Decorating for the senses

Research shows when we decorate for the senses, i.e. create spaces that feel comfortable, smell amazing and tantalise we live better lives. I find that we tend not to think about the senses enough when we decorate, yet when you start thinking about it and decorating for them you'll find that you will create a space that beckons you home. I guess the place to start is underfoot. I for example have concrete on the lower ground with rugs on top, go up to my other floors and its wood underneath and rugs again on top. Not only do these surfaces look different they sound different and feel different underfoot.  Imagine how it would feel and look without rugs - sterile, cold, and unfriendly so switching up your flooring makes the hugest difference. Lets now talk furniture, we want to create friction and as much tension as we can when it comes to upholstery. I'll use my pad as an example - I've got velvet/cashmere fabric on the sofa which shouts comforting sensuality for me at least, I just want to plonk down in it. I've coupled this with some roughly woven wool cushions and a metallic leather star cushion - different tactile experiences all hanging out together - the combo needs to read as enticing, and stimulating. All the same texture equals a big yawn so the more you can switch things up the better. Add in stuff that you want to touch, a vase that looks like its been hand thrown, or a vase that has been wrapped in bark (from the flower market) to give it a rustic vibe. Juxtapose rough with smooth, shiny with mat and don't forget about smell. Pot pouri (you know the best one on the planet that I'm forever talking about), essential oils I've got one from Aesop burning as we speak consisting of lemon rind, ylang ylang, and bergamot oil - heavenly. Not forgetting subtler smells like books, leather, wood, woven baskets (wet dog)? not so nice but you get my drift. Too often we think about a spaces function and forget about its emotional experience.  Want your home to feel and look amazing then its got to appeal and attract our sensory systems that second you walk through the door. Do that and you're be wanting to pull a sickie every day and stay home. b1My pad; rugs, sheepskins, leather, velvet, wool, shiny lacquer shelves, concrete, woven drum tables, rustic wood all hang out together creating one sensory experience. bShiny wooden floors, luxurious sheepskins, and old vintage lamp on top a smooth table - different textural combinations are what turns a space from drab to fab. All photography Graham Atkins Hughes

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