Experience is enhanced by touch. Holding a stuffed animal can catapult us back to childhood when we snuggled up to a soft fluffy critter as we drifted off to sleep.
Nerve endings in the skin alert us to react. Letting go of a scorching pot handle is an automatic response. But trembling in anticipation of the touch of a beloved’s lips is purely cultural. In both cases the experience of touch communicates information and elicits feelings. How we use proximity, fabric, and the surfaces of flooring, walls, and cabinetry in our living spaces may affect our experience of place only subtly but is nonetheless consequential.
Whether it’s gliding a finger over a feathery expanse of velvet pile or rubbing a cheek on a smooth silk pillow, certain materials can conjure up emotional responses. Bring a festive mood to an otherwise ordinary day by using a cut crystal goblet as a water glass. Touch can be a handmaiden of emotional experience.
Sometimes even an appearance of texture can elevate a mood. To lift your spirits and thwart depression, place a rose by your table setting. To consecrate erudition, buy a set of leatherbound books for your shelves. Place a vase filled with peacock feathers in a foyer to signal welcome. Even the sight of a known pleasant texture can awaken an intended response.
Touch Can . . .
Grasping a polished bronze doorknob can ready us to enter a place of importance, while opening a door with a thin lightweight aluminum latch can produce the opposite feeling. Gauge how it feels or how it appears to feel when considering choices in a home. Delighting your sense of touch can elevate your mood.