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Interior design engages our senses in the most interesting ways. Sensory design components such as colour, texture, light, sound and even smell are now purposefully modified to enhance our environments, whether at home or in the workplace.

As homeowners, we may not even realise the magnitude of sensory design elements in our home. Some may be more obvious than others, but in some way, all of the senses are engaged in the spaces where we live, eat and work.   Here’s how interior décor and design has an impact on our five senses:


This is probably the first sense actively engaged when we enter a room. Our attention is immediately drawn to the look of the space – the use of colours, textures and interesting objects that first catch our eyes. We see shapes and reflections; we notice stylistic elements and how lighting is used to enhance the look of a room. Although probably one of the more important senses when it comes to interior design, we should not overlook the other senses for a holistic design experience.


When it comes to personal engagement through design, people often want to touch and feel the different elements in the room. There are so many possibilities when it comes to our sense of touch – hard and soft, matte and glossy, rough and smooth, heavy and light, clear and opaque, dimpled, creased, frosted, riven, knobbly, sheer, mottled, frayed, ribbed, crackled… and you get the idea! We are drawn to engage with the different textures and how these feel on our skin.


Smell is the most common sense associated with our memories and reminiscence. A variety of products are now on the market to help us recreate certain feelings and ambiances through smell. In the home, such as scented candles, incense, essential oils and flowers which are commonly used to create specific aromas.


Many homes are built to block out unwanted noise and minimise sound. As such, the acoustics within a room is key to the overall design and how people truly experience a room. In the same way, certain sounds can evoke a calming presence, such as a wind chime or waterfall. For a zen-like space, you may want to incorporate some of these soothing sounds and create your own personal spa at home.


This is probably the most elusive sense to engage through interior design, and although not often considered for home design, taste does come into play in the design of restaurants and public spaces where certain colours may be used to heighten our taste buds. Much research goes into the interior design of top restaurants to maximise the public’s wants and needs to lure them in to come and ‘taste’ and experience the food that will be on offer there. Similarly, in your home, a fresh batch of cookies baking in the oven can entice your family into your kitchen. Smell and taste are thus strongly linked and work together to enhance your experience of a particular interior design.

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