When we think of interior design, most of us immediately think about how things look. Color, pattern, light, texture, finishes, furnishings: all of it appeals to the eye. So how do the other senses factor into quality design projects? Interior designer Lori Wiles explains that considering all five senses is necessary to create a space that doesn’t just look good, but functions well and feels fantastic.

A close relationship with your interior designer allows them to get the information they need to create the perfect personal space. The questions asked are sometimes delicate as a designer learns about your life; an immediate establishment of privacy and respect help create the trust necessary for clients to open up their lives and habits to a designer. Once a client lets a designer really get to know them, the possibilities for a truly perfect space unfold. Take, for instance, a common project: a bathroom remodel.

Let’s imagine a client wants to add a bathroom near the kitchen. The first preference is close to the kitchen using exposed track sliding doors that complement the interior architecture. Sounds great, right?

Maybe not. A designer will first consider if the house can support a bathroom in that area. If the added bathroom is above the middle of a great room in the basement, it’s not a structurally viable idea. Can plumbing be added here? Let’s say this location is a great spot for plumbing and the frame of the house is likely to support it. Time to consider sound.

Where does the water go when the toilet is flushed or the sink turned on? Water rushing through a pipe along a bedroom wall or couch below it could be disruptive. Also, a bathroom near a kitchen needs to do a good job of stopping sound from coming in or going out; exposed track doors might look good but a designer knows they don’t do a great job of containing noise. Another solution that’s a better fit will be suggested.

While we don’t want to make anyone lose their appetite, it’s important to consider smell as well. Those doors may not be the most effective at keeping in sound or odor; a good designer will be honest with clients, explaining benefits and drawbacks of certain choices, so they understand what options are presented and why–and make an educated decision.

Touch is so important in our spaces. The feel of things, the way a handle turns or the smoothness of a countertop, can vastly improve how we perceive a place. Understanding the lives and habits of a client helps Lori make a pleasant space into an amazing one. Considerations like how tile feels on bare feet, or the movement of drawers, faucet handles and doorknobs as a client uses a space in ways that work with their lifestyle, are all part of the expertise that Lori brings to each project.

The last sense is taste. This isn’t literal flavor, of course, but preference for what we love and what we don’t. Inhabiting a balanced, functional, emotionally satisfying space that honors our tastes is truly delectable.