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Trailblazing Sensory Show Home Bedroom Prioritises Neurodiversity

Award-winning show home design studio Andrew Henry Interiors has incorporated a sensory bedroom for a neurodivergent child into its latest show home at Bovis Homes’ Wilton Gate development in Netherhampton.

Recognising the need for show homes to reflect a real-life family dynamic, the design of the four-bedroom Chestnut show home emulates a family with two young children – one of whom is autistic. The team at Andrew Henry worked closely alongside Bovis Homes to design this child’s bedroom to be more neutral and less overwhelming from a sensory perspective, creating a sanctuary where an autistic child could feel safe and secure. To support with this process the team consulted the UK’s largest autism charity, the National Autistic Society, for their expert advice on the bedroom’s design. 

The inspiration for the bedroom design emerged from a blend of in-depth research into the specific needs of neurodivergent  children and the overall aesthetic of the rest of the house. The chosen colour scheme incorporates greens and neutrals with a country style, using a softer shade of green to create a calming aura. Extensive research was conducted to ensure the bedroom design could support a child’s sensory needs, before a detailed consultation with the National Autistic Society.

A consultant from The National Autistic Society, comments: “Many autistic people experience sensory processing differences, which can have a significant impact on their day to day lives. Every autistic person is different and may have their own sensory processing differences which can vary hugely.

In order to begin making spaces more accessible, environments can be adapted to be more neutral and less demanding, where further sensory stimulus can be added by the individual if wanted or needed.

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These simple adjustments can easily be made to spaces, making them feel less overwhelming and more accessible and enjoyable for autistic people.” 

During this process, Andrew Henry and Bovis Homes consulted with the National Autistic Society, which involved consultants reviewing a copy of the design and producing a report with recommendations for changes and additions.

Using the recommendations, Andrew Henry Interiors created an environment which is both aesthetically pleasing and therapeutically supportive.  Key design features include a colour-changing bulb in the ceiling light to provide flexible lighting options that can be adapted to suit the child’s needs, cozy, tactile textures to offer a comforting sensory experience and the inclusion of autism-friendly books such as ‘A Day with no Words’ by Tiffany Hammond and ‘A Kind of Spark’ by Ellie McNicoll.

Zones have been created within the room to separate the sleeping area with the chill-out area giving the child the space they may need to regulate their emotions, and extensive storage options have been included to ensure every item has its own place. As recommended by the National Autistic Society, the stimulating alphabet style artwork has been placed away from the sleeping area to minimise distractions, instead using a calming hot air balloon mural to reflect the child’s personal interests.

Lighting has also been a key consideration, as some autistic people may experience sensory sensitivities including a higher sensitivity to visual information including light. Fluorescent light has been limited, whilst a hot air balloon shaped lampshade to the overhead fitting diffuses the lighting, reducing shadows and creating a less visually overwhelming area. A column lamp with adjustable soft lighting has been added to the bedside table.

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Founder of Andrew Henry Interiors, Andrew Henry, comments: “Show homes historically have been designed to portray a specific family – 2.4 children, a family dog, pink for a girl and blue for a boy. But the reality is, today’s families come in all shapes and sizes, and there are neurodivergent households across the country. Working alongside Bovis Homes with advice from the expert team at the National Autistic Society, we are proud to have embraced this topical subject head on, promoting inclusivity and innovation to enhance the young family member’s quality of life.”

Natasha Palmer, Bovis Homes’ Sales and Marketing Director, comments: “We’re delighted with the finished result – Andrew Henry Interiors has created a fantastic show home and we’re very grateful to the National Autistic Society for its advice. Understanding neurodiversity and knowing how small changes can have a huge impact is key. We’re very proud to show visitors the beautiful new show home and the important inclusivity message it highlights.”

Wilton Gate comprises a collection of 640 new homes ranging from two to five bedrooms. Just three miles southwest of Salisbury’s cathedral city steeped in history, the development will also benefit from a new primary school, local centre and open public space.

There are currently four and five bedroom homes available at Wilton Gate from £489,995. For further information, please visit www.bovishomes.co.uk. To find out more about Andrew Henry Interiors, please visit www.andrewhenryinteriors.co.uk.

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