As a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) myself, I know with certainty that how I feel in my home environment directly impacts my well-being and overall happiness. The world is a busy place and as people who are more sensitive to external stimulation (traffic noises, smells in the lunchroom, fluorescent lighting at the grocery store, crowded restaurants, etc.) than the average person, treating our homes as if they’re an oasis for our five senses makes the world of difference for our energy, nervous systems, and confidence. It’s not just about having an aesthetically pleasing space, although that is personally very important, it’s about creating a mindful home that works with and supports this personality trait myself, my clients, and approximately 15-20% of us have.
Here’s some intentional design tips to consider when it comes to your space:
Calm your five senses
Select paint colors that feel visually calming for your overall home and if you love bright colors, consider incorporating them in small ways like accents + accessories. For sound, instead of having the TV on in the background for white noise, try listening to instrumental music or a playlist you find relaxing. When it comes to scents in your home, strongly scented candles can be overpowering and not always great for your air quality, you may find a diffuser with essential oils or a clean-burning soy candle to be more enjoyable. As for setting yourself up with restful sleep (which is so important for HSPs) do your best to make your bedroom dark + quiet, window coverings like drapery with a black-out liner can really help absorb sound + light and it totally adds a level of sophistication to your space! *In tip #4, I dive into the last of the five senses – touch!
Keep it clutter-free
Many HSPs get distracted and overwhelmed easily which is why clutter (visual stimulation) is something to be mindful of, especially if you’re working from home. Taking a couple of minutes each day to put your clothes away, close the cupboards, make your bed, etc. will help reduce your stress and increase your focus. This can be tricky for those of you who live with messy roommates, children + spouses, it can be helpful to have systems in place to make it easy (like storage options readily available for toys, blankets, mail, etc.)
Take a minimal approach
There’s a variety of styles out there – classic, traditional, mid-century, beachy, modern, Scandinavian, etc. If you don’t already know your style, hop on Pinterest and create a board for your space mixing your favorite design styles. Once you pick a style(s), consider taking a more minimalistic, “less is more” approach. Curate your home with items you love and be mindful it doesn’t feel too busy, cluttered, or chaotic; the key is to find a balance of positive visual stimulation and white space.
Splurge on good bedding
As a child, you may have been the type who needed the tags cut off the back of your shirts, perhaps you refused to wear clothing that felt scratchy or maybe you wore your socks tightly pulled up so there were no wrinkles, any of that sound familiar? The touch and feel of fabric is incredibly noticeable to most HSPs which is why I believe investing in quality bedding is well worth it. My personal favorite is sustainably sourced linen – it’s breathable, aesthetically beautiful and I love the way it feels on my skin.
*the bedding in this photo is from a local Vancouver company, Sömn Home – you can shop their linens here.
A space that supports your well-being
HSPs have rich, internal worlds and we’re also highly creative in different ways, even more so when we have the space to let our ideas ideate without external stimulation or a sense of urgency. Consider your space, your creative cave for processing, contemplating, daydreaming, meditating, and visualizing. Setting aside time each day where you can do this (ideally in private) will set you up for more productivity, creative flow, a calmer nervous system and a deeper sense of confidence in who you are at home and out in the world.
I hope these tips help you enjoy your home more and increase your well-being everyday.