This Soothing Wallpaper Line Was Designed to Be Hypersensitivity-Friendly

U.K.-based wallpaper company Hovia partnered with autism experts to create wall coverings for people sensitive to visual stimuli—and the results are stunning.

In honor of World Autism Acceptance Week (March 27-April 2), infinitely Instagrammable wallpaper company Hovia has partnered with the U.K.-based National Autistic Society to create a collection of wallpaper for people who experience hypersensitivity in their daily environments.

Hovia is a Liverpool-based wallpaper company known worldwide for delivering ethically sourced, modern wallpaper in customizable sizes and designs. The brand partnered with autism experts to thoughtfully recreate four of their most popular murals through the lens of how people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) perceive their environment and react to it. The collaboration also kicks off Autism Acceptance Month and World Autism Month in April, both of which seek to educate the world about autism and promote inclusion of people with autism.

Hovia Autism Friendly Wall Coverings-Cevenne Neutral


According to the CDC, one in every 44 children in the United States has ASD, and—although there are few mechanisms for surveilling how many adults are living with ASD—a 2017 study estimated that more than 5.4 million adults in the nation (2.21%) live with ASD. Not everyone who lives with ASD experiences the kind of sensitivity to visual stimuli that leads to sensory overload or avoidance, but many do. In fact, anyone can experience sensory hypersensitivity for a variety of reasons. It can also be triggered by disorders like chronic fatigue syndrome, sensory processing disorders, PTSD, and fibromyalgia.

Hovia Autism Friendly Wall Coverings-Still Green


To offer visually attractive wallpaper options that limit the likelihood of visual overstimulation, Hovia’s new hypersensitivity-friendly wallpaper designs feature gentle blues, greens, neutrals, and pinks. Each of their designs focuses on just one color that fades gradually from light to dark in a smooth gradient or soft mountainscape vista.

In creating these designs, Hovia utilized research on the impact of color and light on autistic children in interior spaces. This research showed that overly-stimulating environments caused unnecessary distress, while calmer environments that included muted tones and irregular images (as opposed to patterns) reduced heart rates and helped empower people with autism to feel more in control of their environments.

Olympus Pink hypersensitivity-friendly wallpaper by Hovia in bedroom


In a press release, Catherine Jacob, Hovia’s head of design, noted that because no two people experience the world in the same way, responses to colors are subjective. Hovia was careful to use shades and designs that research indicated people dealing with hypersensitivity would appreciate, but Jacob acknowledges that not everyone will agree. She recommends that, whether you are designing a space for yourself or someone else, it’s best to look through a variety of colors and designs to find a wallpaper design that resonates.

The hypersensitivity-friendly Cevenne Neutral, Olympus Pink, Still Green, and Vast murals are now available from Hovia. The murals are custom-made and priced from $4.55 per square foot (USD). Hovia will donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of all four murals to charities supporting autism acceptance efforts.

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  1. "Data & statistics on autism spectrum disorder." U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  2. "Key findings: CDC releases first estimates of the number of adults living with autism spectrum disorder in the United States." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  3. "The Impact of Colour and Light on Children with Autism in Interior Spaces from an Architectural Point of View." International Journal of Arts and Technology. doi:10.1504/IJART.2019.10019088

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