The average American spends about 93% of their time indoors (EPA). As such biophilic design has been gaining popularity in recent years with architects, interior designers, landscape architects, urban designers, city planners, and more.
Whether you’re planning a new build, remodeling your home, or just want to make some design improvements, use these tips to learn how to incorporate biophilic design into your home.
What Is Biophilic Design and What Are the Benefits?
First, it would be good to clarify what biophilic design is exactly. The term biophilia means love of nature and it supports the belief that people have a biological and innate connection with nature. So biophilic architecture and design are focused on counterbalancing our urban and manmade environments by creating buildings and spaces that reconnect people with nature. Put more simply it’s focused on bringing the outdoors inside and more of the indoors outside.
Though the term and principles were developed in the late 20th century, the philosophy is not a new thing as people have been practicing biophilia in different ways for centuries.
One of the goals of biophilic design is to “provide people with opportunities to live and work in healthy spaces with less stress and to promote their overall health and well-being” (Terrapin Bright Green).
Biophilic design goes a step beyond green design, which focuses on using materials that are friendly to the environment and is more about creating deeper connections between people and the natural world.
Studies suggest that having access to nature has a positive impact on our cognitive function and performance, and both our psychological and physical health. Proponents of biophilic design say the benefits include greater productivity, better mental health, cleaner air, lower stress levels, and more creativity.
13 Ways to Incorporate Biophilic Design in Your Home
There are many ways, large and small, you can incorporate more biophilic design elements into your home. If you’re looking to increase your connection to nature try some of these design tips.
Use Natural Materials
Make use of natural materials in your home design. This can be done with the main design materials, like wood floors and stone counters, and tile. You can also think about how to incorporate natural products with your furnishings and accents like a wood dining table or stone accent table.
To add some softness, you can use natural woven fabrics, whether it’s upholstery, window treatments, or rugs. Think fabrics like cotton, wool, jute, and rattan.
Select a Natural Color Pallet
You can choose color schemes for your home design that are inspired by nature. Include earth tones like beige, brown, green, and blue. The subdued quality of these tones can make your environment feel peaceful and more relaxing.
Depending on where you live or what stimulates you can take inspiration from the local surroundings whether that’s the desert, ocean, forest, prairie, or mountains – you can incorporate colors of these natural environments into your home.
Include Natural Light and Views
Make use of natural light with plenty of large windows and skylights. If you’re planning a new build think about window placement and where you can make the most use of scenery and natural light. Also, think about how rooms and doors can open to the outdoors.
Take advantage of natural views of any kind, whether you live in a more rural area and literally have nature at your doorstep, you’re living in a suburban environment and have a yard or garden, or if you only have a small patio or balcony garden. Also, think about orienting your furniture to look out windows to maximize the time you look outside.
To have a greater feeling of openness, create sightlines in your home, so you have access to outdoor views from multiple rooms in your house.
Bring in Fresh Air
Think about incorporating more fresh air and simulating more natural airflow. This is as simple as opening your windows or a door into your yard. Or if you don’t have a lot of natural airflow options you can make use of ceiling and desk fans.
Creating more of a natural airflow can mimic the feeling of being outside, rather than relying on central AC all the time.
Create a View
If you live in an urban environment and don’t have access to a view you can create one. Look for artwork that is inspired by nature. Think landscapes, seascapes, pieces that feature flora and fauna, or even abstract works that imitate natural shapes and patterns.
Incorporate Natural Forms and Organic Shapes
So much of our human-made structures and design is geometric and linear, so take inspiration from nature in your home design and bring in more organic shapes. Forms usually found in nature are curved, abstract, and asymmetrical.
This can be done in the structure of your home itself, think curved archways and doorways, or in your home furnishings and decor. You can even embrace imperfection found in nature and bring in some asymmetry and artfully mismatch your furnishings.
Make Outdoor Living Spaces
Create some outdoor living spaces, to read, lounge, dine or entertain. Bring the aesthetic of your home outside so there is a cohesive and natural flow.
Create zones and carve out different spaces for separate functions. Even if you don’t have a large outdoor area you can make room so you can enjoy spending time outside when you’re at home.
Soak Up the Sun
Include some spaces you can enjoy the sun, both inside and out. Assess the layout of your home and where you get natural light at different times of the day. Perhaps you want to enjoy the morning sun in a breakfast nook or a cozy afternoon reading area.
Again also think about spaces outside you can get some sunlight, this could be a lounge, sitting, or dining area.
Include Objects from Nature
You can literally bring in objects from nature and use them in your decor. Whether you find them yourself on a hike or nature walk, or source them from a local shop. No matter your aesthetic, there are so many ways to do this.
Think shells or driftwood from the beach if you live near the ocean. Rocks, crystals, gemstones, or boulders make great decorative accents. You can play with regional and seasonal floral arrangements too.
Add a Water Feature
Think about adding a water feature to bring in sounds of running water. This can be done outside with a fountain or even indoors.
Studies show that both the sights and sounds of water produce neurochemicals in the brain that promote wellness and induce relaxation. (Quartz)
Bring in Fire
Including fire in your home can create a naturally warm and cozy atmosphere. Think about a fireplace or even as simple as candles in your decor.
You can even include a fire pit or fire table outside to enjoy your outdoor spaces into the evening.
Embrace Plants and Greenery
Incorporate a lot of plants and greenery inside. From potted trees, hanging plants, to potted plants of all sizes, there are endless ways you can include greenery in your home decor.
Not only are they aesthetically pleasing but they help purify the indoor air and can improve your mood.
Play with Texture
Nature is full of different textures, surfaces, and patterns. By incorporating texture in your design you can make it feel like you’re bringing the outdoors inside.
Think rough unfinished surfaces, loosely woven materials, and smooth leather. However, do make sure it’s balanced and not too busy. It’s easy to go overly textured with too much all at once.
Need help creating a biophilic design for your home? Contact us today for a consultation.