color.

Knowing which color you are drawn to and understanding your own response to color can give you the ability to use color to positively influence your life - both physically and emotionally. I recommend working from the color palette of something you love. It can be a scarf, a painting, carpet, wallpaper, or anything that uses the colors that make you feel good.
Even people who seem most afraid of color overcome their fear once they grasp which colors make them smile.
It's your home and it matters!

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