Creating a Multi-sensory Workspace: Simple Ways to Stimulate Your Senses in Your Home Office
Home offices are here to stay. But, even though we have become pros at juggling laundry and walking the dog between calls, there are ways to thrive alongside the demands of domesticity. No matter the square footage or location, now's the time to maximize your environment for productivity, happiness, and sanity!
"When we enter a space – familiar or otherwise – we are flooded with a rush of information that influences our behavior, mood, and wellbeing. Catering to all of our senses and contemplating their hierarchy puts us in a conscious, positive mindset. Sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste; put these in your personal order of importance and then consider how your creative hub needs to be realigned." - Philippa Radon
So, how do we cultivate our workspaces to serve our needs better emotionally, mentally, and physically? The first step is realizing that interior design is much more than aesthetics. The sounds, smells, and sights surrounding us carry equal weight, but we don't necessarily consider the multi-sensory experience that feeds our senses and soul. So, it's time to delve deeper!
Multi-sensory design activates the five senses –sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste– on a conscious and unconscious level. (Note to self: there are technicallysix recognized senses, with the other being "intuition"). This more intuitive approach to design consciously connects our mind and body to our environment. From colors that enhance creativity to tactile textures and soulful sounds, your senses are uniquely yours. So explore, adventure, look up and around, and take note of what triggers your joy.
Firing Up Your Five Senses Through Design
The starting point of multi-sensory design includes the six core elements of design:color, pattern, line, texture, shape, and light. Think about every moment of your day, from waking to bedtime, and the myriad of senses you connect with. Observe how your demeanor changes, positive or negative. A conscious life takes conscious effort, and the best results don't happen overnight, so give yourself the grace of time to get this right.
We immediately think of visual aesthetics when considering interior design. For some of us, that's the first sense triggered when entering a room. For others, it's smell or sound. If you're a highly visual person, here's where color and pattern come into play. Color enhances the space and impacts your sense of well-being profoundly. If you're lucky enough to have your own office, paint your walls with calming greens or bright yellow to capture your creativity. If you can't paint, consider adding some beautiful blooms (for sight and smell!) or even some colorful office supplies to infuse some energy. Another option is to try adding mood lighting to create a variety of vibes with either multi-colored LED bulbs or an ambient floor lamp.
Our senses are deeply personal and connective throughout the day: morning coffee, shampoo, cleaning supplies, and laundry detergent. Your olfactory sense is one of the most powerful; it can lift your spirits, relax your mind, or transport you back to your grandmother's kitchen. Using essential oils, candles, or diffusers is a simple yet effective way to personalize your office experience – and there is a scent for every mood. Or, you can create your own by mixing various oils or whipping up a stove pot blend of citrus, herbs, lavender, and mint. Mix them up for each season!
Taste might not seem intuitive for this list, but it's tied closely to smell. Keep healthy snacks or your favorite tea close by. Store them in a beautiful container, so they are as visually appealing as they are delicious. Healthy snacking throughout the day will help keep the cobwebs (and your cortisol levels) from flatlining. We love these homemade granola bars that deliver a tasty boost of energy.
This can be as simple or complex as you need. For some, it's simply opening the window or sitting outside to enjoy nature sounds like an ocean tide; for others, it's a podcast or music. It's said that high-frequency music can heighten your sense of focus and concentration and even reduce anxiety. You can find a wide variety of sounds on Youtube. Learn more about how different binaural beats can help you here.
INTUITION (The 6th Sense)
"Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm, and harmony." Thomas Merton American Monk & Mystic
Multi-sensory design is also a form of "intuitive" design, emphasizing the importance of flow, form, and function. With a focus on creating a positive flow of energy, it's a way to tell your story and create spaces that are adaptive to your needs. Removing any energetic blocks, adding mirrors welcoming greenery, and using storage to make things easy and accessible create surroundings that enhance your experience.
Other helpful tips for a more "sense-national" day:
Take it to Task: Begin with jotting down a short description of what you love and what you feel needs some attention, visually or functionally. None of us are lone geniuses, so ask for some design or color guidance. Book a personal color and design here!
Keep it Clean: Don't let your office space become a drop zone for any domestic chore. Build a vibe that is conducive to being productive. Also, consider adding a small air filter to clean the air and provide calming background white noise.
Build in Breaks: Take time for "active rests" by engaging in something different, playful, and restorative for mental longevity. Try a 10-minute walk, chat with a friend, or cuddle with your pet.
Love it or Leave it - Love everything around you. Test and try to see what works best, from the pens you write with to the music you are playing; the more conscious you are of your surroundings, the better.
Looking for some inspiration? Check out some of our favorite office spaces here.
We can help you create a conscious workspace! Book a consultation with our lifestyle, design, and color specialist!