According to estimates, 66% of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2050. We are already spending less time in nature than ever, with average American spending up to 93% of their life indoors. In addition to these disheartening facts, due to the global pandemic people are spending even more time in their homes.
With all this in mind, creating spaces that are restorative, healthy, and inspirational has never been more important.
Embracing biophilic design solutions praised for their ability to reduce stress levels and promote a sense of well-being is an effective way to achieve this goal.
What Is Biophilic Design?
According to the theory of biophilic design, humans have a strong affinity for the natural world that is rooted in our evolution. This concept advocates the idea that architecture and design that incorporate natural elements have a positive impact on human health and well-being.
Therefore, this type of design is focused on creating environments that support deep human connection with nature. And it goes beyond adding greenery.
A well-designed biophilic environment will provide you with your private oasis of calm and serenity. Amazing, right?
Why Is It Important?
Our disconnection from nature and our rapid life pace with an abundance of stress are affecting people across the globe. With its positive impact on our health and well-being, biophilic design can combat the negative consequences of a hectic modern-day lifestyle. And it is well-researched and backed by science.
Studies have proven that bringing nature into our spaces reduces stress, and boosts the sense of well-being, productivity, and creativity. And if you need more convincing: by simply increasing exposure to daylight in schools, learning speed improved by a staggering 20-26%!
And don’t worry-making a shift to biophilic design doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag. With a few tweaks here and there you can create a calm, low-stress atmosphere in your home.
This article is designed to inspire you to implement some of the biophilic design elements into your home and reap the benefits of our innate connection with nature! Let’s begin!
1. Bring in the Light
Getting as much natural light as possible is one of the cornerstones of biophilic design. Adjust your drapes, blinds, or shades so that you can get the maximum amount of light from your windows. Remove every object that blocks windows and prevents daylight from entering your home.
Exposure to a burst of natural light during the day boosts alertness, and also promotes a good night’s sleep.
Consider replacing your standard light bulbs in lamps and light fixtures with circadian ones that mimic the sun’s path from dawn to dusk. They complement your natural circadian rhythm and boost both your mood and your sleep at night.
2. Stick to Natural Hues
When choosing a color for your walls or a color palette for your rooms, opt for natural, earthy hues. For example, mixing sandy tones with soothing sky blue creates a calming, natural ambiance. An accent wall in sky blue paired with bedding and throw pillows in sandy tones are a match made in heaven.
And it’s sure to set up a relaxing atmosphere you’ll want to spend your time in.
Of course, green in all its forms is a superb choice when your goal is to create positive spaces within your home. Just looking at this color is proven to be beneficial.
Therefore, green walls or furniture (or both) can help you create a soothing retreat within your home that mirrors the beneficial effects of being in nature.
3. Natural Materials Promote Relaxation
Wood is the natural material that immediately comes to mind when discussing nature-inspired designs. And for a good reason too. It creates a unique warmth and feeling of comfort in space. Wood’s natural grain patterns and textures, and its warm colors can reduce our stress responses and even improve our overall mood.
You don’t have to undertake a major project and replace all your items made of artificial materials at once. For starters, you can add a wooden coffee table to liven up your living room or get a stylish armoire for storing clothing in your bedroom that will jazz up your space with a timeless design.
Wood furniture with its natural earthy aesthetic and imperfections is a great way to create a sense of calm and balance in your place. Natural finishes like bamboo, rattan, and stone can also help you reintroduce nature into a man-made, urban environment.
4. Use Textiles and Patterns to Mimic Nature
Add fabrics, design schemes, and artwork that mimic texture and patterns we typically see in nature. From floral designs to botanical leaf motives or butterflies, textiles and patterns that imitate the natural world can help you create restorative spaces with a strong connection to nature.
For example, natural symmetry gives a sense of balance while complex repeating patterns (fractals) can spark a positive reaction because they resemble organic forms.
Generally speaking, textiles and patterns that replicate natural shapes, textures, and phenomena have the potential to bring comfort and warmth to interior spaces while reducing stress at the same time.
5. Add Greenery to Liven up Your Space
Potted plants are one of the most budget-friendly ways to bring nature inside. And this step is especially important if you can’t see trees or any greenery outside. You can place your plants on desks, shelves, or by the windows.
Another smart way to spruce up your space is to fill up dead spots in your home with bigger plants in floor pots. To maximize biophilic impact, choose natural, earthy containers like a rattan plant pot. And opt for plants that improve indoor air quality.
If you are a plant enthusiast, you can go beyond the standard potted plants and grow herbs and microgreens on your kitchen counters or windowsill.
6. Water Elements Are a Great Addition
Adding a water fountain to your interior décor will not only ramp up its style but will also provide a serene and gentle acoustic element. Water features have such an amazing calming effect on humans that they are being used in treating people who suffer from PTSD.
There is another simple way to utilize the water element to your advantage: swap out your shower head for a rain-style one! It will remind you of warm summer rain showers or happy memories related to waterfall-filled holidays.
7. Take Advantage of Natural Scents
In addition to all the above-mentioned design elements, interaction with the natural world can also be achieved by utilizing scents. In a quest for harmony with nature, a multi-sensory design that integrates soothing sounds and scents is sure to create a cozy environment perfect for rejuvenation after a long day.
Aromatherapy is another cornerstone of biophilic design, and it plays a significant role in your well-being. For instance, lavender is one of the best ways to create a calming environment, while bergamot relieves anxiety and improves mood.
Surrounding your daily life with nature-inspired elements brings the comfort of nature into your space, and more. It provides you with a visual connection with nature and reminders of the environment outside the walls.
You can easily incorporate these elements of biophilic design without any major remodeling. Take inspiration from nature and its processes and create positive and soothing spaces that will allow you to thrive.