How to Design a Serene, Trigger-Free Home

This post focuses on how to design a serene, trigger-free home. By considering and implementing these tips, you’ll not only create a home that promotes tranquility but also establish a nurturing environment that respects your sensory sensitivities, ultimately enhancing your overall well-being.

1. Streamline and Simplify

Decluttering your living space is the foundational step to creating a sensory-friendly home. Start by going through each room and identifying items that don’t serve a purpose or hold sentimental value. Donate, recycle, or discard these items to reduce visual and mental distractions. Minimalist interiors often provide a calming environment where every item has a deliberate place.

2. Choose Soothing Shades

Colour can profoundly impact our emotions and overall well-being. Sensory sensitivities are highly individualised, and what may be a trigger for one person might not affect another at all. Select a colour palette that resonates with you and promotes a serene atmosphere. Gentle blues are known to evoke a sense of calm for some individuals; soft greens connect with nature, and neutral tones like beige and grey offer versatility and tranquillity. Experiment with colour combinations to find what soothes your senses best.

3. Master the Lighting

Lighting sets the mood in your home. For individuals with sensory needs, consider coloured lighting. A simple and affordable option is LED stripes, a small portable battery-operated light projector (that can be easily moved around the home) or smart bulbs. Consider installing dimmer switches or using lamps with adjustable settings to control light intensity. If you’re sensitive to natural light or streetlights at night, blackout curtains can provide a peaceful sleep environment. Weighted blankets also play a crucial role in aiding sleep, as deep pressure stimulation can calm the nervous system, reduce anxiety, and promote a sense of security, leading to improved sleep quality.

4. Texture Variety

Engaging multiple senses through texture is key to a sensory-friendly space. Incorporate various textures into your decor, such as plush rugs, smooth wooden surfaces, or textured fabrics like linen and velvet. These elements add tactile richness to your home, making it more inviting and comfortable.

5. Quiet and cosy retreats

Designate specific areas in your home as quiet and retreats. These zones should be free from electronic devices and excessive noise. Consider creating a cosy reading nook or a meditation corner where you can escape daily commotion and find solace in peaceful solitude. A small tipi or play tent will offer a welcome retreat for children wanting to escape noisy environments and don’t forget to include a Squishmellow! Personalise the space to cater to your sensory needs; add soft cushions, throws, and elements that bring you comfort.

6. Mindful Scents

Scent plays a significant role in sensory experiences and can greatly impact the feel of a home. Whilst certain fragrances may not work for some, certain scents can have calming or stimulating effects. Opt for natural scents like essential oils or soy candles with gentle aromas, such as lavender for relaxation or citrus for a refreshing boost. Avoid overpowering or synthetic air freshners that may overwhelm your senses and cause discomfort. Instead, consider diffusing mild essential oils, using scent-free cleaning products, and incorporating fragrant plants like jasmine or rosemary. This approach helps create a soothing environment that supports well-being and enhances the overall sensory experience in your home.

7. Sound Management

If noise sensitivity is a concern, incorporate sound-dampening materials into your home. Thick curtains, rugs, and acoustic panels can help reduce echoes and external noises. Strategically positioning bookshelves as noise barriers can also create a quieter environment, or consider using white noise machines to mask disruptive sounds. Additionally, noise-cancelling headphones can be a valuable tool to cut out noise in a busy living space, providing an immediate and personal solution to manage auditory distractions.

8. Organisational Tools

Invest in organisational tools to maintain an uncluttered living space. Drawer dividers, storage baskets, and labels simplify belongings, preventing sensory overload from a chaotic environment. Organised spaces promote a sense of control and ease. Additionally, maintaining a clutter-free environment in a child’s room, even if it requires regular effort from parents, is crucial. This remains important through the teenage years, as sneaking in to tidy up while they are not present can significantly reduce sensory overload and create a more calming space for those on the spectrum.

Image credits: Image 1, Joanna Henderson, images 3&6 Jemma Watts

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