Engaging all Five Senses to Create the Ultimate Kitchen
19th November 2015
When designing your new kitchen, your first concern is most likely how it looks and whether it’s aesthetically pleasing. Appearance is central, as we interpret more from our sight than any of our other senses. However, there are four other sensory receptors that need to be considered if you are to transform your kitchen into a welcome retreat. It’s important to remember that senses create memories and have the power to evoke a specific emotive response. So, when you return home from work or a holiday you will instantly feel relaxed when you enter the kitchen, as sensory cues trigger feelings and recollections.
The data collected by our five senses is fed back to our brain to determine our perception. Yet our senses are subjective, so what might be appealing to one person could be disagreeable to another. Therefore, in order to create the ultimate kitchen, all five senses need to be engaged and tailored to the individual’s preferences.
Sight (ophthalmoception) –
Our dominant perceptual system of sight is usually our first consideration when designing. Although aesthetics don’t affect usability or performance, people tend to perceive attractive things as more usable. For instance, if you were online searching for a particular service you are more likely to invest in a website with an attractive design, even if another site offers a better service.
When designing a kitchen you need to decide on a colour scheme and make sure you understand the space you are working with. Every part of the room is important: the flooring, walls, windows, ceiling, lighting, doors, work surfaces, cupboards, kitchen appliances, table and chairs, curtains/blinds, decorations, utensils etc. However, if you are just looking to give your kitchen a make-over try focusing on one or two features in particular, such as cupboard doors and lighting.
A good tip to remember is that light colours or a mirror will create the illusion of a larger space.
Depending on location, sound isn’t always within your control i.e. the bin lorries in the morning, rowdy neighbours, children playing on the street etc. However, you can create ambiance in your kitchen with appliances such as the radio, TV or a clock and also help reduce exterior noise with the likes of double glazing. The kitchen appliances will also contribute to this; when you can hear and smell the oven cooking dinner it awakens your taste buds with anticipation. Sometimes there is nothing better than a natural ambience; when you’re wrapped up warm and cosy at your kitchen table, about to tuck into a hot bowl of soup and you can hear rain bouncing off the window.
The kitchen is one place where this sense should take precedence. Closely linked to smell, taste has the power to either be aversive or appetitive. There are between 2000-5000 taste buds located on the tongue alone. When exploring further, taste can be categorised into five groups: sweetness, sourness, saltiness, bitterness and umami. As the kitchen is where the cooking magic takes place, taste buds are guaranteed to be engaged (unless you are a fast-food addict). It’s not a bad idea to have a bowl of treats or biscuits on the side to awaken your taste buds in an instant; when dieting however you might want to hide these away in the cupboard to avoid temptation!
Of all five sensory receptors, smell has the strongest connection to memory and emotive centres in the brain. Baking and cooking will address this sense, but to ensure that there is a consistent feed to this sensory receptor you could invest in a reed diffuser, potpourri, plug in diffuser etc. Candles are a nice way to enhance both smell and sight to make your kitchen cosy. If you do invest in these products remember to be consistent; don’t confuse your senses by mixing fragrances. Also be careful choosing which scent you want, you don’t want to put anyone off their food because your kitchen smells like bathroom air freshener. Home fragrances are a great way to encourage festivity, by choosing a relevant scent. With Christmas fast approaching, why not invest in some apple and cinnamon spice home fragrances.
Every part of the kitchen that we make physical contact with, such as the work surface and table top sends a message to our brain at 124mph. Ensuring there is a quality finish on your kitchen appliances and utensils, will guarantee a gratifying touch. The flooring is also an important contributor to this sensory receptor. What you feel underfoot may affect your mood; imagine popping into the kitchen to get a get a cup of tea without your slippers and your bare toes are met with icy tiles. Now imagine underfloor heating or a rug – suddenly doing the tea round seems a little more appealing. No one wants a cold kitchen, especially not in winter so having an efficient heating system, fireplace or insulation in place will always be appreciated. If you’re trying to save a bit of money you could always keep throws/shawls on the back of the chairs for people to wrap themselves up in and keep cosy. Comfort counts for a lot so when you’re choosing your kitchen chairs or stools, ensure they are not only attractive but also comfy to sit in. It is also important to remember that sometimes the smallest touches can make the biggest difference: from door knobs to napkins, every aspect of your kitchen will contribute to the overall perception.
At Dream Doors, we always ensure our products are aesthetically pleasing but also guarantee high quality at competitive prices. We understand the importance of your kitchen and its significance within the household, which is why we appreciate how important it is to get it right first time.