Putting it all together
CREATING A SENSUAL ROOM is more than just adding a ticking clock or a silky
bedspread to otherwise blah décor, 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, like 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 colors 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
Making scents of aromas the sound of walking on stone floors, but if
As with clutter, people rarely notice the you don’t, use pads under carpets to absorb
smells in their own homes, so before you pull the noise,” she advises.
out the scented candles, make sure you’re not Barrett likes to use the outdoors to create
just masking a bad odor. Hanby-Robie sounds inside. “I’ve put fountains outside
advises her clients to walk in their front doors windows and made gravel paths so you can
(since most people come in through a garage hear the crunching when someone walks up.
or back door), stand there and smell the It’s a nice sound that creates a good feeling.”
the floor months later, but that she’d learned house as a visitor might. If there’s an odor, Wind chimes are another outdoor secret
to just walk around them,” Hanby-Robie whether it’s cat litter or a musty closet, work heard indoors, or you could try the newer
says.“I take aphotographofthe room formy on eliminating the bad smell before intro- solar chimes, which have a sun panel and
clients, and they usually shriek. They have no ducing aromatics. work indoors.
idea how much has accumulated until they Classic sources of scents include candles In the house, music, aquariums, a collec-
see it on paper.” and flowers, but Barrett encourages you to get tion of gently ticking clocks and tabletop
creative when planting scents—literally. “Plant water fountains do double duty by masking
Tactile pleasures a fragrant vine like jasmine outside a window, the noises of the house and providing pleas-
“We are tactile by nature,” Hanby-Robie or use pots of herbs like rosemary and laven- ing sounds.
says. “I noticed early in my career that when I der throughout the house,” she suggests.
gave clients fabric samples they would Natural materials, such as a leather sofa In good taste
instinctively rub them on their cheeks.” or the naturally fragrant fibers in a seagrass The sense of taste is the most difficult to
Catering to the sense of touch means rug, are perfect sources of scents. accomplish in home décor. In her book
thinking about textures. From a silky throw Visual triggers help create scents in the Interior Designing for All Five Senses,
in the bedroom to chunky tiles lining the mind, Hanby-Robie says. “Do something as Catherine Bailly Dunne uses what she calls
shower wall, different textures and finishes simple as putting out a bowl of fresh lemons the “candy dish theory,” which is putting
have individual appeal. Hanby-Robie says in the kitchen,” she suggests. ‘You may not something in each room that tickles the taste
closing your eyes and touching fabrics, the actually smell them, but they will create a buds (even if you don’t actually eat it). From
wood on a chair or the surface of a pillow clean, fresh scent in your mind.” bowls of espresso beans to jars of lemon
will let you feel what’s good by the sensa- Make sure you tailor the scent to the drops and groupings of olive oil and vine-
tion it evokes. room.“You wouldn’t want lemons in the bed- gars, each room in your home can contain
Barrett advises combining textures that room. Use something therapeutic or roman- something that evokes the sense of taste, even
contrast. “There are different scales of tex- tic in there, like lavender or spices,” she says. if you’re not actually eating.
ture,” she says. “A really big plant or a large Hanby-Robie goes back to the bowl of
woven fabric looks and feels different than a I hear you lemons in the kitchen. “Just as you can
finely woven fabric or delicate plant. Putting Many sounds in the home, from the smell the lemons by looking at them, you
them together is a nice contrast.” humming refrigerator to the drone of cars can taste them too,” she explains. “You’re
outside, are subconscious.“I always talk about not really eating your rooms, but you are
taking the time to listen to the sounds of your savoring them.” C
home,” Hanby-Robie says. “Are they generally
joyful? If not, how can we fix them?”
The Costco Connection
During the month of July, Costco warehouses carry an array of furniture and
décor items that appeal to all five senses.
To see the furniture buyer’s “Buyer’s Pick,”
turn to page 35.
More people are using hard surfaces in Gretchen Roberts is a Tennessee-based food,
décor, which creates reverberations. Barrett home and garden writer who recently redeco-
says whether or not you want that sound is rated her office in a soothing botanical green
an individual preference. “Some people like with prints of ripe grape clusters on the walls.