Plants, nature and organic materials are a big part of today's hottest design trends, but nowhere is it quite as focused as it is in biophilic interior design. Love of nature is literally part of the name, which comes from the Greek words for life (bio) and love (philia). If you dig into it, you'll learn that the word biophilic was coined by psychology pioneer Erich Fromm in the 1960s. He developed a whole theory about why people feel better when they spend time outdoors. It's spawned schools of architectural design, city design, educational theories, and now, biophilic interior design.
1. What Is Biophilic Design?
It sounds complex, but it's really not. Biophilic theory all boils down to one big idea — that people feel better when they're connected to nature. In fact, research has shown that being surrounded by nature can lower your blood pressure, reduce stress, improve your concentration and generally make you happier. You don't have to know all that to enjoy the benefits of biophilic interior design, though. Creating a harmonious, serene home based on the principles of biophilic interior design actually comes pretty naturally (see what we did there?). Here are eight ways you can use biophilic principles to transform your home into a restorative refuge.
2. Bring the Outdoors Inside
If you're lucky enough to live in a home with a view, find ways to make that view an integral part of your design. Window walls — whether they're one big slider to your patio or a bank of windows over the kitchen sink — make nature part of your home decor and increase the amount of natural light in your rooms.
|Renovating your home? Consider enlarging kitchen windows or turning your back door into a pair of French doors that open onto your patio.|
Make the most of the views by keeping window treatments simple. Sheer curtains can give you some privacy while still allowing the light to enter.
3. Choose Furniture in Natural Materials and Organic Shapes
When choosing furniture, think about the kinds of shapes and colors that are found in Nature. Opt for unpainted wood, including bamboo, wicker and rattan. Consider curving shapes and soft rounded edges that invoke the feeling of the great outdoors. That doesn't necessarily mean rustic — though side tables made from tree stumps are totally on-trend. Biophilic design can also be very sleek and minimalist.
4. Highlight Nature on Your Walls
There are so many ways you can use your walls to increase the restful, natural vibes in any room. Turning a wall into an accent wall with a forest, island or mountain mural is an inexpensive alternative to a window wall, for example. Look for wallpaper patterns featuring banana or palm leaves.
|Tip: Living in an apartment or dorm room with limited wall options? HGTV shows you how to (affordably) turn your favorite nature photo into a wall mural.|
5. Bare Your Floors
For the floors, more natural materials. Hardwood floors are the perfect backdrop for the soft greens, grays, blues and browns that work well with this design trend. If you don't have good hardwoods, consider stone tile or install engineered wood flooring in your choice of finish. Choose cotton dhurrie rugs or braided accent rugs where you want a little padding under your feet.
|Tip: Haunt Craigslist and Buy Nothing Facebook groups at the end of the school year. Students vacating their dorm rooms and sublets often post gently used furniture, wall hangings, and rugs for free rather than have to pay for disposing of them.|
6. Declutter and Prepare Your Space
One of the most difficult parts of recreating your space into one that has a cohesive style is removing items that don't fit the new aesthetic. Clearing out the clutter gives you a clean slate on which to build, and may reveal possibilities you hadn't considered. Whether you're turning your garage into a relaxing yoga studio or transforming your living room, you may end up with a mountain of unwanted castoffs. Rather than moving it to another area of your home, consider selling it or storing it for later use.
7. Upgrade Your Lighting
One of the most beneficial aspects of the great outdoors is natural sunlight. Its wavelengths help our bodies stay in tune with nature. In addition to using window dressings that let natural light shine through, you can also upgrade your lighting to take advantage of bulbs with daylight or sunlight settings. Color-changing LEDs also give you the option to adjust the lighting for different tasks and moods — shift to blue for nights, or add a little soft rose in the mornings and evenings to simulate dawn and dusk.
|Tip: Pair color-changing LED bulbs with Alexa or Google Home to program natural light changes into your home setting. Mimicking natural daylight is a good way to help keep your circadian clock ticking right. Check out more smart home ideas in this blog post.|
8. Install a Skylight
Speaking of natural lighting, there's no better way to bring natural light into your home than with a skylight. Innovative new products, like sun tunnels or overhead windows for gabled roofs, make it possible to install skylights in rooms that don't have the space for a traditional skylight. If you've got the budget, there are even virtual skylights with ultra-high-def sky videos and LED lighting that matches the scene above. Printed skylight panels for drop ceilings are an option that's friendlier to your budget. You can even buy and apply ceiling murals designed to look like skylights. You won't get the sun and light, but it will definitely make your room feel more open and natural.
|Tip: Even if a skylight isn't an option for you, don't overlook your ceiling when designing a biophilic space. It's one of the biggest reflective spaces in the whole room, and the color you choose will affect the quality of the light. Choosing ceiling paint with a yellow or pink tinge will make everything feel a little warmer and happier.|
9. You Can't Have Too Many Plants
Biophilic interior design incorporates plants in every size and every room. You can find houseplants at the supermarket, home improvement store or gardening center, or you can check out an online plant store like Bloomsccape.com, which helps you find just the right plant for your space. Try ferns and palms in your bathroom, a ficus tree in your living room or a lovely dracaena in your bedroom. As for your kitchen, it's the perfect place for an Aerogarden. You get double benefits — beautiful design accent and tasty veggies for dinner.
|Low light in your home? No problem! Inexpensive LED grow lamps make it easy for you to give plants exactly the amount and type of light they need at any growing stage. Check out Amazon for affordable growing stations with planters and lights and find one to brighten up a dark corner in your home.|
In a world full of pressures and stress, your home should be a place where you can refresh, restore, and recharge. We hope these tips and suggestions inspire you to transform your space into an oasis of serenity where you can relax and enjoy the benefits of connecting with nature.