Engage All 5 Senses For a Cosy, Inviting Home

by Carlisle Homes

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The secret to creating a feel-good home that people love being in? Decorate it in a way that appeals to all five senses – sight, smell, touch, sound and taste. Here’s how.

While there’s no denying that using rich colours on your walls or furnishings dials up the cosiness factor in your home, a truly feel-good space takes it one step further. Activating all five senses – sight, smell, touch, sound and taste – with mood lighting, touch-me textures, delicious aromas and soothing tunes warms the soul and enhances our sense of wellbeing.


Here are some simple ways to create a home that guests instantly feel relaxed in.

Conceal clutter

The first step to a calm and welcoming interior? Banish the clutter, particularly in areas that guests need to walk through, such as your entry and hallway. Woven baskets are a cosy way to keep toys, pet leads and other smaller items contained. Alternatively, consider adding in built-in shelving or double-duty furniture, such as a storage ottoman in your living area.

Think colour and texture

Colour sets the mood in a room. If cosiness is the goal, steer towards warm neutral hues, such as a warm beige, terracotta and sage green for walls and soft furnishings. Keep patterns low-key to avoid visual overload.

Look to bring in colour in fun and playful ways – you’ll find it instantly brings a smile to your guests’ faces. For example, hang artwork in an unexpected spot, such as the kitchen, laundry or bathroom; line the back of shelves with a subtly patterned wallpaper; or make your powder room pop with warm, rich tones of navy or forest green running floor to ceiling, finished off with brushed copper or gold tapware.

Layer up a medley of different textures in spots where you want to relax, such as the living room and master bedroom – think chunky knitted blankets, a faux-fur throw, velvet pillows, deep-pile wool or woven jute rugs, a rustic wooden bedside table or console, and perhaps some accents of rattan in lighting or décor pieces.

When it comes to furniture, opt for squishy sofas and seating made for curling up in, and curved coffee and side tables in living areas. In your master suite, introduce a bedhead upholstered in a tactile fabric like linen or velvet where you sit up and read comfortably before lights out.

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Warm it up

When the temperature drops, there’s nothing quite like coming in from the cold to a warm and inviting home. Enhance the sense of cosiness at night by turning on the fireplace in your living room. Dim the lights or switch off the overhead lights altogether and rely instead on the warm glow of table and floor lamps. Pop hot water bottles in the children’s beds so they can warm their toes when they get under the covers.

Make it smell good

Scent is such a powerful sense – it can evoke fond memories, lift your mood and make you want to spend time in a space.

Certain types of scents evoke specific feelings, such as the smell of coffee coming from the kitchen, which makes you instantly feel awake and ready for the day. They can be associated with specific seasons too; a clean linen or floral scent speaks of spring, for example, while warm, spicy scents are associated with autumn.

Explore different scents to discover which ones resonate most with you. Then use candles or diffusers to brings these scents alive in your home. For example, turn your bathroom into an at-home spa sanctuary by lighting a calming vanilla or citrus-scented candle, dimming the lights and running yourself a hot bubble bath.

Do you love baking? Make some cookies or cupcakes with the children and let the delicious aromas fill your home (before the baked goodies get gobbled up!) Or on those cold winter nights, prepare a hearty stew or a roasted-vegetable soap that nourishes the body and smells like a warm hug.

Incorporate the sense of taste

There are several ways you can blend taste into your decor. Use beautiful bowls to display seasonal fruits on the kitchen benchtop, lay out a cheese and charcuterie board on the coffee table when you have friends coming by, or set up a bar cart in your meals area with elegant decanters and crystal glassware so you can make cocktails.  

You could also display gourmet ingredients like olive oils, vinegars and spices on open shelves in your kitchen, and use stylish clear-glass canisters to hold pantry items, cereals and snacks in the pantry.

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Don’t forget sound

The right background sound can be the x-factor that rounds out the cosy experience of your home.

Create memories with the children by playing some fun, upbeat music as you craft, cook or dance together. Or host a family board games night, with the latest hits playing in the background.

When friends and family are coming over, turn off buzzers, timers and anything harsh or distracting. Switch on a playlist of calming or memory-evoking songs and have it playing when they arrive. Be mindful of the volume; you want it loud enough so it sets the mood, but not so loud that it drowns out conversation.

At other times, you may find that silence is golden. You can make your home a peaceful and quiet retreat with double-glazing that minimises outside noise (think traffic and barking dogs) and acoustic insulation, which prevents the transfer of sound between rooms and floors – both of which are available with your Carlisle home (see here and here for more details).

Taking a multi-sensory approach to decorating in this way means your home is not just seen, but truly felt and savoured by all who visit.

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