How to Design a Sensory-Friendly Playroom on a Budget

Photo credit: Flashpop - Getty Images
Photo credit: Flashpop – Getty Images

From House Beautiful

When building a playroom for a child with special needs, such as autism, ADHD, learning disabilities, developmental delays, or sensory processing disorder, each design choice should accommodate learning, therapy, comfort, and play. Often, a family raising a child with special needs also needs their home to act as a therapy center, as they have a host of professionals coming in to provide specialty services.

Karri Bowen-Poole is a mom, educator, and interior designer who specializes in creating specialized playrooms through her company Smart Playrooms. She also recently launchedSmart D2, a new business that she co-founded with award-winning interior designer Denise Davies of D2 Interieurs. Karri designs these educational playrooms for clients by selecting furnishings, materials, and equipment that are developmentally appropriate, functional, and beautiful.

“About a year ago, I gut-renovated my garage and turned it into a

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Does Trendy Design Always Stand the Test of Time?

A bright pink kitchen decorated in the iconic style of the 1980s.
A bright pink kitchen decorated in the iconic style of the 1980s.

Architectural design comes to life in a variety of ways, often standing out against a landscape of traditional elements. Strong characteristics of buildings, houses, and other dwellings add eye-catching appeal and provide unique features that make their designers easily identifiable. This type of innovation garners attention and praise from other architects, journalists, and design enthusiasts — but of course, what might initially appear to be ingenious details can also be the very things that turn potential buyers and investors away down the road. That’s because extreme designs often come to be associated with trends, although that fact doesn’t come to light until some time has passed and it becomes obvious that the work isn’t timeless after all.

Although there will always be people with the money and appreciation for extremely unique architectural works, most eccentric features find a

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Cinema From Spain Wins Cannes Market’s Best Pavilion Design Award

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A jury at Cannes Film Market has selected Cinema From Spain, a Spanish cinema promotion organization backed by support from the Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade (ICEX) and the Spanish Institute of Cinematography and the Audiovisual Arts (ICAA), as the winner of this year’s award for Best Pavilion Design.

In the context of an entirely digital market, participating organizations had to rethink everything when it came to promoting themselves in a democratic, online space where the rules of a physical market no longer apply.

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For Tito Rodríguez, marketing policy director at Spain’s Institute of Cinematography and the Audiovisual Arts (ICAA), the key was providing an online experience to match what Cinema From Spain is known for at physical markets.

“It was clear from the beginning we wanted to recreate the physical experience online,” he explained to Variety. “It

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The push to redefine “good design” amid the Black Lives Matter movement

In 2015, Nextdoor, the location-based social networking app, gained a reputation as a locus of racial profiling. Users were sending alerts for merely spotting hoodie-wearing Black men walking in their neighborhoods. One damning report described Nextdoor as “a forum for paranoid racialism—the equivalent of the nosy Neighborhood Watch appointee in a gated community.”

In studying the problem, Nextdoor realized that its easy-to-use app was partly to blame.

Creating intuitive, easy-to-use products and interfaces is the domain of user experience designers. Don’t Make Me Think is both the title of a core textbook in the field and many designers’ professional mantra. An approach called “anticipatory design” even takes the virtue of speed to the extreme, promising a system so seamless that consumers never have to make a single choice.

But the very features that are meant to make technology easier and faster to navigate—like shortcuts and auto-complete functions—can

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