• Barton Wood

Designed for Your Senses – Touchable Décor

It’s difficult to resist touching something beautiful. We love to hold soft cuddly kittens and stroke the smooth worn surface of sea glass. When we shop for produce, we touch it and squeeze it. When we shop for clothing, we caress the fabric. If it feels too stiff or rough, we cringe and move on to another choice. We choose lipstick not only for its color, but also by the way it feels on our lips. We like jus the right amount of moisture and gloss—but we don’t like “sticky” lips.



Our homes offer an opportunity to introduce appealing tactile sensory elements. How does your home feel? Think about it with your eyes closed. Could you identify specific items in your home simply by touching them? Most of us can easily identify many of the textures within our home. Yet they man not all be pleasing to feel.


In your living or family room you will encounter a variety of sensations. The hard, smooth surface of a formal table and a well-worn hewn surface of an antique chest off very different sensations. As you sit on your sofa, consider the comfort level. The cushions should have enough softness for you to sit comfortably while still supporting your weight. Accent pillows can be beautiful with prickly sequins and rough buttons, or they c n feel incredibly soft and touchable if filled with goose down. Many of us love to squeeze a pillow as a form of comfort. It feels good.


Our entire body is sensitive to how things feel because the sense of touch originates in the bottom layer of our skin, the dermis. The dermis is filled with lots of tint nerve endings that translate information about the things with which our body comes in contact. The most sensitive areas are your hands, lips, face, neck, tongue, fingertips and feet.

I believe the most welcoming environments are those that appeal to all our senses. No matter how good a house smells or looks, if the surfaces that you sit on or lie on are hard and unyielding, it won’t feel cozy or comfortable.

Rooms that are texturally rich can invite conversation or calm the spirit simply by the way they feel. Textures that are interesting invite us to explore the way they feel. As we feel them we are delighted. Layers of texture such as stone, marble, wood, shells or even plants invite us to tough them, and by doing so we are rewarded with a deeper, richer experience of a room’s décor. Only when our home appeals to our senses that it truly becomes an environment that is comforting to body and soul.


There are ways to enhance the touch ability of every room within your home. Regardless of your decorating style, you can always find elements that can instantly make your home more inviting to touch. The kitchen is a good place to incorporate different textures to make it more appealing. Kitchen s were designed for touching. Countertops can be made of anything from concrete to diamond-brushed granite. Each providing a different tactile experience. One designer embedded real leaves into resin for a countertop. Although you could not actually touch the leaves, you could still imagine the sensation, and that thought alone can bring about a pleasing feel.


Kitchen cabinets offer many opportunities for touchability. Whether they are simple Contemporary or detailed Traditional, the finish surface has its own texture, from smooth to rough. Faux worm holes, carvings, intricate molding, and of course hardware all bring unique texture to your cabinets.

Of course, your kitchen floor also has many options for different textures. Whether you choose tile, laminate, wood or bamboo, your floor choice should be chosen not just for how it looks and performs, but also how it feels underfoot. Change the feeling simply by adding area rugs seasonally to enhance the quality of the experience.


Don’t forget your kitchen table, which is yet another way to add texture and tactile detail. You many have a aged farm table or a smooth glass top table. Your dinnerware also contributes to the overall tactile experience. I chose Italian handcrafted dinnerware which is large in scale with smooth details that feel good to touch. They complement my worn painted table beautifully.


Consider tablecloths, place mats and chargers to add additional texture to your tabletop. Each adds comfort and charm the effects the overall mood of the room. They also add to the sensory experience because we touch these items each time we sit at the table. Flatware, napkins, eve the glasses or cups you choose all can creatively channel good feelings to your brain.


If you want your family to spend more time together, try adding warm touches to your family or living room to create a space they will not want to leave. When choosing fabrics for these rooms try to recreate the opportunity to relive the childhood experience of the favorite blankie. Every child had one. A soft throw can allow you to experience that comfort all over again.


There are touchable comfort opportunities throughout your home. Experiment with different texture to determine which you find most pleasing.


Softly,

Sharon


© 2018 Sharon Hanby-Robie

Sharon Hanby-Robie is an interior
designer, author, & speaker
specializing in living simply.

You can contact Sharon at

sharon@sharonhanbyrobie.com

or fill out our form here.