What all these cozy design trends emphasizing getting back to basics have in common is the belief that our emotions and senses are very tightly intertwined. What we hear, see, taste, smell, and touch can provide information on how to feel. Put simply, our emotional reactions can be guided by sensory input.
What is at the heart of these trends?
All these design and lifestyle trends focus on tranquility, domestic living, and creativity. It’s all about creating a relaxing space with intention: designing homes in a way that reminds every family member to slow down and savor each moment. And it’s an idea residents of Santa Barbara have always embraced.
How to Add the Cozy Aesthetic To Your Santa Barbara Home
The goal is to illuminate all 5 senses in your home. Here’s how:
Touch is thought to be the first sense humans develop, consisting of several distinct sensations communicated to the brain through specialized neurons in the skin. There are volumes of data showing the sense of touch helps reduce depression, lower the stress hormone cortisol and increase the feel-good hormone oxytocin. Of course, everything must be soft and enveloping, like a cuddle-worthy blanket.
Touch can also influence how humans make decisions. Studies by psychologists at Harvard University and Yale show that texture can be associated with abstract concepts, and touching something with a texture can influence a person's decisions. So, go ahead and feel the softness of a warm blanket, the warmth of a cup of tea, and the delicate rush of the rain as it falls on your face.
The data on the sun and natural light holding powerful holistic benefits for health are vast. Light is responsible for turning on the brain through the retina and the pineal gland. Homeowners can enjoy all the benefits of light just by opening the draperies and getting out in the sun. And here in sunny Santa Barbara, you can do that just about every day of the year. Using color and uplifting images can also shift your chemistry. It's essential to re-teach yourself to truly see, not just look at things. Think-inspired wallpaper, natural textiles, unfinished woods, plants, wood beams, natural pottery, ambient lighting, fairy lights, comfy chairs, and pillows.
When it comes to sight, consider the Santa Barbara indoor/outdoor lifestyle of bringing nature indoors while also creating comforts outdoors. Fresh flowers and houseplants are ideal. Roses, daylilies, petunias, dianthus, geraniums, or any fresh flower will do the trick. If you have a fireplace, that's another easy step toward a cozier home. Light a fire to illuminate the room and add warmth in more ways than one. You don't have to toss out your TV to create this getting back to basics vibe, though simply powering down all screens and losing yourself in the pages of a good book—or in conversation with a loved one—can get you in a cozy mindset.
Studies show that meaningful sounds produce theta waves, the deep relaxing brain waves one attains when meditating. Music, audiobooks, soundscapes, and nature can significantly impact your mood. Focus on the deep tones of the voices of those you love inside your Santa Barbara home, the sweet song of the birds in the trees, and the sparkling rhythm of the ocean. And if silence is the sound that soothes you, dive in and enjoy the solitude.
This is the most nostalgic of all our senses because fragrance directly leads to the limbic brain, where emotional memories are processed. A smell can transport you to a happy moment from your past or remind you of an essential person in your life. Homeowners are called to open the windows and enjoy the fresh air. You can also use aromatherapy scents like lavender, lemon, and peppermint; all proven to improve a person’s mood. Speaking about getting back to basics, and learning how to breathe deeply from your diaphragm, will also help shift your neurochemistry.
Humans may be able to smell over 1 trillion scents thanks to the olfactory cleft, which is found on the roof of the nasal cavity, next to the "smelling" part of the brain. Humans have 400 smelling receptors. What makes a home feel cozier than a delicious smell with all those receptors? Certain scents can create calm and peace, diffusing the stresses of the day. Think of your favorite candle, fresh cookies baking in your oven, or fresh rosemary sprigs in vases adding fresh fragrances around your home.
Research has shown that food can change one’s mood in an instant. That’s not so surprising when you consider that adults have 2,000 to 4,000 taste buds on the tongue, lining the back of the throat, the epiglottis, the nasal cavity, and the esophagus.
You may not be aware that your sense of taste can call forth positive feelings. Studies show that even small moments of flavor sensations can lift your mood. So, nurse a delicious cup of coffee or eat a fresh strawberry slowly, letting your tastebuds ignite with every nibble. Whatever foods or beverages you enjoy, take delight and savor the experience.
The bottom line when it comes to getting back to basics and creating cozy at home: Don’t overthink it. The more natural, the better.
Life can feel incredibly complicated these days. Adding cozy vibes to your home can help soothe stress, inspire your creativity, and recall a simpler time and space, allowing you and your entire family to feel calmer and at peace. If you’re considering buying a new home in any of Santa Barbara's unique communities where you can invent your own comfortable space, I’m here to help. Just call me at (805) 886-9378 or email me at Cristal@Montecito-Estate. I’ll be happy to offer my expertise and help you embrace the cozy design trends that are here to stay.