CHAPTER 2: Help Your Child By Transforming Their Space Into A Sensory Friendly Room

Side table with books

So now that we’re properly acquainted, you should probably know that we actually call Asher—>Ashi, Nathan —> Natti, and Jonah—> Jonah bear, Jonesy, Jojo. I don’t even think he knows his real name. Too delicious to care. They say the third is the easiest. I’m truly blessed. Until he’s reunited with his brothers, and the chaos begins.

Back to my design adventure.

I painted Ashi’s room this week. He decided he was going to help me by jumping on the bed. I realized that snowy Sundays in this Covid period are notorious for cabin fever and that I have to do something about that. I immediately purchased an indoor trampoline that I will be putting in my tiny basement. Don’t ask me how I will fit this 6ft trampoline in my low ceiling basement, but this kid needs to jump, and his brothers can benefit from it too. His bedroom will be the calm sensory area and the basement will become a sensory gym, after I sell my kidney to pay for it.

Did you know that there are many different types of sensory kids? Every child has a preference. Mine likes all the anxiety provoking things that will drive a parent crazy, like toothpaste, creams, and ointments that can be smeared everywhere. Fun for him, painful for me. He poured my very brand new toner in the bathroom sink. Note to self: place toner in the very back of cabinet. I learn new things everyday.

Back to painting.

The difference and feel with this new wall color was visible after painting just one wall! There was so much more natural light reflecting off of it! The energy was different. It was brighter and calmer. The navy blue had really darkened the aura in the room. I didn’t realize.

Here is a picture of the newly painted room, not decorated of course. You’ll have to wait for that.

Child's bed

I tried to hide the excavator toys as much as I could, but they are really all over. #momofboys

When I started removing the stars this week, I realized that less is more. Who would have thought. My older son Natti asked me to paint his room red, turquoise, and green. Interestingly, he tends to be the under-stimulated kid in the family, so it’s funny that he asked me for those bright colors. Remember, listen to your children, they give you clues if you pay attention. But, red on a bedroom wall? I told him absolutely not.

There have been studies that show that when you walk into a nice room, you get a shot of serotonin. But when you walk into an ugly room, you get a shot of cortisol.

So technically, interiors could have a psychological impact on the people who use them.

Colors matter. The way your personal space is designed matters!

I recently worked with a client who kept saying her living room feels sterile and cold. She comes home after a long day of work, and her home doesn’t feel “homey” to her.

I asked her about her color preference and what makes her happy. Vibrant colors make her and her husband happy. But the wall color felt cold and sad. We painted the walls a warm white and we added a colorful rug, flipped some furniture around, added some gorgeous decor (pictures soon to be displayed in my portfolio). She mentioned the other day that she feels calm in this space. The wall color had a soothing effect on her.

Something else happened a few days ago. Ashi gave me another clue. He says to me, I don’t like my bed. I said: This is a full-size bed! I just got it for you, how could you not like it? So I lay down on the mattress to see what he was talking about. It was as hard as a rock. I remembered that one of Ashi’s sensory-seeking needs is to feel squished and hugged. So a firm mattress won’t do the deal. I do realize that getting rid of a mattress is a big expense. So if you aren’t going to replace it, getting a mattress topper will help as well. There are so many little details that matter. I’m still learning about this kid. But he’s really good at expressing his needs, for a 5 year old.

Painting a white color over this navy wall was much harder than I thought. And tiring. Even though I used a primer first. I worked on it all week. Side note: don’t let a perfectionist paint, it never ends…

I somehow still see blue on the walls, and I’ve gone over and over with white paint. It’s like paint amnesia: I never remember how much work it is to paint a room. But well worth it. When Ashi saw the new wall color, he ran up to me and kissed me. He was really appreciative.

Ashi “slept in” till 6:20am for the last few days. Guess who still got up at 5:30am though? Me! But, I think the new mattress and wall color change might be helping already.

In continuation of this sensory design project, I will be creating my own sensory wall panels that will be customized to Ashi’s liking. Every child has their preference and I don’t think you can just buy an ordinary sensory panel that they sell on Etsy. If I could have tubes of toothpaste hanging from the ceiling, I would. If you don’t know what sensory wall panels are, you’ll have a better understanding in my next post.

I also bought a sensory puzzle mat, a diffuser, a hammock and a few other things. Stay tuned to see more transformation pictures next week!

Two boys in a teepee

Are you ready for a home where your whole family can thrive?

Reach out to your Englewood interior designer to schedule your discovery call today.

Intentional Interior Design that Helps Your Family Thrive.

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BRT Interior Design
560 Sylvan Ave
Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632
(917) 484-0789

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Interior designer in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey specializing in sensory-friendly spaces for children and individuals.