Putting it all together
CREATING A SENSUAL ROOM is more than just adding a ticking clock or a silky
bedspread to otherwise blah decor, though that’s a good start. “You have to decide
from the beginning how you want it to feel,” says Chris Barrett, owner of Chris
Barrett Design Inc. in Santa Monica, California.
Pick a mood, such as bright and exciting or calm and relaxing, and incorporate
sensual details from there, says interior designer and author Sharon Hanby-Robie.
“If you want to spice up the bedroom, get rid of the treadmill and use colours and
items that elicit a passionate emotional response.”
You don’t have to have an element that appeals to each sense in every room,
however. The kitchen is a natural haven for smells and tastes, while a home office
is the perfect spot to integrate pleasing sounds and a visually stimulating environment. Silky, sensual fabrics are ideal in the bedroom, while the bathroom invites
soothing sounds and scents.
Just don’t get caught up in decorating for looks only. “The most appealing and
aesthetically pleasing rooms appeal to all the senses, because we are sensual people,” Hanby-Robie says. “Whether we’re aware of it or not, we respond with all our
senses, not just sight, so we should decorate with intent and purpose.”—GR
smells in their own homes, so before you pull don’t, use pads under carpets to absorb the
out the scented candles, make sure you’re not noise,” she advises.
just masking a bad odour. Hanby-Robie Barrett likes to use the outdoors to create
advises her clients to walk in their front doors sounds inside. “I’ve put fountains outside
(since most people come in through a garage windows and made gravel paths so you can
or back door), stand there and smell the hear the crunching when someone walks up.
house as a visitor might. If there’s an odour, It’s a nice sound that creates a good feeling.”
to just walk around them,” Hanby-Robie whether it’s cat litter or a musty closet, work Wind chimes are another outdoor secret
says.“I take a photograph of the room for my on eliminating the bad smell before intro- heard indoors, or you could try the newer
clients, and they usually shriek. They have no ducing aromatics. solar chimes, which have a sun panel and
idea how much has accumulated until they Classic sources of scents include candles work indoors.
see it on paper.” and flowers, but Barrett encourages you to get In the house, music, aquariums, a collec-
creative whenplantingscents—literally.“Plant tion of gently ticking clocks and tabletop
Tactile pleasures a fragrant vine like jasmine outside a window, water fountains do double duty by masking
“We are tactile by nature,” Hanby-Robie or use pots of herbs like rosemary and laven- the noises of the house and providing pleas-
says. “I noticed early in my career that when I der throughout the house,” she suggests. ing sounds.
gave clients fabric samples they would Natural materials, such as a leather sofa
instinctively rub them on their cheeks.” or the naturally fragrant fibres in a seagrass In good taste
Catering to the sense of touch means rug, are perfect sources of scents. The sense of taste is the most difficult to
thinking about textures. From a silky throw Visual triggers help create scents in the accomplish in home decor. In her book
in the bedroom to chunky tiles lining the mind, Hanby-Robie says. “Do something as Interior Designing for All Five Senses,
shower wall, different textures and finishes simple as putting out a bowl of fresh lemons Catherine Bailly Dunne uses what she calls
have individual appeal. Hanby-Robie says in the kitchen,” she suggests. ‘You may not the “candy dish theory,” which is putting
closing your eyes and touching fabrics, the actually smell them, but they will create a something in each room that tickles the taste
wood on a chair or the surface of a pillow clean, fresh scent in your mind.” buds (even if you don’t actually eat it). From
will let you feel what’s good by the sensa- Make sure you tailor the scent to the bowls of espresso beans to jars of lemon
tion it evokes. room.“You wouldn’t want lemons in the bed- drops and groupings of olive oil and vine-
Barrett advises combining textures that room. Use something therapeutic or roman- gars, each room in your home can contain
contrast. “There are different scales of tex- tic in there, like lavender or spices,” she says. something that evokes the sense of taste, even
ture,” she says. “A really big plant or a large if you’re not actually eating.
woven fabric looks and feels different than a I hear you Hanby-Robie goes back to the bowl of
finely woven fabric or delicate plant. Putting Many sounds in the home, from the lemons in the kitchen. “Just as you can
them together is a nice contrast.” humming refrigerator to the drone of cars smell the lemons by looking at them, you
outside,aresubconscious.“Ialwaystalkabout can taste them too,” she explains. “You’re
Making scents of aromas taking the time to listen to the sounds of your not really eating your rooms, but you are
As with clutter, people rarely notice the home,” Hanby-Robie says. “Are they generally savouring them.” C
joyful? If not, how can we fix them?”
The Costco Connection
Costco warehouses and costco.ca carry a
wide array of furniture and decor items
that appeal to all five senses.
More people are using hard surfaces in
decor, which creates reverberations. Barrett Gretchen Roberts is a Tennessee-based food,
says whether you want that sound is an indi- home and garden writer who recently redeco-
vidual preference. “Some people like the rated her office in a soothing botanical green
sound of walking on stone floors, but if you with prints of ripe grape clusters on the walls.