BIOPHILIC DESIGN: 6 WAYS TO MAKE YOUR HOME HAPPIER USING NATURE.

Design tips

Today is world earth day, and with that in mind, I wanted to take a moment to celebrate our natural world and discuss one of the most important themes we consider when designing a home – Biophilic Design! Biophilia means a love of nature, and so biophilic design means utilising natural resources to create a sense of harmony between our home and our natural world.

Biophilia is our innate biological connection with nature. It helps explain why campfires and crashing waves captivate us, why a garden view can rouse our creative energy, why shadows and heights instil fascination and fear, and why wandering through a park can produce restorative therapeutic effects. As our world continues to urbanise and we spend more time online and with screens, these connections to nature are ever more important to consider

I hope you enjoy this post, and perhaps it will inspire you to weave some new biophilic ideas into your home so that you can feel more comfortable, relaxed and at peace in your home.

Below are 6 themes to consider when thinking about your home design and how you might be able to make it even more of a beautiful place to spend time in.

Dining table with two pendant lights in front of lakeside view

Views

Why are they important?

We all love a good view, right? A home with a good visual connection with nature feels whole, it grabs your attention and relaxes you and studies show that views of nature can reduce stress, create more positive emotions, and even enhance concentration levels. Of course, we don’t all have the pleasure of ocean views or scenic vistas into the countryside, but wherever possible, let the light in and take advantage of what views you have at your disposal.

How can you achieve it?

The key thing is to build spaces around where natural light falls and create sightlines and focal points to highlight your outdoor views. It’s not always possible, but if you can, try to arrange your seated furniture in a way that allows you visual access to your outdoor space (The closer to the window the better!) Visual connections to even small spots of nature can be rejuvenating.

Blue bookshelf and armchair next to window

Sights, Sounds & Touch

Why are they important?

Sounds, scents, and textures are reminiscent of being outdoors in the wild. Traditional practices have long used plant oils to calm or energise people and studies also show that smelling herbs and essential oils can have a positive effect on healing and your immune function. Multiple studies also show also that a total lack of sound can lead to increased distraction and stress.

How can you achieve it?

Try to integrate sound, scent and touch into your home. Your home should allow you to have plenty of fresh air and daylight with the ability to open windows whenever possible and let that wonderful fresh air in. Through an open window, you’ll also hear the sound of the wind, rain and birds singing, connecting you to the seasons and weather. A white noise machine might even help you sleep, whether it’s with soothing nature sounds or more of a traditional ambient noise.

Large dining table with potted plants on top

Water

Why is it important?

What’s more relaxing than the thought of a gentle stream running through your garden? Benefits associated with access to water include reduced stress, lower heart rate and blood pressure, feelings of tranquillity, improved concentration, and even memory restoration! For this reason, water features are even sometimes added to homes for returning war veterans as they’ve been shown to help with PTSD.

How can you achieve it?

We don’t all have the luxury of garden space, but if you do have an outdoor space to work with, creating a small water feature can have a transformative effect on your garden. Try to place it within sight of your windows so you can reap the benefits whilst you’re enjoying dinner or making a cup of tea!

Water fountain in garden surrounded by plants

Light

Why is it important?

Artificial lighting is a fabulous invention, but it can throw our circadian rhythm off. Oftentimes, artificial lighting is set to a fixed intensity and colour, taking away the dynamic nature of natural light. This is one of the reasons why lighting is best when designed in layers. Combining ambient, task and accent lighting creates an uneven, more natural lighting distribution in the space. Layering your lighting brings a home to life, creating various points of interest.

How can we achieve it?

To make a space comfy and well-lit, it’s important to place lights in the key areas around your room to eliminate dark corners, highlight focus areas, and prevent needing one source of light that has to provide light for the entire room.

Putting your lighting on dimmers wherever possible is a surefire way to give yourself the best chance of finding just the right balance in your home.

Cotswold home with blue sofa and two lamps behind

Geometric Forms & Patterns

Why are they important?

There are very few straight lines and right angles in our natural world, so integrating curves and more natural shapes and lines into our homes is a beautiful way to create a space that feels more inviting and restorative. Geometric forms play a crucial role in creating balance and harmony throughout our homes.

How can we achieve it?

Try to add design elements within your home that allow you to make mental connections similar to nature, whether that’s a floral wallpaper print, a geometric rug or even a lighting fixture. Be careful though, as geometric patterns can quickly feel busy if not layered strategically or kept uncomplicated. A simple pop or a considered collaboration of geometric forms is key!

Bedroom with floral wallpaper, bed and dresser unit with mirror above

Materials

Why are they important?

Materials and elements from nature create a particular sense of home, and this is undoubtedly a key focus for us when designing a home. A home with a good material connection with nature feels rich, warm and nourishing. Natural materials like wood or stone offer us both texture and pattern variations that replicate the variation that we experience when out in the natural world, and so the goal is to blur the line between your home and the world around you.

How can we achieve it?

There are a multitude of ways we can incorporate natural materials into our homes! From woven natural materials like jute, sisal, and rattan to organic textures, such as driftwood, cowhide, and polished stone. Remember that real materials are preferred over synthetic variations because we’re smart enough to discern the difference between real and synthetic, so opt for minimally processed materials from real nature are preferred whenever possible.

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