By: Cheryl Draa
Sensuality is defined as something that is both “pleasing to your body and your senses.” By using sight, touch, olfactory, audio, and taste within our own homes, we can utilize these five human senses and in turn, transform what was once just a house, into “home.”
Sense of sight seems to be the most obvious first approach to the implementation of the senses into a home. The key is texture, texture, texture. One of the trends making a comeback is grasscloth wallpaper, which adds tremendous visual texture. Grasscloth looks amazing in foyers, powder rooms, and even on the inside back of a bookcase. It’s important to use texture strategically and selectively rather than overwhelming the space with too much of the same texture. Layering textures is a great way to add visual interest to a space. The rough texture of hand-scraped hardwood floors, the shine of glass tile, the smooth sparkle of granite countertops, and the woven texture of linen window treatments – all add depth to a room and enhance the visual interest of any interior space.
Sense of touch is one element of design that everyone seems to be drawn to. When shopping for fabrics, flooring, and even clothes, most of us take a moment to feel it all before deciding if we want to buy it. Touch is an important factor in our final decision. At home we cozy up to the ultra-soft cashmere throw blanket, we feel the warmth of the plush carpet with our bare feet and we feel the texture of the hardwood floor. Choosing fabrics, flooring, and fixtures that feel good to touch and hold is important. There’s no better feeling than climbing into bed with fresh, smooth sheets, neatly made. That’s why luxurious hotels use only the best linens. Bring that luxury of touch to your own home. What we feel on our skin, whether it’s Egyptian cotton or bamboo, these selections bring that relaxing, luxurious and contented feeling when we first slip into bed for a good night’s sleep.
Olfactory is the next sense we want to consider for our home. Opening the windows and letting in the fresh fall air can do wonders. Do this while you have the chance this season. Bring in natural scents with fragrant seasonal flowers and plants. The glow of scented candles can accent any room. Fall is the perfect time to add a pot of cinnamon and cloves in simmering water on the stove top, and of course baking chocolate chip cookies adds an undeniably reminiscent feel to any home. The simple addition of an air freshener can add a lovely aroma. My children often tell me the smell of vanilla reminds them of home. When they come home after a long day at school, they breathe in deep, exhale, and smile. It is from a simple vanilla scented plug-in, but to them it is the familiar and comforting smell of home.
Audible enhancements are the next sense on our checklist of adding sensuality to the home. Music is an obvious choice, but we have other avenues that enhance and affect our environment. Turn off your television and sound system. Sit still, enjoy the quiet for a while, and take in some of the sounds you hear. It could be the sound of water simmering in the teapot that is beginning to whistle, the hum of the air conditioner, the wind chime playing nature’s songs, or the birds chirping. There are so many background sounds that are the beginning to our own individual symphony. Now, add in the music, the television, your family talking and laughing. Altogether, these create the sounds of our home. But what about times when you want to block noises from the outside, such as traffic or sirens? Window drapery and panels with interlining add insulation and help cancel out sounds you don’t wish to hear. Sometimes subtracting sounds can be just as important, if not more important, than adding them.
The sense of taste is the last sense on our checklist. Yes, we taste our food but we also have a style and design taste unique to each of us. Bring your personal taste into your home design. In another way, oftentimes I hear my clients tell me, “This is going to work so well, I can taste it.” It’s when we’re together with our friends and family in our home that they sense, they get a taste, that our house being more than just a house… it is truly a home.
The embodiment of these five senses allows us to create special moments together in our home. These moments are very precious, and sensual because they invoke a memory of what was, and what can be possible. Keeping these five senses in mind we realize and embrace the fact that we don’t just have a house, we indeed have a home that looks, feels, smells and sounds like our own, all styled in good taste.
Cheryl Draa is a residential interior designer specializing in “People in Transition.” Realizing the change needed in a home when a client goes through a personal transition due to a divorce, remarriage, birth in the the family, a death or with empty nest syndrome, prompted her to pay close attention to the needs of her clients during their transitions. She helps them transition their belongings and their homes into their new future. “Design is a lifestyle choice that is both affordable and approachable. A good design helps position a person to better deal with their transitions.”
Cheryl has been in the business of interior design for over 20 years and has won numerous design, marketing and leadership awards. Follow Cheryl to see the latest inspirations and trends.