Cozy, tidy and quiet living rooms

Cozy, tidy and quiet living rooms

Recommendation 94
Create a cozy, clear and quiet living room

Chapter (theme)
interior design (living rooms)

Because of
Central coherence, sensory sensitivity, stereotypical patterns (rigidity)

In order to
diminish confusion and negative and depressive feelings.

A quiet, tidy, clear living room with a layout conducive to orientation can prevent many tensions and problems. Some cannot endure any changes in the arrangement of the furniture and other objects. Autistic people may experience the change of one element in an arrangement as a totally new situation. (This has to do with Weak Central Coherence. In such instances, it’s advisable to keep the interior stable and to maintain fixed positions of tables, chairs etc. (See also recommendation 92.)

A combination of a two seater sofa and an armchair in which one can sit by oneself when there are visitors, often works quite well. Cozy, firm and easy to clean furniture is preferable.

Between too stark and overabundant
Especially because of a frequent inclination towards functionality by people on the spectrum, rooms which they outfit themselves tend to be stark and minimally furnished. Limited to only the most necessary furnishings, this kind of austerity usually is not really intentional, because one does wish a cozy home. At times, however, one has little choice as a consequence of the above mentioned coherence problems. This austerity is the case for Tim Landschip:
“He doesn’t own a refrigerator, nor a furnace, washing machine or real bed. He sleeps in a sleeping bag which he tucks away each morning. He doesn’t have a single closet of cupboard, instead he has four small racks, so he can watch the few things he owns which he might otherwise forget. His clothes are packed in a suitcase.
In the morning he washes the clothes he wore the day before by hand; he appreciates this ritual. His computer and TV set are simply on the floor; he prefers such things as small and compact as possible.”

This austerity can be construed as self defense against the opposite, i.e. apartments extremely cluttered with all kinds of odds and ends. Because of a strong focus on details the overview can rapidly become lost.
Crammed living spaces with objects strewn around willy-nilly exacerbate the lack of overview and can be very distractive. To keep one’s concentration is difficult enough because of the potential for various sensory overloading. Make sure, therefore, there is ample storage room, such as closets, drawers, and closed cupboards to keep things not in use out of sight. Storage materials such as crates and sturdy boxes can contribute to a quiet, clear and coherence-enhancing image of the space. Closed cupboards help to convey a quiet image of the living room, if not of the entire home.


Found on 2/10 ’11 here, a blog dedicated to the publication Landschip, Tim & Loes Modderman, Dubbelklik. Autisme bevraagd en beschreven, Antwerpen, EPO, 2004 (In samenwerking met Autisme Centraal, Gent.)