Architectural Digest Gets a Clue: Neurodiversity Is Key to Interior Design

Blooming yellow orchid on lace-covered table in lacy light, with small painting of woman and bird on plywood, leaning against a blue wall

Original artwork by Lena Helen. Orchid cultivated by Waldor Orchids.


Architectural Digest, the interior design magazine of the rich and famous, finally acknowledges the need to take neurodiversity into account.

“…designing with neurodiversity in mind means evaluating what is being put into a room and how it affects the body as a whole. That includes anything and everything that engages the senses, from texture, sound, layout, and quality and color of light to the shape and function of the furniture.”

Their bullet points for neurodiversity and design summarize what Practical Sanctuary does for our clients.

  • Consider sensory load: Take into account the sensory sensitivities and needs of everyone who will be using the space. This includes light, acoustics, texture and scent, as well as traditional design considerations like layout, furniture and styling.
  • Plan for different postures: Create spaces for lying, standing and movement, rather than assuming clients will spend their time decorously sitting in uncomfortable chairs.
  • Incorporate nature: Biophilic design–‘life-loving’–is more than just a buzzword. The human nervous system evolved to feel safest within an organic environment, e.g. a forest or a jungle. Designing with growing things not only improves the air quality and aesthetics of a space, but supports your brain’s ability to focus and relax
  • Study neuroaesthetics: How does a space feel? Is it chilly or homey? Chaotic or organized? Understanding the emotional affect of design elements allows us to design spaces that elevate your experience of your space.
  • Include all voices in the design process: We design WITH you, rather than FOR you. The input from the people who will actually be USING the spaces we design is our top priority. Our mission is to create inclusion as a core principle of all design into the future.

Hallelujah! Next they will be running features on eco-friendly affordable cohousing, and we will all be free.

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Practical Sanctuary, Sensory Interior Design

Practical Sanctuary, sensory interior design, specializes in interior design for highly sensitive people.
We help you create spaces which are: